For my ’25th’ birthday, I decided to invite my best gals over and host a wine tasting party! I wanted the look of the party to be a display of casual elegance and found my inspiration from a random pack of scrapbook paper I had on hand.
Once I started creating some of my decor, I realized something was missing, all of the papers were very neutral colors. I wanted to add a bit of color and something that would show my guests this was a wine themed event. I found a fabulous answer in the Wild Berries clip art set by Mel’s Brushes. I thought the botanical look of the images would fit my wine themed party perfectly!
Using my computer I designed a wine bottle shaped template and created an invitation to send out to my guests. I am hooked on subway art and mixing and matching fonts. So, I created the text on my invite to mimic the look of subway art. I then cut out the template and traced around it onto a piece of the scrapbook paper, then glued that to the back of the template. A piece of jute twine was attached to the invite along with a party dot that read ‘invito’ . To give the invite a more rustic look, I created an aged effect by inking the invite with distress ink. I also enhanced the clip art images with a bit of glitter glue.
I really love how the invitation came out. I loved the aged look so much that I used it on all the other printed party elements. They also remind me of what I imagine the walls of an Italian villa to look like.
For this tasting party, I decided to have my guests choose their overall favorite wine from six different choices; three reds and three whites. I crafted bottle sleeves and collars for each bottle and used them to hide the bottle labels. This way, my guests wouldn’t be influenced if the wine they were tasting was already a favorite.
In Microsoft Word, I created a simple table and used the clip art to accent each score card sheet to bring in the theme. I chose not to embellish the score card with the ink just because I didn’t think it was necessary. As each guest sampled each wine, they scored each from 1-10 in four different categories. The wine that had the highest score was the ‘wine’-er…..get it?
I set out delicious cheese, cracker and fruit samplers to go along with the wines (and for keeping us from getting too tipsy). I found basic wine corks at Target for just $2 for a four pack; I knew they would make perfect food card holders. I added a slit using a craft knife in each one and placed my food cards into the slots.
The menus were also printed up on my computer and embellished with distress ink. I added a simple black bow to each menu for a bit of extra detail and placed one menu at each place setting along with a simple place card.
My favorite trends are ombre and framed prints. Here I took a print that I designed myself. Again, this was inked up to create texture, and I placed the print into a fancy frame. ‘See, swirl, sniff, sip’ also gives guests an easy reminder on how to taste their wine.
I created another fun sign that went into a fancy frame. This one is a play on the popular U.K. ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters from the 1930′s.
After dinner was served, all the guests got to enjoy delicious lemon, chocolate and vanilla bean cupcakes. The chocolate cupcakes pair nicely with red wines, while the vanilla is perfect for a white and lemon compliments both. I recommend a nice desert wine to go along with your sweets. To decorate the cupcakes, I made party dots and adhered them to glittered scrapbook paper. A wooden wine box from my party stash served as a riser to present the delicious cupcakes.
As a thank you for celebrating my birthday with me, I sent my gals home with boxed favors. Each was tied with a twine string and satin ribbon. I embellished each tag with punched paper, ink and glitter glue. Guests went home with either a fancy wine bottle stopper or jeweled bottle cover.
Here are a few simple tips to hosting your own wine tasting:
1. Choose 4-6 wines to taste. Pair them up by grape or select from a variety (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Reisling, Pinot Grigio, etc.)
2. Create a fun mix of guests and get RSVP’s early. You will need to factor how many glasses to provide for the tasting as each glass should be used once per sampling. You can find basic glasses at Ikea on the cheap!
3. Decide your menu. Cheeses, fruit, crackers, sliced beef and finger foods are great options. Pair berries with white wines, beef with reds…you can also find information on the cheese and wine labels for foods that pair nicely with them.
4.How to taste. Decide if you will have guests select their favorite wine for a selection or match wine to cards that describe the flavor, color and smell of the wine.
5. Serve your whites chilled and your reds at room temperature and start from your lighter wines to your bolder flavors, generally whites first, reds last. Make sure to fill each glass with enough wine for a tasting or two, a full glass for a wine tasting, does not make.
6.Don’t forget,the four S’s: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip! This process helps to experience the full body of flavor that each wine provides.
7. Have fun!
You can find ready to embellish printables from this party in my Etsy shop!
MG Party Planner, Keisha Sibert, Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams
(Thank you to Brown Sugar Designs for the lovely beaded jewelry display and D. Marie Designs for your crafty assistance).