In popular culture, wine has always been seen as a delicacy of the elite. Frasier Crane and his brother Niles would vy for the coveted position of president of their wine club. Paul Giamatti’s Miles in Sideways endlessly drones on of the importance of distilling the very essence of a fine pinot – a sensitive grape that can only grow in specific climates and requires care and attention.
Even Orson Welles, in the hysterical drunken outtakes for a champagne commercial, touted the importance of the finest wines in between passing out. It does not, however, require the world’s most sensitive palate to enjoy a decent wine. It may impress friends, but wine is ultimately a social drink for all classes and types.
Anyone can enjoy a good glass of wine, paired with the proper food, and the social drinker can easily throw together an enjoyable evening for friends and family. Here are just a few of the fun wine party ideas:
1. Use Custom Glasses
This subtle touch will surely class up any event. To make things memorable for guests, dip the bottom of the glasses in black chalkboard paint. After it dries, lay out differently coloured markers for guests to initial or write messages where they lay their glass.
Not only is it a hoot at the time, it will serve as a time capsule-esque reminder, commemorating the evening for years to come. Fold up the paper upon which the glassses lay or hang it up on the wall, so when guests revisit your home, they’ll always know they were there that special night.
2. Small Wine Tasting Groups
With a setting of 5-10 people like a dinner party, arrange seats around your dining table. Not only will this make plenty of room for bottles and glasses, it will keep conversations going. It also allows you to set the pace of the flow, ensuring no one gets too drunk or too rambunctious.
Blindfolds can be employed, allowing guests to distinguish various varietals and allow them to learn just how well they know the product. But the friendly, dinner table vibe will ensure no one’s palate will overshadow the pleantries of the evening.
3. Light By Candle
In Stanley Kubrick’s epic period drama Barry Lyndon, a large party scene amongst debutantes is lit entirely by thousands of candles – no stage lights. You can bring this kind of glass and sentiment into your very home, with the dim light of candles and shadows allowing a certain chic anonymity. Imagine a room of gentle folk, speaking in hushed tones about the California vinyards.
4. Always Go With Cheese
Wine and cheeses are typically social events held for professors and lecturers at universities, but equally stimulating conversation can occur in the comfort of your own home. Think of the classic, Donald Sutherland-esque professor in a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows.
Rather than pontificating about political science, they’re talking about what interests you and your friends. It’s sure to attract the attention of your more cultured friends, especially if the appropriate cheeses are chosen. Consult guides, read up online, but rarely can one go wrong with a fine brie.
5. Go to the Source
What better pairing with wine than the very fruit that bear it? Load up your party with fresh grapes – particularly when they’re in season. It harkens back to the days of ancient Rome and Greece, where kings and senators sipped from gullets (yes, by gullets) and sucked from the very vines. If you’re gang is youthful and a little more party-hearty, go a step further and take it Animal House-style. Toga!
6. A Summer Song
Summer’s here and the time is right for a gorgeous patio party for millennials. Stock that patio with ice coolers full of nice white wine, which can be paired well with a good barbecued steak. The cool summer breeze will play against your friend’s cheeks and dance down their fingers, and the glasses will perspire from the icy coolness. It mixes the cocktail party atmosphere with a more blue collar effervencence.
7. Party Favours
A party isn’t a party without favours, and there’s a cheap, easy but still classy way to approach this at a wine party. Turn the corks into keychains, or use corkscrew keychains. Give away the unused candles as take-home gifts. You may even customize the classy wine box packaging and repurpose it as a gift for your guests.
8. Honey, Have a Glass of Water
This is especially important at a wine tasting gathering, for guests will want to clean their palate before moving on to the next brand. Set up a small water station where guests can re-energize themselves in between glasses. Not only will it control the flow of booze, it clears the sinuses, letting guests breathe in the aromas. Just always be sure to keep the jug full.
9. And Desert At Last!
Desert wines are quite different from the average glass – produced with sweeter grapes like Reisling. If one were to choose a perfect desert to go with it, it would have to be cheesecake. And you’ve officially topped off an already perfect evening. Mix and match these ideas, pick and choose and add a few of your own. No one knows your friends better than you.