I'm a journalist turned full-time nomad currently living in East London.
Published July 23rd 2012
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Everyone loves a good booze-fuelled vineyard-hopping session, but why leave your own backyard to appreciate the Godsend that is wine? I hosted a wine-tasting party a few months back under the stars in my garden and it turned out to be a fantastic night... from what I can remember.
A dozen of my friends were invited and asked to bring their favourite bottle of plonk. I covered the labels and brought each of the brands out, one at a time. My guests were asked to rate the sample and discuss various aspects of the wine. On the whole it was an enjoyable experience, until the last bottle emerged and turned out to be of the nasty home brew 'goon' variety, courtesy of one of my hippy mates. Needless to say his wine failed miserably in the rating stakes, even if everyone was rather merry by that stage.
The owner of the winning bottle with the highest score received a prize at the end – more wine of course. Overall it was a really enjoyable, cheap night. What's not to love when you combine an evening under the stars with great company and mostly-good wine?
Things to consider:
You might wish to set a price range for the wines to keep the competition fair. Also decide whether to stick to red, rose or white, or to mix things up.
Make sure you have plenty of small glasses for the tastings.
Nibblies are a good idea. You could even ask guests to pair their wine with a cheese of their choice.
Half the fun is morphing into a wannabe wine connoisseur, so it is a good idea to have prompts for people to discuss particular aspects of the sample, such as the colours, aromas, legs, and taste.
Have a system in place to make sure that each guest's rating coincides with the correct wine. I numbered the wines 1 to 12 and asked everyone to write down the number as we progressed.
* Last but not least, don't drink too much if you are hosting, because unfortunately some poor bugger has to tally the scores at the end.