Drinking wine with friends is a favourite pastime for many, but a wine tasting with friends gets you talking about the wine you’re drinking.
People think it’s hard to organise your own wine tasting; your guests are the most important thing! It’s best to consider a theme such as Italian Reds or Spanish Whites, or if you’re more serious, a precise tasting such as Argentinian Malbecs or Shiraz from Australia.
Once you have established a theme for the event, you should decide the quality of the wines you’ll taste. If it’s a tasting at home, friends could all bring a bottle each, or you can all spread the cost with a kitty. You can agree on a price per person covering the expenditure of the wines.
To make the tasting worthwhile, it’s usually best to concentrate on at least 4 to 6 different wines. By doing so, it will give you a good variety of different flavours and encourage some discussion.
What equipment do I need for a wine tasting at home?
The equipment you’ll need is easy to assemble. Once you have it, you can then organise future tastings without the expense of purchasing the equipment.
- – Corkscrew
- – Wine glasses
- – Wine spittoons (Optional)
- – Wine cooler (Optional
- – Bottle tasting covers (Optional)
Bottles of traditional and older vintages will be sealed by cork, so a corkscrew is vital to opening the bottle. Many producers do use screwcaps now, but it’s always best to have a bottle opener to hand.
The standard 21.5cl ISO wine tasting glass is the typical glass used for tastings and seems to be the favoured choice of wine organisations, wine companies and wine clubs the world over.
This simple glass is usually found in clear glass but can also be obtained in black to be utilised for ‘blind’ tastings. This is where the taster has no idea what is within the glass and has to rely solely on their senses.
Using this size of tasting glass will allow for around 12 to 18 generous pours, which is ideal for tasting purposes.
A wine spittoon is optional, but it allows you to spit any unwanted mouthfuls away without being swallowed. You may want to consume every mouthful, which is fine, but you might not remember the first bottle you tried by the end of the night! You can also use the spittoon for depositing the dregs or any unwanted wine.
This is essential for tasting white wine, rose or sparkling. You won’t require a wine cooler for red wine as you should consume this at room temperature. You should keep white wine, rose or sparkling chilled in ice so that it’s ready to drink slightly chilled.
Bottle Tasting Covers
These are a great way to hide the wine for blind tastings. Using bottle covers hides a bottles identity, testing your knowledge!
You can make a jug of water readily available with a water glass for each taster for cleansing and refreshing the palate after each wine. You can also use the water for rinsing out the tasting glass should glassware be in short supply.
Another way of freshening the mouth between wines is to have a plate of crackers or wafers to hand. This steadies your taste buds in readiness for the next wine.
If you’re serious about your wine tastings, then some sort of scorecard or notepad would be helpful. Many home tasting sessions have a wine-related discussion of each wine, but it’s fun to score the wine so you can have an overall winner at the end of the night.
If you want to enjoy an evening with friends and try new and exciting wines, see our wine tasting section to purchase all the essential wine tasting pieces.