Domenico Winery + Osteria

Hosting a DIY Wine Tasting Party at Home

Hosting a DIY Wine Tasting Party at Home the Right Way

There’s nothing better than wine to change up your usual party. Hosting a DIY wine tasting party at home will not only be a fun time but also an educational experience for you and your friends. Here’s our complete guide to help you plan and execute the perfect at-home wine-tasting event!

Hosting a DIY Wine Tasting Party at Home

Wine Club Members at a wine tasting

Choose a Theme


One of the most fun parts about hosting a DIY wine-tasting party at home is planning! And the best part is picking a theme. There are so many options to choose from, and you don’t have to pick just one. The best place to start is choosing if you want to select wines from a specific region, grape variety, or winemaking style. A regional focus is usually a fun pick because it allows you to take a trip without a plane ticket with your palate. Domenico Winery’s unique selection of Cali-Italia wines allows you to explore California winemaking from a classic like Cab to the rare, like Colorino. You can even decorate to match the region if it’s far away, like Italy, Argentina, or Australia!

Once you choose your theme, you can decide on the smaller details – like the specific wines, the price differences, or if you would like to do a blind tasting. It’s always fun to do a blind tasting no matter your guests’ skill level – it gets people thinking and most of all it gets them creative,

Decide the Guest List


Of course, you probably have in mind the people you’d like to host. But, remember, wine tastings are much better in intimate groups. Try to keep the guest list for your hosting a DIY wine-tasting party at home to no more than 10 people. Also, knowing how many people will help you understand how much wine to buy. Remember – you will pour about 2 to 3 ounces in each tasting per person.

Pick the day and time, and make sure it matches your theme!

Every party needs the core details – date, time, location, attire, etc… This is entirely up to you. but, whatever you choose, make sure it matches your party’s theme. If you are doing bold reds from Chile or a California Cab line up, you may want to keep the party to the evening and/or during cooler months. You may be able to handle a spicy Cab at 12 pm, but some people who may be more white wine drinkers may be overwhelmed.

Select Your Wines

A safe bet is to pick about 4 to 6 wines – this will ensure you can cover enough of your theme(s). If you are doing different styles of wines, having 6 wines will allow you enough room to showcase every basic style of wine (sparkling, white, rosé, skin contact/orange, red, and dessert or fortified).

Getting Prepared: Supplies and Setting the Scene


Hosting a DIY wine-tasting party at home should be relaxed but with a professional essence. This can be ensured by knowing just what supplies to have and how to set everything up.

When it comes to glasses, you can get away with just one – just make sure you have pitchers of water for rinsing (when moving from white wines to reds) along with access to the sink or a spitoon for those who want to pour out wine or spit. You can also have individual ‘spit cups’ which are a little more hygienic. To go the whole nine yards, you can have two glasses (one for sparklings/white wines and one for reds) or one for every wine. It is totally up to you.

If you are showing full-bodied and/or rather aged wines, it would be wise to have decanters so that those wines can ‘breathe’ before they are poured. Also, having water and plain crackers out is a wise decision if there are wines with lots of body and depth. They cannot be flavored as it will alter the tasting experience.

Finally, it is helpful to have note cards and pens out so that guests can take notes. You can even find tasting placemats online so you can identify the wines and some can take notes directly on the mat.

Guiding the Tasting


We’re sure you’re a fabulous host. Still, for hosting a DIY wine tasting party at home you need to remember a few important details when it comes to guiding the tasting.

Before anything starts, you must explain to everyone how the tasting will work. This is when you present the theme, the presentation, the order of wines, and overall what guests should expect. Naturally, if it’s a blind tasting, don’t give away too many details!

Then, once everyone is ready, you can start the tasting. It’s best if everyone is seated or gathered in the same area so you can ensure everyone is tasting the same wines and is listening to any important details for the tasting. Then, you begin!

Before tasting, you should encourage guests to look at the wine, observing its color and clarity. Then, they can smell and take notes of aromas. Of course, you can swirl the wine to help heighten the aromas. This isn’t necessary for sparkling wines though. Finally, it’s time to taste! At this point, you can remind guests to take their time to digest what they’ve seen, smelled, and tasted, returning to any part of the tasting to better understand the wine!

The WSET systematic approach to wine tasting can be a helpful tool when planning a wine tasting!

You can also open up discussion with every wine tasting, as drinking wine is always better together. Do remember that commentary can influence others’ opinions on the wine so sometimes it’s better to wait until you’ve seen, smelled, and tasted the wine before opening up for comments and questions.

Don’t forget the food!

You can’t have wine without food (if you’re Italian like us!) Don’t forget to not only suggest wine pairings for the wine tasting but also have snacks for once the tasting is finished. It’s best to keep the snacking limited – except for plain crackers – as the tasting goes on to keep the palate clean. once the tasting is over, you can dive deeper into food pairings with different cheeses, salumi, or whatever you like!

Hosting a DIY wine tasting party at home isn’t as difficult as you thought, is it? We hope that this guide inspired you to plan your next party, with a little wine twist!