A Guide to Hosting an At-home Wine Tasting

Wine brings people together in a way that can create life-long memories. Whether you and your friends are experienced wine tasters or simply curious to learn more, an at-home wine-tasting event can be a fun and educational experience.

Here are a few steps for hosting a memorable wine-tasting at your home.

Choose a Theme

Themes can be based on a specific type of wine such as chardonnay, merlot or pinot noir, and include a variety of vintages or brands. Another option is to explore wines from a particular region like Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley or a specific country like Italy or France. Finally, you might want to focus on a type of wine from a certain year from various producers.

YourWineStore offers a curated selection of over 90 wines from seven different regions. The best part? They are delivered right to your door. All you have to do is place an order, relax and enjoy your glass. If you need help choosing, their wine experts are happy to provide personalized recommendations based on your preferences. Morgan Stanley Living & Giving members get 25% off their order of $150 or more.

Plan the Menu

Hors d’oeuvres

Pairing bites of food like cheese or chocolate with your wine can enhance the experience and is also a great palette cleanser in between sips. Dark chocolate tends to pair especially well with red wine, while a curated cheese platter is a great compliment for white wine.

You can also offer small hors d’oeuvres that guests can eat with one hand while they hold their wine glass with the other. You can consider olives, antipasti and chips, most of which can be found through Eataly’s online marketplace of Italian delicacies. Morgan Stanley Reserved Living & Giving members receive 20% off first-time orders and 10% off all subsequent purchases sitewide. Just make sure the taste of the food is not too strong during your tasting because it might make it difficult for guests to assess the flavors of the wine.

If you prefer to serve a full-course dinner, you could pair a different wine with each course. Snake River Farms offers a range of quality meats, seafood and appetizers along with recipes to host a delectable dinner party. Each wine type complements food in a unique way, so do your research on ideal pairings beforehand!

You can have the perfect wines for your event delivered right to your home. Browse the selection from ReserveBar, which specializes in fine wines and premium spirits delivery. Morgan Stanley Reserved Living & Giving members receive $25 off purchases of $125 or more or $50 off purchases of $250 or more.

Hire (or Become) an Expert

If you are a wine connoisseur, you can explain the samples yourself. If you need to brush up on your knowledge, gather some quick facts from YourWineStore’s blog, which features “Wine 101” articles and pairing recommendations. Otherwise, consider hiring a professional to answer questions and provide tips during the tastings. Sometimes your guests may need a little expert guidance to start assessing the wine on their own.

Set the Table

Wine bottles

Having a properly set table can make your wine tasting go more smoothly. Set the table in style with the casually elegant dining collection from Parachute Home. Morgan Stanley Reserved Living & Giving members receive 20% off sitewide. A light-colored tablecloth will help see the color of the wine more easily. If you can, provide your guests with more than one wine glass, so they can compare wine’s appearance against each other.

Provide palate cleansers like neutral-flavored crackers that can help prepare your tastebuds for a new flavor. Finally, have some water on hand to help everyone stay hydrated as they sip their wine.

Take Notes

Taking notes and reviewing them is a key part of learning how to taste wine. Provide your guests with pens and paper to write down what they see and taste so they can reference it later. You can find and download tasting sheets for red or white tastings online.

Encourage your guests to note the color and viscosity (thickness) of the wine as well and any notes they smell or taste. After the tasting, you can discuss your thoughts with each other and see if you agree on a favorite wine.

The best way to become more knowledgeable about wine is to taste regularly. Hosting at-home wine tastings can be a great way to boost your wine savvy while enjoying time with friends and family.


This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All resources listed in this material are neither an endorsement, sponsorship nor affiliated with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”).

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