Start a Wine Tasting Club

Start a Wine Tasting Club!

Recently, a friend asked me to write about starting a wine tasting club, mentioning that this type of club was a hot, new trend! She was absolutely correct! As I began to researchthe topic, I found that wine clubs are popping up all over! There are avariety of ways to set up your wine tasting club, so I’ve done a littlebit of combining and editing to give you my best suggestions for creating a fun and successful group!

Gathering Members

Plan to recruit between six and ten members. Ten is a practical number to stop at because the average bottleof wine contains about ten “tasting” sized servings.

Look for members who share a similar level of wine know-how! Mixing experts and novices will not create an atmosphere conducive to conversation or learning!

Since wine clubs appeal equally to men and women, considering forming a club of five couples!

Do Some Legwork

If forming a wine club is going to be your idea, try to do a little bit of research before scheduling your first meeting. Here are some resources for your homework!

The Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast Magazine- consider a subscription to one of these magazines

The Wine Club: A Month-by-Month Guide to Learning about Wine with Friends. This book is available from Amazon for $12.21 and has received excellent reviews for its fun and sassy approach.

The Wine Aroma Wheel! This is an incredibly useful tool for learning about wine and will enhance your ability to describe the complex flavors of wine. For only $5.00, this isa must have! (

A Wine Tasting Kit – a complete wine tasting kit is available from Swill Party. This kit supplies everything you need to host a wine tasting party for eight (except the wine and theglasses!) and will get your first wine club meeting off the ground! (; $29.99)

Purchasing the Wine

Who Should Buy the Wine?

Wine clubs appear to be evenly split as to whether the host purchases all of the wine or each guest brings a bottle. It seems to me that it’s easiest for the host to be in charge!

As a group, set a price limit per bottle ($20-$25 is most commonly recommended).

If everyone sticks to the price guidelines, each member should end up with similar expenses when they host a meeting.

What Wines Should I Buy?

Choosing the wines will be much easier ifyou decide upon a theme for each meeting! This may be the most important component of a successful group! By selecting a theme for eachmeeting, members can truly educate themselves about each variety of wine.

Themes can include:

Chardonnay – taste bottles of this type from different countries or different regions within the US. The same approach works also with Merlot, Cabernet and Bordeaux.

Syrah vs. Shiraz

Wines from local vineyards

Sparking wines

Wines from specific regions around the world

How Many Bottles Do We Need?

Experts recommend tasting between four and eight bottles.

Hosting the Meeting

What You Need-

an appropriate glass for each guest

a bowl for discarded wine samples

a wine opener and a pitcher of water for cleansing palates

One last possible need – brown paper bags! Wine tasting resources are split on this point! Many recommend concealing wine labels so that tasters aren’t influenced by brand names or grape origins. But, others, including Food and Wine, insist that amateurs should be able to read the labels! I’ll leave it up you!

Add elegance to your endeavor – If brown bags don’t appeal to you, consider “classing up” your club with Red Envelope’s handsome, faux suede burgundy and brown wine bags! Each bag has a number monogrammed on it in gold thread, allowing for identification and discussion while keeping the wine label under wraps! The set includes four wine bags, a wine tasting guide and score card holders on faux suede and 40 score cards. ($75)

For a truly sophisticated presentation, Red Envelope also offers a “wine flight set,” including two dark wooden trays which each hold four Riedel stemless glasses and four ceramic plaques to be used as labels or scorecards. ($128)

Schedule of Events

If you’ve chosen six wines to taste, serve three first, take a break for snacks, and then finish with the final three.

You can serve food as elaborate as you’d like, but a cheese course is universally recommended.

At Swill Party, there is an extensive list of cheese and wine pairings! For example, Gruyere and Provolone arematched with Chardonnay, and Gorgonzola and Havarti are suggested for Bordeaux.

Provide Score Cards

You can create your own scores cards to record wine names and opinions or you can download an easy to use version from

Wrap it Up

Tally score cards, make notes of favorites and plan your next meeting!

Choose a host, a wine theme and location before heading home!

And, ABSOLUTELY make sure that every guest can drive home safely or provide a safe ride for them!

For more information visit


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here