Wine tasting is a great way to socialize and an even greater way to attract new customers. It is a fun way to learn more about wine and it offers your loyal customers more reasons to return. Whether you are having wine tasting at your home with a few friends or at a Singapore function room, here are a few useful tips you should take note of in hosting a wine tasting event:
1. General Rule
As a general rule, wine tasting should be organized before lunch or dinner so you can follow up by having the same wine with your meal. There should be no more than eight tasters, with a maximum of four glasses for everyone. Each glass should contain one and a half to two ounces in order to have enough portions in each bottle to be served later.
2. Different Types Of Tasting
You can consider having either a varietal tasting or a horizontal tasting. Varietal tasting refers to a tasting of wines from same grape variety from different areas: Chardonnays from California, Australia, Burgundy, Spain, New Zealand, Chile and northern Italy, for example. In order to reduce the number of tasting variables, the wines should be of roughly same age. A varietal tasting is the preferred option for beginners as they help tasters learn how different regions contribute to their distinctive character.
On the other hand, a horizontal tasting refers to tasting wines from a single category and a single vintage. For example, you might have a wine tasting of 1993 Bordeaux, where you have wines from Pauillac, Graves, Pomerol, St-Julien And St-Emilion. The advantage of having a horizontal tasting is that you might never notice the differences between the wines mentioned above unless you are tasting them side by side, as the differences among young wines in certain categories might be rather subtle.
As for the theme, it is normally regional, such as wines from Oregon Coast or wines from Sicily. Remember to start from the lightest wine, moving on to drier whites, finally advancing to heavier and sweeter wines. Rose wines should be offered after white wines and before red wines. Dessert wines should be served at the end of tasting.
4. Food Pairings
Food pairings are crucial to a successful wine tasting and should not be neglected. Although food flavors should complement the wine, serving regional food enhance taster’s experience, as a taster will probably enjoy French Chardonnay more with Crostini and Brie than with cheddar cheese and crackers.
Lighter wine should go with food with lighter flavors such as salad, lightly cooked vegetables, cheese, chicken with fruit and lightly seasoned pheasant so the wine will not be overpowered by the food. Heavier red wine should be served with heavier meat like lamb, venison, best cuts of beef and hot vegetables. It goes without saying that dessert wine should be served with dessert such as fruit plate, light shortcake or shortbread.
You should also have plenty of bread and lightly salted mozzarella for tasters to clear their palates between courses.
As for the setting, the table should be covered with white cloth to make it easier for tasters to examiner the wine’s color. Make sure that the table surface is free from friction to enable the tasters to swirl the win easily. Avoid strong scents like potpourri as they may interfere with the taster’s ability to taste wine. There should also be spittoons around to help tasters maintain acuity. Spittoons should be weighted containers so they cannot overturn easily. Each bottle’s capsule should be removed and the bottle should be rolled in foil. Then, they should be numbered with a marking pen and during tasting; each wine should be referred to by its number so the tasters’ judgment don’t get swayed by labels. The labels should only be revealed at the end.