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.
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!