Tips for Hosting a Food & Wine Pairing Party

by Monica Bennion on August 9, 2015

Drink Your Wine – Week #5
Host a Wine & Food Pairing Party

Tips for Hosting a Food and Wine Pairing PartyLast week you impressed your guests and hosted your very own fancy Dinner Party.  This week, relax a little and have your guests do the pairing by fixing something to pair with one of your wines.  Fire up some healthy and fun competition by hosting a Wine Pairing Party.


Selecting Wines – Select four or five wines from your collection.  Choose a specific variety, region or vintage.

Invite Guests – This pairing party is a casual event, so invitations by email or Facebook Event are good ways to reach out to your guests.  Let your guests know the wines you have selected, and include any links or information about the wine you may have that would be helpful to your guests (i.e. winemaker’s notes, tasting notes, specifications and components, etc.) Get Our Spec Sheets

Food Pairings – Ask each guest to pick a wine for which they would like to prepare a food pairing.  If you have a theme, you can suggest a cuisine or region to help direct your guests.  For instance, if you’ve selected a variety of Barberas, you may want to encourage your guests to browse Italian recipes.  Encourage your guests to make their recipe in a tapas or appetizer style for easy serving.

Supplies – Since this is a casual affair, and you did a lot of work last week at your Dinner Party, we’re going to make things a little easier for this party.  Bust out the festive paper plates, napkins, toothpicks and plastic utensils.  Do make sure you use your good stemware though; you want your wines to taste their best.


Set Up – Clear off the dining room table or patio table to make way for the great food about to arrive.  Get some fun potholders or trivets to liven up the table; a decorative table runner or placemats can add to the festivities too.    Make sure you have enough room to put the wine on the table to match the food pairing.  At each place setting, put a stack of 5-6 plates, a few napkins, some utensils and a wine glass.

Serving – To get the “full effect” of a wine and food pairing, start off small.  Select your first wine and pour each guest no more than a 2 oz. serving.  While you’re pouring, have the guests pass around the food pairing for the specific wine and serve themselves a 2-3 bite serving.  Start with just one food and one wine.  When everyone is done with the first round and has made their notes, ditch the paper plate and start fresh with wine and food pairing #2.  Eat, sip, and repeat.

Notes & Judging – Add a little competition to the mix by offering your guests the opportunity to take notes and choose their favorites.  We have created a simple Food & Wine Pairing Score Sheet for you to use.  Your guests can also choose to vote for their overall favorite food, overall favorite wine, the most complementary pairing or the most contradictory pairing.  Award your guests for their hard work with little gifts or prizes for each category winner.
Download our Food & Wine Pairing Scorecard

Post-Tasting – After everyone has tasted and scored the food and wine pairings, and if you have food and wine left over, invite your guests to hang around a little longer and enjoy the food, wine and company.  Since you’ve used paper plates and napkins, and the food dishes aren’t yours, clean-up will be a snap.  So sit back, sip a little of your favorite vino and enjoy the company of good friends.

Download our Food & Wine Pairing Party Sample

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