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How to Host a Blind Tasting

How to Host a Blind Tasting

Although it may seem intimidating at first, blind tasting wine with a group of family members or close friends is one of the best (and most fun) ways to perfect your tasting capacities and learn about wine all at once—plus, we can’t think of a better activity to break up all of the eating and drinking during holiday gatherings. Follow the steps below to set up a casual blind tasting session at home and get ready for a potential new holiday tradition! 

Get your bottles in time for Thanksgiving Day! Select 2-day or overnight shipping at checkout to ensure your bottles arrive on time.

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Step 1: Set Up Tasting Stations

Prior to guests’ arrival, set up one tasting station per guest around a table. We recommend using a white tablecloth to provide a neutral background for looking at the wine, and if possible, use the same glass for each person for uniformity’s sake. Place a Deductive Tasting Grid and a pen at each station, a glass of water, and an empty cup for spitting. 

Step 2: Bottle Prep

For the most diverse—and potentially interesting—set of blind tasting wines, we recommend asking each guest to bring one to two bottles of covered wine (this can be done with tin foil, in a sleeve, or a paper bag) to the gathering, depending on how many rounds you’d like to host. To ensure that the fewest number of people see the wines as possible, we recommend having each person pour the wine that they brought, so as to also give everyone a chance to participate. 

Step 3: Get Your Timer Ready

To ensure that everyone gets a fair amount of time with the wine, we recommend setting a timer and beginning / ending as a group. For beginners, set the timer at five minutes per wine; more seasoned tasters, you can trim it down to three or four. 

Step 4: Final Calls & The Big Reveal

Each guest must have their final conclusions written down prior to the timer going off. Once all pens are down, each person around the table states their final guess. Upon all conclusions being shared, the pourer will reveal the wine from its covering. The correct guess (or closest to it) wins the round! 

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Helpful Tips:

- Print tasting note charts and/or the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Deductive Tasting Grid in advance so as to have helpful materials on hand.

- For beginner levels, we recommend sticking to ‘testable’ grape varieties and regions—AKA, the classics (Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, Riesling from Germany, etc.) to get started. Sure, blind tasting Sangiovese from California will certainly open up some fun discussions, but it could also be quite confusing!

- Alternate the blind tasting “host” each round so as to give everyone a chance to partake. 

- Once you’ve got the hang of things, throw an old vintage or two into the mix and see whose guess is the closest! 

Reminder: This is the last week to ship your Thanksgiving Day wine in time for the big day! Select 2-day or overnight shipping at checkout to ensure your bottles arrive on time.

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From our Wired for Wine family to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy, and wine-soaked holiday season!

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