Do you and your friends love wine? Have you ever thought about hosting a wine party? Not sure how to go about it, or what wines to serve, or how to serve wine, or what snacks to serve with wine? Don’t worry. Ultra Wine Racks has got you covered. We’d like to present you with our top seven tips for hosting the perfect wine party. Let’s begin.
1. Serve the wine at the correct temperature.
Temperature makes all the difference at a wine party. Sparkling wines like champagne should be ice cold, as cold as beer or soft drinks (38-50 degrees Fahrenheit). For best results, stick the bottles in the freezer an hour before the party begins. White wines should a bit warmer: 44-57 degrees Fahrenheit. Oaked white wines can be a bit on the warm side. Light reds like grenache, pinot noir, zinfandel, and burgundy should be even warmer, 53-63 degrees Fahrenheit. Sticking the bottles in the fridge 30 minutes before opening should do the trick. Finally, heavy reds like rioja, merlot, syrah, chianti, and cabernet sauvignon should be served the warmest, 63-69 degrees Fahrenheit—just slightly cool. This will make a huge difference in the flavor of the wines and your knowledge of serving temperatures will wow your guests.
2. Know how to open a wine bottle.
Funny story: most foil cutters that you buy in the store are designed to cut the foil higher than the foil cutters that professional sommeliers use. The jagged foil edges can sometimes stick up over the lip of the bottle and cause a mess when you pour. That’s why professional sommeliers cut the foil at the bottom lip. Oh, and when you poke the cork with the corkscrew, do it slightly off-center. The screwy part of the corkscrew (which is called the “worm,” by the way) will be centered, which will reduce the chances of you tearing the cork. And go all the way in, or just one turn shy of it. Then you’ll be certain to get the whole cork out on the first try.
3. Don’t shy away from decanting.
If you really want to impress the heck out of your guests, you could do worse than decant the rich red wines you’re serving. Get a nice decanter (or two) and pour that red wine bottle into it. This will aerate the wine, which softens the bitter tannins and releases more of the wine’s subtle floral and fruit flavors. A very general and imprecise decanting time is 30-45 minutes. Some heavily tannic wines may need to be decanted for up to two hours. To save time, buy yourself a wine aerator.
4. Use the appropriate glassware (and hold the glass properly).
Science says that the type of wine glass you use to sip wine actually does make a difference in the way you taste it. White wine glasses, for example, are shaped the way they are to preserve and deliver the fruity, floral aromas. Red wine glasses, on the other hand, become progressively wider-mouthed depending on how tannic the wines which are served in them are. Leaving plenty of space between your nose and the wine makes the wine taste somewhat less tannic when you finally take a gulp. There are glasses for every other type of wine, too (yes, even Madeira). Wine lovers are sharply divided over whether wine glasses should always be stemmed or are okay being stemless. The disadvantage of stemless glasses is that your warm little hands can change the temperature of the wine faster and might interfere with your tasting experience. If you are using stemmed glasses, hold the glass by the stem and not by the bowl.
5. Pour standard servings.
A standard serving of wine is 5-6 ounces, but the experts at Wine Folly say you’re better off serving your guests half of that. First, you don’t want to drunkify your guests too quickly. Second, if you serve up six ounces to each guest, you’re going to run out of wine real fast. Finally, some people might not have a very high tolerance for wine, and they may be too polite to refuse you if you fill up their glass. So stick to 3-4 ounces per pour and your wine supplies will last longer (and so will your guests’ sobriety).
6. Serve up some hors d’oeuvres.
Nothing provides a gustatory counterpoint to a good glass of wine than some snacks and nibbles. Also, your guests will love you for serving up hors d’oeuvres with your wine. The food just might make the flavors of the wine more pronounced, too. Some wine party favorites include toasted bread with garlic and olive oil, artichoke dip, ham roll-ups, fruit, cheese, olives, crackers, and fondue.
7. Use good wine party etiquette.
Serve the ladies first. Then start with the oldest man and work your way down to the youngest. Before you refill your glass, ask if anyone else wants a top-up. Don’t finish off any of the appetizers (or the last bit of wine at the bottom of a bottle) without asking if anyone would like to split it with you. Don’t pressure anybody to drink who doesn’t want to, and don’t be offended if guests don’t like your favorite wine. Err on the side of politeness, go the extra mile for your guests, and you’ll be a wine party hero.
And there you have it: Ultra’s complete guide to hosting the perfect wine party. Whether it’s serving wine, tasting wine, pairing wine with food, or using the right wine glassware, you’ll look like a seasoned connoisseur at your next wine party. Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, be sure to check out some of the other awesome stuff we’ve written lately.