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5 Keys to Hosting a Memorable Wine Tasting

As a wine educator, people often ask me, “What’s the focus of your business?” I typically answer by stating, “In-home, private wine tasting events.” As the conversation progresses, I’m usually asked, “What types of things do I need to plan for if I wanted to put on my own wine tasting event? Do you have any recommendations?” In fact I do!

Here are 5 things you might want to consider if you plan to host your own wine tasting event with friends.

1. Pick a theme. Often people randomly select wines that don’t have any correlation to one another. Sometimes it’s more interesting to try wines from one wine region or country, or even one varietal from different wine regions around the world. That way you can compare and contrast from different climates and terroirs.

2. Be sure you buy enough bottles of wine to accommodate your guests. I usually plan for each person to have a 2.5 ounce pour of each wine if we aren’t having dinner. A standard bottle of wine is 750 ml, which equals 25 ounces. So, you can get 10 pours out of 1 bottle. If you invite 20 friends to your party, you will need a minimum of 2 bottles of each wine.

3. Make sure you have enough glassware, and be sure the glasses are all the same size. This is important, because if you’ve ever tried the same wine out of several different styles of wine glasses, you know the shape and size of the glass impacts the nose (and some say the flavor) of the wine. Standard ISO glasses work best. If you don’t have a large set of glassware, rent some. You don’t need different sets of glasses; one for whites and one for reds. Just hand each guest a glass and gradually work from whites to reds.

4. Provide a handout and pens so your guests can take notes about each of the wines. I always provide a handout for each person at my events. My handouts are a little more involved because I include the name, producer, vintage and wine region for each wine, plus a brief summary about the wine, the winery and or the winemaker.

5. At a minimum, provide sliced baguettes, cheese and crackers at your tasting. You’ll need to provide something for people to eat to cleanse their palette between wines and to soak up some of the alcohol.

If you keep these 5 tips in mind, you’re well on your way to a successful tasting event. For information about an in home tasting, contact Kristin at

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Kristin Savino

Kristin Savino

Kristin Savino is a Sommelier and the proprietor of Vino di Savino, a Chicago-based wine tasting and wine education company. She provides private wine education events in the Chicagoland and Northwestern Indiana regions. Learn more at
Kristin Savino

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