What’s your favourite wine? Perhaps you have a preferred grape that you find yourself reaching for whenever you’re buying a bottle. Many of us claim to have a favourite, but a lot of the time we stick to old habits instead of experimenting with something new. I thought it would be fun to shake things up by throwing a wine tasting party…with a twist! At this party, the taste testing is done blind. Each guest brings their favourite bottle, which the host disguises so that no-one knows which bottle is which. It’s a simple idea and it’s a great way to enjoy some of the best things in life: Food, wine, and good friends.
My party was organised for six guests and, consequently, six bottles. (You’re not necessarily expected to finish the wine, ahem.) Read below for details, but the basic premise is as follows: Each guest has six glasses in front of them, one for each wine. Guests are given a score card to record details about each wine. At the end of the evening, scores are tallied up, and the winning wine is revealed! You could even have a prize for the guest who brought the winning wine – perhaps a fabulous corkscrew.
Before the party, give your guests suggestions on what to bring. It’s up to you whether to be broad (e.g. any red wine) or more specific, such as asking guests to focus on a grape variety or a particular year. When your guests arrive, hide the bottles so that only the host sees them. I wrapped them in brown tissue paper, and wrapped tape around the bottle necks to hide any colourful labels that might give away their identity. I then labelled the bottles. You could simply number them with a black marker, but I added a colourful stripe of washi tape to label each one. You can then use strips of the same washi tape on six glasses, so that you know which glass contains which wine! Quick, clever, and pretty to boot.
For the scoring cards, divide a card into six sections. For each wine, included a box for a score out of 10, plus a section for flavour descriptions (e.g. berries, leather, citrus etc) and vision. What is this vision, you ask? Well, it makes for a very entertaining evening, as everyone has to write what image pops into their head when tasting the wine, and read them out at the end! For example, a rich red wine might make you imagine yourself riding a wild horse through the Sierras! The more farfetched, the better. Finally, remember to label your sections. We marked the score card sections with strips of washi tape corresponding to the tape on the bottles. If this is confusing, see the pictures.
Regarding the glasses, anything goes! Most people don’t own 36 identical wine glasses (!) so use what you have. Teacups, tumblers, champagne flutes, plastic wine glasses – as long as the glasses are labelled, it doesn’t matter. I had glasses of all different shapes and sizes, so I used those.
I served up plenty of simple and savoury fingerfood: beautiful sliced bread loaves from Gail’s, bowls of green olives and home made spiced nuts, hardboiled eggs with chilli flakes and harissa-swirled mayonnaise, prosciutto on herbed crackers. Of course, wine and cheese go hand in hand, and I served oozing soft cheese with a pile of oven roasted grapes. The latter are unusual and frankly, divine. To make them, just pop fresh grapes into a medium-hot oven until they become wrinkled and shrivelled, halfway between a raisin and a grape. Let them cool, and enjoy. They are unbelievably sweet and fragrant.
Washi Tape Etsy Shopping Links
1. Chalkboard Floral Washi Tape, from Moose Art
2. Star Pattern Washi Tape, from Unwrap Colour
3. Gold Stripe Washi Tape, from Fox and Star
4. Vintage Red Roses Washi Tape, from That Washi Tape Girl
5. Blue and Pink Triangle Washi Tape, by Swanson St Supplies
6. Cherry Washi Tape, from Alice Molds
7. Black with White Crosses Washi Tape, from That Washi Tape Girl
Tableware Shopping Guide
Wine glass #1 Stemless Wine Glasses from Riedel / Wine Glass #2 from Dartington / Wine Glass #3 basic wine glass from any department store! / Wine glass #4 Etched Floral Glass from Anthropologie / Wine glass #5 Vintage / Wine glass #6 Patterned tumblers from Habitat / ‘Six’ 3D number from Anthropologie / Crockery with metallic embellishments from Repeat Repeat /