What you’ll need
It should go without saying that you’ll definitely want a number of quality wine glasses. Wines are meant to impress through their flavours, textures, and aromas. Quality wine glasses are made in such a way as to bring out the best of these elements. You should buy a decent number of glasses, either from Schott Zwiesel, Zalto, or Riedel. You’ll also need to buy multiple quality corkscrews. A Laguiole is always a good choice for corkscrews.
Choosing your wines
This is where you start to have fun. Deciding on your theme gives you the best chance for providing some cohesiveness to the evening. You may decide to feature an array of international Chardonnays, for example, with producers from France’s Burgundy region, Australia, Oregon, and California. Or you made decide to serve red wines only from the Rhône Valley. Alternatively, you could offer an evening full of sparkle- from French Champagne to Italian Franciacorta and California bubbly. Be warned though: the night could turn into an untamed and wild bubble bath party.
To have more control over the night, you should be the only buyer of wine for the party. If you do decide to do this, you should say so in your invitations. You could always ask your guests to make a contribution in order to help cover costs. Of course, if you really want to impress, you could cover all of the costs yourself. The number of guests you’re expecting will determine how much wine you should buy. Five to seven wines is the right amount for a small group. One bottle of wine should serve five or six people with decent-size pours. So if you are hosting 12 people with five wines, you should have a minimum of two bottles of each wine. It’s all a matter of maths at the end of the day. A standard 750ml bottle holds 25 ounces. If you are planning on offering just tastes of two-ounce pours, one bottle will be enough for 12 people. If you’re planning on being more generous and offering six-ounce pours, however (as you would expect from a restaurant), you’ll need one bottle for every four to five people. As leftover wine is never an issue, always buy more than you think you’ll need.
Offering vast amounts of wine with hardly any food is one of the most common rookie mistakes you can make. If you really want to put on a great wine party, you’ll need to make food a big part of it, as opposed to it being an afterthought. The main decision is whether you should go for a seated meal or passed bites and plates. If you’re great in the kitchen, you could prepare the food yourself, but if not, team up with someone who could really add to the evening. This will take some coordination, and you could always take it into account when asking for contributions from your guests.