Summer is a great season for organizing any type of party, but for a wine lover it’s inevitable to make it wine themed.
Last week, I was invited to a summer wine party, with a special theme of “magnum”, one and a half liters of wine bottles. Let me show you the details of the party, give some ideas and tips for your wine themed summer parties. The invitation to the magnum party asked to bring three things: a magnum bottle of wine, a small dish to pair it, and the party mood. My selection was a sparkling wine from Mumm Napa, Brut Reserved in a magnum bottle, and paired with quiche Lorraine. Quiche Lorraine is easy to make, and delicious and the yeasty aromas of the traditional method sparkling go well with the dough and cream of the quiche.
When we arrived at the party, the host handed us a small neck label for the wine bottles. We wrote the name of the food pairing on these labels, and hung it on our wines. This is an important detail: Each time you grab a food, you know which wine should be poured in your glass, or the opposite. Following, we also grabbed our wine glasses, with wine charms on it, so we were able to keep our glasses all evening.
Soon after the wine and food corner was filled with many different magnums and colorful dishes. My favorite pairing was Chenin Blanc from Chappellet paired with bruschetta of goat cheese, fig jam and walnuts. This is a combination worth trying.
There was a surprise for the people who brought sparkling wine. The host had a great set of swords and he was a professional of sabering the sparkling wine bottles. He knew all the tips for sabering and he taught us the tricks for doing it. It was fun to learn and give it a try.
Another surprise was the tasting contest of two wines, one white and one red. There were tasting cards for everyone to write their guesses on the country, region, variety, vintage and the price of the bottle. It was a challenging contest, the white wine was a Chardonnay from Chablis, while the red wine was an Australian Shiraz. The winner won a “Tastevin” which is an old tasting-cup used by tasters and wine producers. The second person with the highest score also got a gift, a wooden-bodied wine opener.
With red, rosé, white and sparkling wines, interesting and delicious food pairings, and fun activities along the evening, it has been a great party. Here are some tips to organize a summer wine party for you and your friends:
1. Forget about the plastic cups for the wine. I know that there are also wine glass shaped plastic cups, but it will not be the same. People will bring the wines that they love to share and serving them in plastic wouldn’t be fair for the guests.
2. You can avoid usage of unnecessary glasses by using decorative wine glass tags or charms. This way people can go around freely without fear of losing their wine glasses. Another option is the wine glass writers, people can just put their names on their glasses with them and after the party you can wash and completely clean them.
3. Feel free to use creative wine decorations. The details are always important and appreciated. Some napkins with wine patterns, creative articles from wine corks, wine maps… Reveal your creativity!
4. Find a concept for your party. As in my example, magnum parties are a great concept. But you can find many more; you can pick a varietal, a country or a type of wine. For example, sparkling wine or Californian wine parties. But of course, the concept can strict your guests in their selection of wine, so make sure that you are choosing one that all the guests can enjoy.
5. Incorporate some contests and games. Blind tasting contest is a perfect idea. It will create excitement and curiosity for the guests. Playing a wine themed game can be fun. There are a lot of commercial games, quizzes about wine etc. But you can also create your own game, it doesn’t have to be information based. Just reveal your creativity and create a fun wine themed game.
6. For the end of the party, make sure that everybody is returning to their houses safely. Since the wine consumption will be high, you shouldn’t let the guests drive. If it’s not possible for them to go back home without driving, insisting them to spend the night in your guest room might be a good idea.
At the end the main aim is to have a good time, whatever you do make sure that you and your guests are enjoying it.
All images © 2016 by Wines of Nesli. All rights reserved.