How to Throw the Funnest Wine Tasting Contest Party

Anthony Dufresne Millennial Life Issues, Podcasts Leave a Comment

Be the Host of the Season by throwing a wine tasting contest party for the ages !

This week I wanted to share how to host the funnest wine contest tasting party.

It’s not my usual self-help type of podcast, but these tips will definitely up your life skills and give you the essentials on how to host an amazing and cheap party for a small group of friends … and just in time for the holidays.

The party is so easy to plan and very cheap, with your cost (as the host) being for basic materials and maybe some snacks and water, which you can actually share the food costs with other people attending.

This is the perfect, cheap holiday party for you and your friends who have no extra money to throw around this holiday season, plus…

  • There’s never a low point…everyone is engaged talking about the wine and comparing notes the whole time

  • It’s an immediate ice breaker for bringing people together that don’t know each other

  • It exposes everyone to a lot of different wines that they can ultimately buy later if they like it

  • You get a great buzz and it doesn’t keep you out all night (especially if you start the contest around 7pm)

Here are the essentials:

  • The perfect amount of people is between 10 and 25, including yourself

  • Pick a particular varietal of wine to taste and compare (I usually go with reds – pinot or blend or cab). Whites are more difficult because they have to be chilled

  • Each person (or couple) need to bring two bottles of the same wine (1 for the contest and 1 as the prize bottle)

  • The wine can be no more than $20 per bottle

The materials needed include:

  • brown paper bags (lunch bags)

  • blank stickers

  • pens (at least one for every taster)

  • 3 x 5 cards

  • thick sharpie pen

  • wine opener (or two)

  • snacks

  • oyster crackers and little bowls

  • bottles of water

  • a couple of starter wine bottles

  • wine glasses (can be plastic but I prefer glass)

  • box or wine tote

  • solid wine party music

  • a big enough venue to have 10 to 25 people in that won’t feel over-crowded

Here’s the “how to” part

  • Two people need to run the show…you and someone of your choosing
  • One person is in charge of the contest bottles, the other is in charge of the prize bottles and welcoming people to the party
  • Take the contest bottle and immediately put the sticker on the bottle and write the person’s name on sticker
  • Cut the top foil off the bottle (do not open the bottle)
  • Wrap the bottle in the lunch bag and tape the bag to the bottle with the duct tape, making sure the tape goes all the way to the top of the bottle without covering the cork
  • Set aside and do the same thing with all the contest bottles (do not open the wine yet)
  • Once all the bottles are there, have someone randomly move all the bottles around then, randomly pick up the bottles and start numbering them with the thick sharpie (starting at 1 and going to however many bottles there are)
  • NOW…open the bottles and have someone help you to place them at various tasting stations you have set up (I would suggest at least three different areas to spread people out). Make sure there are some oyster crackers at each station
  • Hand out one 3 x 5 card and a pen to each taster guest and have them put there name on the card and on one side of the card, list wine bottle numbers (if there are 10 bottles in the contest, they would list 1 through 10 on the front of the card)
  • Turn your guests loose and have them taste each wine (1 oz. tasting pour) then have them rate them (I use a 1 to 10 scale, but I’ve seen a bunch of different types of rating scales)
  • Once everyone is done tasting, have them turn their card over and list their favorite three, #1, #2 and #3.
  • Collect all of the cards, grab a friend and begin to tally up the scores
  • 1st place vote gets three points, 2nd place vote gets two points, 3rd place vote gets one point
  • Determine the winners and place all the bottles in one area in the order they scored
  • Reveal the first, second and third place bottles, then reveal the last place bottle (which is always fun), then the remaining
  • First place gets 60% of the prize bottles, 2nd place winner gets 30% of the prize bottles and 3rd place winner gets 10% (at least one bottle for the 3rd place finisher.

Once the contest is over, we usually sit around a chat for a bit, have a little more wine and people start to file out.

The total amount of time for this has always been around two to three hours and people have the best time, plus you get your place back at a reasonable hour so you can do a little clean-up and crash at a reasonable hour (nothing good happens after 1am…seriously).

That’s it…really easy and an absolute blast for everyone. I really hope you give it a try and let me know how it went. (



Like always, you can listen to any of the previous 150+ podcasts here.

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