You don’t have to be a wine expert to host or attend a blind wine tasting. For most, it is a fun way to host a social event and at the same time learn something about wine. It can also help remove preconceptions you and your family and friends may have about a specific wine variety or region.
Here are our top tips for hosting an unforgettable blind wine tasting in your home for family and friends.
What is a blind wine tasting?
A blind wine tasting event is where a group comes together and tries a variety of wines without knowing which wines they are tasting. The variety, winery, year and region are all hidden from the drinker, so they have to guess a range of facts about the wine.
As guests taste each wine, they score the wines and guess each one. You then score their answers and declare an overall winner. There are plenty of ways to run a blind tasting, but overall it’s a really fun event that gets everyone talking about wine.
What you’ll need to host a blind wine tasting
There are several must-do’s to organising a successful blind wine tasting, as follows:
A group of participants
Firstly, you’ll need a group of willing friends who like wine. We recommend picking a group of around 10 people as an ideal number. Ideally, they’ll all have a similar level of knowledge about wine, so you don’t have one very knowledgeable person taking the fun too seriously and going home with all the prizes.
You’re next step is finding a great place to host the event. This could be your home, or another venue – but not a noisy restaurant. Given the current restrictions for many of us due to the COVID pandemic, it would ideally be held outdoors, or you could even run the event virtually using Zoom and deliver the mystery wines beforehand.
A variety of wines
Next, you’ll need the wine. This could include alcohol-removed wine from the great range of Edenvale varietals or regular wine, or even a mix of both. You could also include a mix of whites and reds, different regions, different ages, and various price points.
A standard 750ml bottle will provide a 75ml taste for 10 people, so do your calculations based on how many guests you are expecting. You’ll also need to hide the wine details from your guests which you can do with paper bags, aluminium foil, or fancy cloth bags.
If you want to completely hide the wine, then you should decant the wines into a decanter or jugs. This might seem extreme, but regular wine drinkers will find clues even in seeing the top of the bottle and whether it is cork or screw top, and even the shape of the bottle and colour.
"Rather than serving a full meal while you’re wine tasting, you should provide substantial finger food."
Aim to include between five and eight wines to get a good tasting. Less than this doesn’t give variety, and if you choose more your guests will lose their ability to truly taste the wine.
To keep the cost down, you could ask each participant, or couple to bring a bottle. You could specify that it needs to be a certain type of wine, or you just give them free rein.
Things for the table
You’ll need enough glassware for each type of wine and each person. If you are really serious, you’d have a fresh glass for each wine but if it’s just for fun you could consider having a jug of water on the table to rinse the glass out between wines, and a bucket to pour the water into. Another bucket should also be on hand for any wines your guests don’t wish to finish.
Print out the scorecards beforehand in a table format so your participants can take notes and write down their scores. You’ll also need a pen for each person.
Rather than serving a full meal while you’re wine tasting, you should provide substantial finger food. Antipasto platters are ideal, with plenty of bread and crackers to soak up the wine. Cheese, olives, dips, meats, and other easy to eat items are ideal. And make sure you cater to any special dietary requirements of your guests.
Prizes for identifying the correct varietal, region, age, or other characteristics can also make the event more fun. You could consider novelty prizes, wine accessories, or even chocolate, which is always popular. You could also give out wine to the winners.
How to run a blind wine tasting
As you gather the wines you plan to serve, note down the name of the wine, the variety, the region, and who brought it. Then, decide the order you will bring the wines out and note this next to the wines. This might sound very basic, but it’s easy to get confused, especially when you decant the wine.
Make sure every guest has a scorecard, a pen and a wine glass. You could also provide wine guides or notes that will help your guests identify the wines.
Once your guests are seated, introduce the concept of the blind wine tasting. Let them know how it will work, and how to score each wine, including the rating system if you plan to use one. You could choose winners based on their ability to identify the varietal, region, age, or even whether it’s regular wine or alcohol removed wine. You could also award prizes based on correctly identifying some of the taste characteristics.
“Allow them some time to try the wine and score before bringing out the next wine.”
Bring out each wine, one at a time and either pour it yourself or allow the guests to pour their own. Make sure they don’t fill the whole glass. Allow them some time to try the wine and score before bringing out the next wine.
At the end of the tasting, check the scores and announce the winners. You could also include some novelty prizes for the most creative answers, the least number of correct guesses, and more.
Make it an Edenvale blind tasting
Enjoy the taste of premium Australian wine, anytime and anywhere, with the Edenvale range of alcohol removed wines. Edenvale is a high-quality, sophisticated Australian lifestyle beverage that offers the taste and full complexity of premium wine, just without the alcohol content.
You’ll find select Edenvale varietals at Dan Murphy’s, Coles, Woolworths, and IGA, or you can buy your Edenvale directly from our online store or from one of our online retail partners – Sansdrinks, CraftZero, Brunswick Aces and Free Spirit Drink Co.