If you choose to go with small, passed plates, try and find a way to get the chef involved in your party so he’s in the kitchen cooking and plating the food, and inviting guests to take the food on a first-come-first-serve basis. More planning would be needed for a seated meal, as well as possibly having to rent extra seating, and you’d also need to ask friends to assume such roles as serving, plating, and cleaning. When you’re offering free food, wine, and maybe even a bottle to take home, it’s amazing what people will agree to.
Tell stories, but remember it’s a party
While you’re want to educate your guests at the event, you should bear in mind that it’s still a party. So, don’t even think about lecturing about types of soil or putting on a PowerPoint slideshow. Of course, you’ll want your guests to leave the party having learned something, especially about what they’ve been drinking, After all, each bottle tells stories of people, history of places, and aspects of global culture, such as local traditions and farming practices.
Assign friends as pourers, and while they’re busy pouring glasses, spend a few minutes telling a story about the wine that’s making its way around the room. Also, encourage people to ask questions. You’ll need to do some advanced research on each of the bottles to make the education fun and engaging, and to impart some interesting facts. If you know anyone, you could even invite a knowledgeable and witty host.
The music and ambience
Put in some time to put a playlist together that fits your party’s theme and that underscores the conversation. If you really want to get things going, you could hire a DJ. Live music is even better if you have the space. You could set times throughout the night to have the musician perform a short set; all while the wine continues to flow. If you live in one of those oversized city centre lofts, you could hire a full band. Or you could even have them play in your back yard if you have one.
Finally, establish a warm and inviting ambience, with dim lighting to create a moody atmosphere, but at the same time, not so dark that nobody can see the glass of wine in their hand. Candles are a good option, but then you don’t want them interfering with the aromas of the wine. When the end of the night draws near, and the number of guests begin to dwindle, have a surprise in store. One way to achieve this would be to end the night with a sophisticated nightcap- maybe a brown spirit, for instance. You could even send the die-hards (those who stayed right until the very end) home with a brand new bottle. Then, when you’re the last one standing, open up that bottle of Champagne you have hidden away, because there’s nothing quite like a glass of victory to end a wine party on.