Hosting an at-home wine-tasting night can be a delightful way to bring friends and family together and explore the world of wines from the comfort of your home. This type of gathering is enjoyable whether you love exploring new wines at vineyards or savoring a good glass of wine with quality company. Read on for four tips for hosting an at-home wine tasting so you can plan the best get-together.

Decide Who You’ll Invite

Keep the group size manageable so that everyone can participate in the conversation and comfortably sample the wines—aim to invite six to ten guests. As you create your list, consider group dynamics and people who enjoy drinking wine.

Introduce your guests to each other through a common interest or background when you ask them to the tasting if you invite guests who don’t know one another. Doing so will help break the ice and create a more inviting atmosphere.

Know Your Wines

Understanding the alcohol you’ll serve is a key tip for success when hosting an at-home wine tasting. Consider the level of sweetness and bubbly versus still as you select wines. Also, make sure to choose a variety of grape varietals, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. You can also incorporate wines from different regions or countries for a more diverse tasting experience.

The best-tasting parties include various red, white, and sparkling wine bottles. You can also include a dessert wine to finish off the tasting. Your local wine shop can be a fantastic resource if you’re unsure where to start.

Select the Right Food Pairings

Food pairings can elevate the wine-tasting experience, highlighting the flavors of the wine and the food. Consider light, versatile bites that complement a range of wines when planning your menu.

Cheese and wine are classic pairings, along with cured meats and bread. Try a charcuterie board with various cheeses, chocolates, meats, crackers, and fruits for the ultimate food and wine pairing. Carefully consider which foods and wines taste best together. For instance, evaluate how to pair chocolate with cheese and how both would complement the wines; generally, a Pinot Noir goes wonderfully with gouda cheese and milk chocolate.

Create the Right Ambiance

The right ambiance transforms your wine tasting from a simple gathering into an unforgettable evening. Dim the lights, set out comfortable seating, and create a playlist with relaxed background music on the day of your party. Additionally, set out palate cleansers such as pretzels or crackers that guests can eat between wines.

Give your guests a tasting glass and a pen or pencil to take notes on how they feel about each option when they arrive. You can also include tasting sheets with information about each wine for your guests to fill out. More than anything else, have fun! This gathering is a perfect opportunity to explore new wines, deepen friendships, and create lasting memories.

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