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4 creative ideas for wine night

Tasting and service

4 creative ideas for wine night

Great wine always tastes better with great company. Do you like having friends over to share the joy of vino? Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas to host a wine tasting your guests won’t soon forget, whether you’re celebrating something special or simply discovering a new varietal.

Published on August 30, 2023

Of course, not everyone has the same level of knowledge or expertise. Feel free to tweak these ideas depending on the kinds of wine lovers in your circle to make sure everyone has a good time. As the host, do some research and jot down the essentials to make sure the experience is both interesting and fun!

For people who adore a good theme

Focusing on a type of product or a region is an excellent way to improve your knowledge of wine. The idea isn’t to turn it into a boring lecture—you can simply share information about key features, like the products’ place of origin, the varietals typical to the region and the types of wines that are produced there. Choosing a theme will also guide your wine selection and food pairings. 

Here are a few ideas to help you plan: 

  • Serve different types of wines made from a specific varietal. Your categories could be dry, semi-dry, sparkling, sweet, etc.
  • Ask your guests to bring a dish that will complement a wine from a given region. You can easily find food accompaniment suggestions on the SAQ’s website and elsewhere online. See who wins best pairing!
  • To wrap up, quiz everyone on the information you shared throughout the tasting.

Looking for other fun themes? You could take inspiration from current trends like orange wine, bubbly from around the world, Austrian wine, Quebec products, cider—the possibilities are endless! 

For (board) gamers

There are many games that can easily be adapted to a wine tasting! For example, you could play a home version of the game show Password and take turns giving one-word clues for a mystery wine. It’s fun and easy to plan! That being said, there are board games specifically for wine lovers, and they’ve become big hits. 

Take Le nez du vin, for instance, which is a kit containing vials of aromas that allow you to refine your sense of smell—a major asset for any good sommelier. Choose a few vials with notes of the wine you’re tasting, pass them around so people can take a sniff, then ask everyone if they can identify the aromas. See if they can make scents of the wine! 

How about a little viaggio across the ocean? Viticulture will transport you to Tuscany, where amateurs and connoisseurs alike will get a kick out of going head-to-head to earn the title of best winemaker in Italy! 

Last but not least, Vin Mystère consists of finding out what wine you’ve been given. Created by columnist and sommelier Jessica Harnois, this clever game will get the group giggling, and it’s sure to bring out everyone’s competitive side!

These games are all available at bookstores and board game retailers.

For music lovers

Scientists are beginning to study how music affects the flavour of what you’re drinking. They hypothesize that a wine will seem stronger or more delicate depending on the song you’re listening to. Give it a try by hosting a wine and music night! 

You could ask each of your guests to come up with a wine and song pairing, along with a little explanation of their choice. It could be a great opportunity to discover not only a delicious wine you haven’t had before, but also a new artist you’ll be listening to on repeat. Test the theory by tasting that wine while playing a few other tunes and see if it seems to affect the flavour. At the end, everyone can vote for their favourite pairing. And as a bonus, everyone goes home with an original list of wines and songs to enjoy in tandem!

Take it up a notch

If you’ve hosted many a wine night with the same group, raise the bar by having your panel of budding experts take part in a blind taste test! Cover the bottles before proceeding with the tasting, then have everyone try to guess what they all have in common.

Pro tips

  • Start with sparkling wine first, then move on to dry whites, rosés and light reds. Save the more robust reds and sweet wines for last.
  • The drinking temperature matters. Be sure to check the recommended temperature for the wine you plan on serving and learn how to chill it.
  • Demonstrate how to taste wine like a pro. Guide your guests to examine it, smell it and then taste it. Several tasting guides like this one are available online.
  • There are special corks and accessories that can prolong an open bottle’s shelf life, whether it’s a still or sparkling wine. Have a few on hand so you can preserve the bottles you’ve uncorked for longer.

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