It goes like this: Each guest brings two bottles of their favorite cheap red wine. One is for the tasting; the other is put in the prize kitty.
The host masks each bottle of wine, and as people mingle and taste, they rank the wines from one to five stars on ballots. At the end of the night, ballots are turned in, and the winning wine takes home the prize - all the extra bottles of wine!
We'd been to a party like this, and it was so fun: it's never awkward, because everyone has something to talk about, and the competition adds excitement. In our version, we had ballots labeled from A to Z and we marked each wine with a letter of the alphabet (we had so many people over that we actually completed the entire alphabet - 26 wines to taste!).
I checked guests in on a spreadsheet, and David and I covered the bottles with paper bags to hide the label. We used a thick Sharpie to mark the letter on the bag. Meanwhile, guests were sipping and mingling and eating (I did some trays with meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, chocolate, and nuts, and throughout the night I served flatbreads that I cooked at intervals so they wouldn't get cold: goat cheese and caramelized onion, ricotta/Mozzarella with spinach, fresh basil and tomato, and ham, apple, sharp cheddar, and mustard greens).
|Announcing the winners: my only picture from the night (and somehow |
we managed to make it look like there weren't 50 people in my house,
which there were! It was a tad crowded!
As people began to fill up their ballots, David and I entered their ratings, working on two computers on a shared Google doc. Soon, we had a winner! The excitement was palpable! People were getting REALLY into the rankings! I announced the winners, and first, second, and third took home a bunch of wine (first got 12 bottles: that's quite the prize, right?!).
Want to know the winners?
First place: Nineteen Crimes, a red blend
Second place: Dark Horse Big Red blend
Third place: Fourteen hands, also a red blend.
Apparently red blends win the popular vote!
We had a great time and a bunch of people went home with new favorites or wines to try. And everyone is already asking for a repeat next year. I'd love to do one, but I will need to enlist help: I woke up the next day with my wrist swollen from opening wine bottles!