California Wine Tasting Parties

Using our Recommended Wineries and Wines List and our Wine Tasting Forms, California Wine Tasting Parties can be organized with little fuss or preparation; and because the California Wines on our List are inexpensive, whomever buys the wines will not have to take out a loan.

The great thing about California Wine Tastings is the variety of Potential Themes:

  • The easiest and most relaxed tasting is the Guest Choice: Have each guest bring a bottle of their choice (use our Recommended Wines and Wineries List for a reference) and you provide the food (Wine Food Pairing). Neighborhoods in our area do this on a rotating basis, allowing everyone to keep in touch.
  • Guest Choice Blind: Same as above, only place the wine in bags or bottle covers (Wine Accessories) so that guests do not know the name or type of wine they are tasting.
  • Host's Choice: The Host chooses the wines, using any Theme listed here, and the guests can bring food.
  • One Varietal: Choose one type of varietal/grape (ie. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir) to taste. This is especially good when a grape delivers a range of complexity, such as Chardonnay or Cabernet.
  • Sparkling Wines: A unique and fun tasting. There are plenty of CA Sparkling Wines to make a great Tasting Party. Remember to open just a few at a time or have some stoppers to prevent the bubbles from escaping.
  • Red Blends: There is a broad range of CA Red Blended Wines. Most people love blends and the variety makes for a fun and interesting tasting.
  • One Winery: Choose a winery (again use our List as a reference) and sample the different wines they produce and choose your favorite.
  • Judgment of Paris Wineries: Taste the wines that were part of the famous 1976 Paris Wine Tasting when California Wines won over French Wines! (see our page on Books and Movies for details on the Judgment of Paris Book and the Movie, based on this book, Bottle Shock) Note: these wines are a bit pricey.
  • One Region: Choose Sonoma, Napa, Central Coast, or any of the other California Wine Regions.
  • Price Range: Choose under $10 or from $10 but not more than $30, etc. Except for a few exceptions, our Lists' California Wines sell for less than $35, many under $15.
  • With Cheeses: Great to try a variety of wines and cheeses together. See our Wine Food Pairing page.
  • With Desserts: Great to try a variety of wines and desserts together See our Wine Food Pairing page.
  • With Appetizers: Choose appetizers that complement the wines you are tasting. See our Wine Food Pairing page.
  • Any Combination of the above.

A special place on the coast of California for Toasting and Tasting:

What you need for California Wine Tasting Parties:

Check out our Wine Accessories Page for info on glasses, corkscrews, blind tasting bags/covers, wine charms, etc. (all those things that make for great Wine Tasting Parties).

Some Guidelines for Any Themed Wine Tasting Party:

  • The number of guests can be a few to as many as the location can accommodate, and you don’t need to know the first thing about wine to make it fun and enjoyable.
  • It is a good idea to have extra bottles of California Wine available for a full glass once the Tasting Part of the Tasting Party begins to wind down.
  • If we are buying the wine, we like to buy duplicates of all the wines to be tasted, so guests can have a full glass of their favorites. Our Recommended Wines and Wineries List is a good resource for finding California Wines to taste.
  • Be sure to have water available for guests, for rinsing their glasses or cleaning their palates, as well as a dump/spit bucket for emptying a glass of unwanted wine.
  • Your glasses don’t have to match, but please don't use plastic. You can use Wine Charms to identify each guest's glass.
  • Small napkins instead of coasters makes it easier for guests to carry their glasses around.
  • Be sure to set-up the wine and glasses in an area wide enough so there is no crowding or set up separate areas so that the guests are spread out and not bumping into each other.
  • Red wine stains, so, if possible, you may want to place the pouring area in a room without carpets. See our Wine Stain Removal page if you see red spots the morning after.
  • A tip for cleaning glasses between tastings: instead of water, which can dilute the taste of the next wine, rinse the glass with a very tiny portion of the next wine to be tasted and pour into the dump bucket. Then pour the normal portion of your tasting of the next wine.
  • As your guests arrive, hand out the chosen Tasting Forms and pens/pencils while you open and set out the wine.
  • Optional: Put a Tasting Card in front of each bottle so that people can vote for their favorite. The person who brought the winning wine (with the most votes) wins a prize.
  • Finally: One of the Main Reasons for having Wine Tasting Parties is to find new California Wines. So, the Hostess/Host needs to have a way to provide your guests with the information about the wines they liked. Please see our Wine Tasting Forms page for details and the forms we recommend to be used for this purpose.

California Wine Tasting Parties are a great way to taste a variety of wines in a short period of time - it is fun and educational. We have found so many great California Wines by going to winery tastings or Wine Tasting Parties.

Wine tastings are also a great conversation starter for guests or neighbors who don't really know each other. The tasters have a chance to explore several types of wine at Wine Tasting Parties. They can find new one’s they like and everyone has a chance to share their favorites.

So have a great time!

Wine Food Pairing Wine Accessories Wine Tasting Forms Downloadable Files

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