Pick the Perfect Party Wine

Mingling and chatting with friends while enjoying a good glass of wine at a party is one of the most pleasant of life’s simple joys. Yet, the irony is that whether it’s for holiday festivities, a wedding reception, or any number of other special occasions, trying to pick the wines for a party can be one of the most stressful parts of planning such an event.

The good news is that there are some tried and true guidelines that will let party planners rest assured that their guests are actually enjoying the selected wines, as opposed to just enduring them.

Dinner party

The Essential Basics

The first thing to keep in mind when picking wine for a party is that there will be some people there who pretty much like only whites, others who prefer red, and many who like both. Start by ensuring you have a nice array of red and white wine.

As you begin the actual selection process, it’s important to keep to that general rule of thumb of appealing to the widest audience. While a Gewurztraminer is a very good white wine, its sweetness and heady aroma is not something you can count on everyone liking. With this in mind, look for wines that don’t require a heightened appreciation, but just taste good. Educating guests on why they should like a particular wine is definitely what party-planners should avoid. Pick wines that speak for themselves, and do so simply.

If you follow these general principles, some of the wines that seem to always fill the bill include:

  • Chardonnay – Always a popular white, and selections from Chile have proven to be particularly favored over recent years, in addition to being perfectly priced for party use.
  • Pinot Grigio – This is another perennial favorite white that appeals to the widest range of tastes. While Italian varietals are the most traditional members of this category, there are some excellent mid-range California examples that can certainly be on the party wine list with great success.
  • Sirah – This is a red that is generally underappreciated, but is usually love at first sip. Widely available from several different areas of the world, almost any choice will be a safe bet.
  • Pinot Noir – One of the most universally loved reds there is, with delicious examples from France, California, and many other regions. Light and tastily complex without being complicated, Pinot Noir is a great party choice.
  • Champagne – Starting off a wine party with a Champagne toast is a guaranteed winner!
  • Making the Party Special

    The other part of achieving wine party success rests on all of the little things. Making sure that there is enough bread—and that it too is good—is an often-overlooked essential. When sampling the wines being considered for a party, pay attention to which cheeses and snacks will pair best with the selected varietals.

    Another nice touch is to bring some customization and extra specialness to a wine party with such items as:

  • Event labels – Replacing the bottle’s front labels with ones specially designed for the party is a way to add an exclusive touch that will be noticed and loved.
  • Custom Glasses – All the best wineries have them, so why shouldn’t a special party?
  • The bottom line is that appealing to a wide range of tastes with proven quality and a few fun extras is a surefire route to success and fun for any type of wine party. Most importantly, don’t forget to relax and have fun!

    Wine News from Around the Web

    Derek Gavey via flickr

    Derek Gavey via flickr

    Loving wine seems to be a tale as old as time, according to this week’s wine news. What’s been going on in your neck of the wine world?

    Arizona Uncorking its Own Wine Country
    Arizona might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of winemaking, but the state definitely has something to offer when it comes to wine, especially if you have a hankering for Tempranillo or Mourvèdre. Check out this article to learn all about what Arizona wine country has to offer.

    Ancient Wine Found on Jars Unearthed from 3,700-Year-Old Cellar in Israel
    Sophisticated wine palates date back thousands of years, according to a study published by American and Israeli scientists. Scientists recently discovered ceramic jars containing wine residue with signs of honey, mint, cedar, tree resins and cinnamon bark. Apparently, our ancestors knew what they were doing when it came to making some delicious high-end wine!

    The Best Wine Books of 2014
    Looking to buff up on your wine knowledge? The New York Times‘ has compiled a list of the best wine books from 2014 that should keep you entertained for hours. Just make sure that you have a glass of wine in hand as you read.

    The Great Beer Abandonment: America’s Young Drinkers are Drinking Wine and Hard Alcohol Instead
    In recent years, beer has fallen out of favor with the younger generation of drinkers. Wine and liquor reign supreme for this group. What’s more, we’re more likely to share the same alcohol preference as our grandparents instead of our parents (it’s all about looking cool!). We love that more people are becoming wine lovers….we’ll make sure to raise our glasses in honor of these discerning individuals!

    Delightful Gifts for Wine Lovers

    Steve Corey via flickr

    Steve Corey via flickr

    It’s time to get those shopping lists in order! Trying to find a meaningful gift for everyone on your list is enough to make anyone go crazy during the holiday season, which is why we’ve compiled a list of thoughtful gifts that will delight the oenophiles in your life. One of these items will surely make someone on your list happy (even if that person is you!).

    Riedel Boa Decanter
    Decanters come in so many unique shapes and sizes, which is why picking out the perfect decanter for your favorite wine lover can be a challenge. This new decanter from Riedel takes on an amazing snake-like shape that will delight your friends and family.

    Cioso Wall Mounted Wine Rack
    Wine racks allow you to display your wine collection while making it easy to access the right bottle for every occasion (and saving some storage space while you’re at it!). A more modern wine rack, the Cioso Wall Mounted Wine Rack makes it easy to select the bottle that you’re looking for when you’re trying to get everything together for your next get-together.

    Picnic Wine Bottle and Glass Holders
    Picnics are always better with a glass of wine in hand! But what happens when you need to set down that glass of yours? Things could go wrong very quickly. Don’t worry—these wine bottle and glass holders will make sure that no harm comes to your precious wine glasses or your bottle of wine.

    Asobu Ice Vino 2 Go Insulated Wine Tumbler
    For those who choose to take their wine on their next excursion, these tumblers are just what they need to keep their wine from sloshing all over the place and to ensure that it stays cool (if necessary).

    We’ll be adding more gifts throughout the month of December, so be sure to check back to see what else we’ve added. Happy hunting!

    What to Do with the Thanksgiving Leftovers


    Satya Murthy via flickr.com

    Thanksgiving is a time to eat, drink, and be merry. Let’s get real, Thanksgiving is a time to stuff your face with as much food as your stomach can take, and consume wine like you have the ability to turn wine into water. If you can finish off an entire turkey and sides in one day, then power to you! If you are like most people and have a mound of leftovers, the question becomes of what to do with those leftovers. Don’t worry, Martha’s got you covered. Be sure to check out these 36 Thanksgiving leftover recipes from Martha Stewart.

    1. Turkey Banh Mi Sandwich

    2. Turkey and Mashed Potato Potpies

    3. Pocket Pies Filled with Leftovers

    4. Turkey Cobb Salad

    5. Cranberry Tartlets

    6. Curried Turkey Casserole

    7. Leftover Turkey Chili with Cheesy Cornbread Topping

    8. Quesadillas with Chutney and Brie

    9. Chunky Turkey-Vegetable Soup

    10. Penne with Goat Cheese, Kale, Olives, and Turkey

    11. Turkey Cobb Sandwich

    12. Quick Turkey and Rice Soup

    13. Turkey and Onion Sandwich

    14. Turkey, Sweet Potato, and Watercress Salad

    15. Turkey Broth with Chiles and Tomato

    16. Turkey Reuben

    17. Turkey Croquettes

    18. Turkey BLT

    19. Day-After Turkey Soup

    20. Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich with Mushroom Gravy

    21. Posole

    22. Cranberry Pancakes

    23. Easy Turkey Stock

    24. Turkey, Cheddar, and Green Apple Sandwich

    25. Turkey-Poblano Tostadas

    26. Thanksgiving-Leftovers Shepherd’s Pie

    27. Roasted Vegetable, Ham, and Turkey Melts

    28. Asian Turkey-Noodle Soup

    29. Hero Sandwich

    30. Chef’s Salad with Turkey, Avocado, and Jack Cheese

    31. Curried Turkey Sandwich

    32. Simplest Turkey Soup

    33. Turkey Sandwich with Herbed Farmer Cheese, Sprouts, and Tomato

    34. Turkey and Sweet-Potato Hash

    35. Turkey Melt

    36. The Rachel Sandwich

    Wine News from Around the Web

    Jonathan Hoeglund via flickr

    Jonathan Hoeglund via flickr

    Catching up on your wine news is the perfect way to take a break from crowded family gatherings and overcrowded malls. Check out what the wine world has to offer and maybe even plan what you’ll buy for the wine lovers in your life.

    11 Inexpensive Wines for Holiday Parties
    Showing up to a party empty-handed is always a major faux pas, but finding the perfect host and hostess gifts for a multitude of holiday parties can get expensive. This list of inexpensive wines provides the perfect menu of options from which to choose when it comes time to find a gift that your host or hostess will certainly appreciate.

    4 Wine Books: Holiday Gift Guide 2014
    Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite book nerd-wine lover combo? This holiday gift guide has just what you need to appeal to all of their sensibilities.

    Build Your Own French Wine Empire
    If you love wine and Monopoly (and speak French), then this game is for you! This new spin on Monopoly has players on the hunt for the best vineyards and wines. Hopefully, a family feud won’t break out over how much rent you charge to make wine at your vineyard.

    History of Wine Timeline (Infographic)
    The history of wine dates back thousands of years. Clearly, we love our wine! Check out this infographic to learn how the modern wine world came to be.