When you’ve done a few wine tasting nights, it can all become a bit monotonous (aside from the free wine, of course). Rather than getting tied down by expectations of how the evening should progress, we are going to show you how to shake up the conventional wine tasting evening. Consider how wineries respond to supplier marketing and follow suit. Wineries have seen a massive increase in online sales, sustainable practices and alternative formats. Your wine tasting evening could be equally as unconventional and we have included some options to get you thinking.
Unusual Wine Pairings
We can recall watching a documentary about wine where the host was trying to outsmart the sommelier by plucking random meals for wine pairing suggestions. The one that blew us away was a spicy chicken tikka masala that pairs remarkably well with light sparkling wine. The acidity balances the dish while the bubbles refresh the palate. This got us thinking about other dishes that we don’t usually consider popping the good stuff for.
Whether you do the research yourself online or hire the services of a sommelier, pairing wines with your favorite comfort foods and unusual dishes can make for a fun change. Your guests will love tucking into tiny bowls of mac ‘n’ cheese or mini fish tacos. Discovering for yourself that roasted garlic and a Chardonnay from Chablis are a match made in heaven is a bonus.
Wine and Book Pairings
This idea works brilliantly for those already in a book club, since everyone would have ideally read the books in advance. You could make this an annual event where you pair the books from the previous year with the various wines on offer. It might be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but there is no doubt that a light-hearted comedic biography would pair well with a Chardonnay, and a trashy beach read is begging to be matched with a Rosé.
Wine and Chili Tasting
Chili isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you and your friends enjoy some heat, then a wine and chili tasting can make for an exciting evening. Be sure to have a camera ready for some fantastic photo ops when the heat kicks in. Kelley Coffeen, a cookbook author from Mesilla Valley in New Mexico, has offered wine and chili pairing classes for some time now. Six different chilis are paired with three whites and three reds. For your night, you can mix it up by biting into whole chilis, having a spoonful of chili sauce, or just watching the action.
Virtual Wine Tasting
You can do almost everything via Zoom these days, and that includes hosting a virtual wine tasting. As the host, you can either choose to send everyone a list of wines to purchase themselves or have them shipped right to their door. Feel free to add in some wild and wacky extras since we are talking about being unconventional.
A night mixed with girlfriends, wine, and food is already a guarantee for success in our minds. However, we also love themed events. Giving structure to the evening keeps the focus away from the conversation spiraling back to our kids and our overwhelming schedule of activities. We urge you to break the established mold and shake up convention.