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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Wine Tasting Wars

David and I finally held a party we've been planning on for a while: Wine tasting wars!
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!


  1. This sounds like a really fun idea for a party and it looks like you guys had a great time. Way to go for the winners winning more wine!

  2. That is such a fun party idea! And what a smart idea to serve flat breads throughout the night instead of putting everything out all at once. Hope your wrist heals! I have the hardest time opening wine bottles so my parents got me a rabbit bottle opener a couple of years ago which is so slick!

    1. I told David that I'm not doing it again without a rabbit!

    2. I once got tendinitis in my middle finger from bowling too much. Much like I was with that injury, you should be very proud of your wine opening injury!

  3. What a great idea for a party. And a great way to get people who might not know each other to mingle easily.

  4. What a fantastic idea! That seems like a worthwhile athletic injury ("bottle-opening carpal tunnel syndrome"). I might have to do this with dessert...

  5. So fun! I've always wanted to do something like this... maybe I will now!