How to Host a Wine Tasting at Home

Friday, January 8th, 2021
Wine tasting at home

If you are looking for an event to put together for a small group of friends at home, think about doing a wine tasting. Experiencing new wines is always fun, whether you are a true connoisseur or just starting out on your wine journey. Hosting one of these events at home will be less intimidating for many and open conversation.

Select Your wine

Select your wine

There are many ways you can go about selecting your wine. You can work with a winery and have them provide you with a selection of red and white wines. Two red, two white and a sweet dessert wine are ideal. If you keep your group to 5-6 people, one bottle per varietal should be sufficient. You aren’t doing a heavy pour for a tasting.

Or you can pick a wine region and base your tasting around that. Italy, France, California, and Washington state are obvious choices. Most countries and states have lesser-known thriving wine industries. New Mexico and Texas are high on that list in the United States. Oregon, Idaho and even the Finger Lakes of New York have several wineries. Hungary has “The Valley of the Beautiful Lady”. It is quite unknown outside of Hungary, giving it extra charm.  There are about 200 authentic wine cellars in the valley engraved in rhyolite tuff caves. Portugal, Spain, Germany, and Australia have thriving wine industries. Santorini, Greece has the oldest vineyard in all of Europe! So, as you can see there are lots of options. Just head over to your local wine store and see what you can find. Maybe do a little research before you go or just ask for help. 5 wines tend to be the magical number for a tasting.

Select Your Food

Select your wine

Charcuterie is a natural choice. What is charcuterie you ask? In the French tradition, charcuterie (pronounced “shar-ku-tuh-ree”) is the art of preparing and assembling cured meats such as salami and prosciutto and meat products like mousse or pate. In the United States charcuterie has become extremely popular and contain an assortment of meats, cheeses, artisan breads, crackers, olives, pickled vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and spreads, all artfully arranged on a serving board. You’ll also want to include some dark chocolate for tasting purposes. You can make one of these on your own or look around and see if you can find a purveyor. They have popped up all over the place with the 2020 pandemic. If you’d like to make your own, check out this link for details on what to include and how to do it.

If you go with a country, you may want to select foods from that area to include in your tasting. Some tapas for Spain, pasta and red sauces for Italy, oysters with a French Chablis and Roquefort with Sauternes. You get the idea.

Make sure to include bread and water to cleanse the palate between tastings no matter which route you go.


Make sure you have enough wine glasses for everyone. If you want to avoid washing wine glasses during the tasting, make sure you have enough red and white wine glasses. If you don’t, head on out to your local dollar store. They are sure to have a decent selection.


Unless you have all screw off bottles, you are going to need a quality corkscrew!

Wine Notes

Print out something with the various wines listed. Leave room for people to take notes about the flavors and to rate them. It’s the worst to do a tasting, find something you like and never be able to find it again.

What to expect

First of all, expect everyone to have a good time. Make sure you have ample time for everyone to taste, talk and nosh. Three hours is probably a good estimation. Be casual, have fun and just enjoy the evening.

Wine Tasting anecdote using Heart of the Desert wines

During the holidays, we had a group order one bottle of each of our wines to do a home tasting in Texas. Five ladies attended the event. A charcuterie board was prepared by the host. She had glasses at each seat, snack plates and a printed guide for each wine. One person oversaw pouring the wine for each round. The comments from the evening were as follows:

“A perfectly fabulous evening. Enjoyed the company of great friends. Found a couple of awesome new wines to add to my list. And the charcuterie spread was as delicious as it looked.” ~ Nellie

“It was an awesome evening! Good friends and a lot of laughter while sharing a totally sensory experience of pairing great food and wine…win, win! My favorite wine of the night was the Corazon Gitano which, in my opinion, paired nicely with the offered meats and a strong blue cheese with juniper berries. Yum” ~ Marsha

“I was excited to share the wines from one of my favorite businesses with my friends in Texas. It was super easy to order the wines and have them shipped to my house. I took them early to the hosts house so she could properly chill the whites. The charcuterie tray she prepared was divine and paired so nicely with all the wines. We had such a good time catching up and enjoying each other’s company. It was just what we all needed after living in the fog of 2020.” ~Remi

“It was such a great evening sharing laughter and delicious food and wine. It was really neat to try the different pairings. I discovered a few surprising favorites…I’m not normally a white wine drinker, but I loved the Riesling and Malvasia Bianca.” ~ Katie

As you can see, the night was a big hit! It’s such a fun and fairly simple event to hold for a small tight knit group. If you like wine and so do your friends, you can’t beat the experience. Let us know if you need some help planning your event. We’d love to send you some wine!

Cheers to wine tastings!

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.