Blind Wine Tasting Party 2017

My favorite party of the year! If you haven't been to a blind wine tasting party, I encourage you to host (or beg a friend to host). I am hoping my guide to a fab tasting party below will help! As a host, it is not a bad gig. There is minimal to no cooking, and your guests supply the drinks! Not having to cook alleviates the stress, and you can actually enjoy every moment with your guests!

Here is how it worked:
Each guest brought one bottle of wine of their choice (white, red, rosé), and placed the bottle into a labeled brown bag so that other guests could not see what kind it was. We started with whites, as I suggested that our guests bring any white wine at a cool temperature. Using score cards that I recreated (see below), we judged aroma, taste, body, finish and appearance. The bottle that accumulated the most points was given 1st prize.
Other prizes included the Wine Loser (lowest awarded points), and winner for the "guess how many corks" game, in which I filled a container up with store bought corks. The prizes offered were a small cheese platter slate (with chalk to label), a glass wine shaped cheese platter with a decorative grape knife, and a small gift bag of 4 infused olive oils.

What was on our platter spread:
*Infused Olive Oils and Balsamic - I highly suggest these! They are always the biggest hit at all of our wine and cheese parties. We buy a few baguettes and cut them up into dipping sized pieces. The olive oils we serve with a dipping tray in front of that flavor, so our guests know which one they are trying. The oils we served this year included: Black Truffle, White Truffle, Chipotle (ooph, spicy), Cilantro & Roasted Onion, Tuscan Herb, and Raspberry balsamic. They were all so different, some sweet, some hot, some rich.
*Bread - We ran thru the bread really quickly and I will have to buy at least 6 loaves next year! We used french baguettes for this party, but any crispy firm bread will do. Cut the bread into dipping sized servings. Small enough to pop into your mouth in one bite!
*Grapes - purple and green
*Dried apricots
*Golden raspberries (which taste just like red raspberries, they just look cooler)
*Nuts - Toffee cashews (to die for), pistachios, mixed nuts
*Olives - purple and green
*Meats - pepperoni, salami
*Dark chocolate covered raisins
*Cheeses - There is lots of advice online when it comes to cheeses. Costco is an awesome place to start, and of course, specialty cheese shoppes. We included the following cheeses on our platter and it was a good variety: Fresh mozzarella, Port wine, Port Salut, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Asiago, Garlic & Herb Cheddar, Jalapeño Pepper Jack, and Goat Cheese.
*Honey and Spicy Honey mustard spread
*Crackers - A variety of crackers

Decorations & Prizes:
Besides socializing, drinking and eating, you want to spark some fun into the party. Making your table look presentable & appetizing, and creating some competition for your guests to bring good bottles are two fun components of the party. I started with the bags & tissue paper at Michaels. I also purchased the flag labels for the cheese and decorative grapes and green stems for the bags & platter there. Next, I stopped by TJ Maxx for prizes. I only spent 5-8$ per prize and I usually make them cheese or wine related. You can do things like wine glass charms, wine stoppers, cheese boards, etc. Altogether, decorations & prizes ran me about $40. 
I had leftover corks from another year, and I fill them in a wine shaped container. The guests always love trying to guess how many corks are in there. We gave a prize away to the winner (the answer was 53 and the closest guest was 51)! Doing the guessing game towards the end of the party always makes it better! People are a little more socialized and comfortable at that point, and the guesses become more fun.
I also had two cast iron mice to help bring some cute detail to the spread.

I recreated a scoring guide, and score cards on Excel. If you'd like the files sent to you, you can email me at kissmyapron@aol.com and I will be happy to send them to you for your own use!

The following wines were top 3 at our party this year!

1st Place                                                                           2nd Place

3rd Place 

My husband and I are very grateful that we have the opportunity to get our friends together in our home, despite having our new 4 month old baby girl. It's always nice to get a break, and  every parent  deserves a night off once in a while! I wanted to especially thank our friends for their help with pouring and cleaning. I mean, a party isn't a party until the cops are called (gosh, our neighbors are just party poopers)! We had so much fun and cannot wait for 2018 to come along!

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