Seven Tips for Wine Parties
This is a guest post by our friends at The California Wine Club. For more than 25 years, they have been traveling the dusty back roads of wine country, seeking out tiny artisan wineries and selecting their best-handcrafted wines to share with wine lovers all across the country. Great wine and beautiful outdoor spaces go hand in hand, whether you are toasting a wedding in a vineyard or toasting the sunset in your own beautiful backyard.
Good friends, good music, good food, good wine, what could be better? It is easy to serve up a great time. For a perfect no-fuss party, order appetizers from your local gourmet deli. Sample a selection a few days ahead of time with your wines and pick the best pairings.
Use these tips to help you make the most of the occasion:
- Determine how much wine you will need. A bottle of wine equals four to five glasses, depending on your pouring style. A common rule is to have 1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle per person. But plan for your friends and the length of the party.
- Decide what to serve. A party is usually not the right time to pull out that very special bottle you've been saving--face it, it hurts when someone unwittingly chug-a-lugs your best. Crowd-pleasers include light, fruity whites, dry Rosés, smooth Pinot Noirs and juicy Zinfandels. Be sure and have sparkling water, sparkling apple cider and a selection of sodas on hand as non-alcoholic options.
- Wash and dry your wine glasses to perfect, smudge-free clarity ahead of time. Bonus points: offer wine charms so that it is easy for guests to keep track of their glasses.
- Open and taste your wines before guests arrive. It's not rude. You're just trying to avoid serving corked, shocked or otherwise not up-to-par wine. Decant a wine if it needs to aerate.
- Ice buckets are essential. Fill with both ice and water for maximum cold. Move red wines in and out of the bucket periodically to maintain a temperature of about 55°, whites can stay put.
- Greet guests with a glass of bubbly to set the mood. A nice Prosecco or California sparkler are good bets.
- If there is wine leftover when the party ends, seal the bottle(s) tightly and store in the fridge. Enjoy within two to three days. Take whites out 10 minutes before serving to allow them to come up to serving temperature. Reds should come out up to an hour before. Alternately, you can freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays and use it when cooking to liven up sautés or enrich soups and sauces.
Going to a party? Take a bottle of (unchilled) bubbly as a gift for the host. If they choose to chill and serve it, it will pair well with a wide variety of foods. Or they can save it to enjoy another time.