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Host the Perfect Wine Night

Discover how a progressive tasting can take your evening to the next level

The first time I hosted a wine tasting, I absolutely loved it. I confess I didn’t know much about wine back then. This led to meticulous research so I could combine popular varietals with basic pairings such as cheeses and nuts. Looking back, my wine and food choices were amateur at best. My hodge-podge pairings still had enough merit that my guests and I were all blown away by how much food amplified the taste of the wine. 

Many wine nights later – and with the benefit of working in the wine industry under my belt – I’ve come a long way. I’ve recruited the expertise of some of our chefs, winemakers and hospitality team. And then I added a dash of my personal tips for hosting a sophisticated experience. I can practically guarantee this combination will delight even the most seasoned wine connoisseurs. 

4 Surefire Ways to Ace Your Next Wine Night 

  1. Upgrade to a progressive tasting. This unique pairing experience invites participants to enjoy gourmet ingredients between sips of Fine Wine. Never fear. We’ve already assembled the tools you need to create these “perfect bites” with help from one of our top food and wine experts, Lindsey Auchter of J Vineyards & Winery

Each “bite” includes insight into the notes and elements of the pairing and is comprised of a fine wine selection, a gourmet cheese variety, one additional element (fruit, jam, oil, etc.) and a “bite” vessel recommendation such as crackers or bread.  

We’ve assembled 23 ideal progressive pairing options so that you can customize your menu to your heart’s content. To start those wine night wheels turning, browse the collection here.

  1. Consider your guest list. As you decide who to invite to your exclusive get-together, consider their favorite styles of wine. Keep this in mind as you select which wines you’ll feature. When you show your guests how to enjoy their already-favorite wines in a new and exciting way, you’re creating an unforgettable experience that will ultimately change the way they enjoy wine.  

If you’re not sure what guests prefer or tastes vary widely, our pairing suggestions make it easy to select wines to please a range of palates. When we’ve hosted these progressive pairings, it’s not uncommon for someone to exclaim things like “But I’ve never liked Chardonnay before!”  

  1. What’s the weather like? You know how pumpkin spice lattes come out of hibernation in the fall? I’ve learned varietal taste trends tend follow seasonality, too. While a summer event could feature bright whites, Rosés and lighter reds, a Friendsgiving celebration might call for fall favorites such as buttery Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet. Of course, many would argue bubbly works well for all seasons. 

Choose Your Wines & Cheese Now
  1. Don’t skimp on the details. As your event draws near, double- and triple-check that you have everything you need. Nothing will derail your tasting event quicker than an impromptu game of musical wine glasses. Try to imagine a professional wine tasting you’ve participated in—what did they have? (e.g. decanters, dump buckets, bottled water, one-sheets for guests to take home, etc.) 

The beauty of a progressive wine tasting is that it can be as formal or casual, in-depth or simple as you choose. If it’s a formal event, consider hiring wait staff to distribute the elements as the event unfolds. 

Bonus Tip: Create a Facebook Event encouraging your guests to RSVP so you can get an approximate headcount. This is also an excellent way to share the dress code (should you wish to make it a formal event) and set expectations for the evening. 

Ready to host your next wine night featuring our progressive pairings? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @winedialogues. We’d love to see how it went! And if you’d like to get our next article right to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter