How To Throw A Prosecco Tasting Party
Want To Throw A Prosecco Tasting Party?
You’ve come to the right place! In Part 4 of my 6 Part Prosecco Series, I’ll be showing you how to throw a Prosecco tasting party for all the bubbly lovers in your life. In this article, we’ll be covering:
- How (and who) to invite
- Simple set-up and easy prep
- Food pairings to serve
- Orchestrating the tastings
I held my own Prosecco tasting party last weekend, and it went amazing! We drank lots of good sparkling wine, munched on yummy food, talked about family and friends, and ranked our favorite Proseccos under $15 (which you will get to hear more about in Part 5 of this series).
The party went so well, in fact, that my guests are trying to talk me into doing wine tasting parties more often! Throwing get-togethers where we try new wines is not only fun for us, but educational and even adventurous as well. Instead of just having a typical party where everyone kind of does their own thing, I would encourage you to try a tasting event like this – it creates a great atmosphere, drives conversation with everyone, and really pushes your guests to try new and different things that they otherwise wouldn’t.
You can also get really creative with tasting parties – don’t just limit yourself to Prosecco. Try comparing different types of sparkling wine. Pick a country and taste different varietals from the region. Or, pick a varietal and try different wines from different countries. The possibilities are endless.
In case you missed the other parts of my Prosecco series, be sure to catch up on them here:
- Part 1: What You Need To Know About Prosecco
- Part 2: Getting To Know Glera: Your Quick Guide To Vine & Wine
- Part 3: 10 Prosecco Cocktails You Need To Mix Up Now
- Part 5: 5 Easy Bottles of Prosecco Under $15
- Part 6: The Science Behind Sparkling Wine
Now, let’s throw a Prosecco tasting party!
Invite Your Wine-Loving Guests
When I throw a party, I prefer small and intimate gatherings. First, it’s less preparation. Second, it’s better for your wallet – parties can add up quick! Third, and most important, I can focus more on my guests and show them a better time.
When planning your tasting party, think about your group of family and friends who truly enjoy wine, or at least want to get into it a little bit more. Stick to those when making your guest list. Keep it relatively short and sweet, so that way you can all comfortably converse with one another in the main room you will be entertaining in.
Depending on how formal or informal you want to be, you can send out wine-themed invitations to your guests, or invite them through social media. However you decide to notify your party-goers, you should be mindful to include the following:
- Instruct each guest to bring two (2) bottles of the same Prosecco under a certain dollar amount (I chose $15):
- One bottle will be for the actual tasting during the party.
- The second bottle will be used as a gift for another guest to take home.
- Ask the guest to RSVP with their wine choice to ensure there are no duplicates.
- Allow enough time to ensure responsible drinking:
- Because this is only a tasting, it is tempting to fly through each course and move on to the next.
- Try to aim for no more than three (3) samples per one (1) hour.
- Ask your guests to remain for an additional hour (drink free) before leaving – or, to arrange a ride home.
Prepare For Your Prosecco Tasting Party
There are a few essentials you will need to stock up on before the big day arrives. My favorite place to hit up for party goods is the dollar store. This is pretty much a one-stop-shop in terms of paper goods, servingware and utensils, platters, decorations and even wine glasses! Make sure you have the following for your party:
- Notepads and pens
- Wine glasses (you can get real glasses or disposable plastic ware)
- Food Platters
- Food Serving Accessories (toothpicks, serving spoons, etc)
- Water Bottles
Purchase your items at least 24 hours in advance of your tasting party. The day before should ideally be used to prep the food and set up. I like to make my shopping list at least a week in advance, pick everything up in one trip during the week, and then set up everything the night before. Any food that can be prepared ahead of time, I also do the night before.
Feeding Your Guests
With the guests providing all the wine, I like to take care of the food. However, if a guest offers to bring something, I certainly won’t say no!
For my Prosecco tasting party we tried 5 different bottles of bubbly, so I prepared 5 different small plates. I like to stick with a theme, and offer a “full” menu ranging from cold appetizers to hot, meaty dishes to sweet treats. I stuck with an Italian theme for my menu, and served the following items:
- Fresh Fruit with Grana Padano (a hard cheese similar to Parmesan)
- Bruschetta Skewers
- Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus
- Slow Cooked Turkey & Beef Meatballs in Herbed Tomato Sauce
- Honeyed Pear and Cranberry Cream Cheese Tartlets
Prosecco is such a versatile wine that almost any food would pair well with it. Other pairing suggestions for your party include:
- Salads with a light vinaigrette dressing
- Fresh or dried fruits such as apricot, peach, melon, citrus, apple and pear
- Go vegetarian with marinated mushrooms, fresh olives, crispy potatoes, and fried artichoke hearts
- Italian cheeses such as Grana Padano, Parmesan, Pecorino, Piave, Taleggio, Robiola and Gorgonzola
- An assortment of charcuterie such as Proscuitto, Coppa, Capocollo, Soppressata, pâté and foie gras
- Fresh seafood such as raw oysters, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, ceviche and salt cod fritters
- Asian fare such as spring rolls, curries, wontons and spicy noodles
- Barbecue – stick with chicken or pork and keep portions small
- Finish off with dessert using honey, citrus, nuts, dried fruits, sweet breads, gelatos or sorbets
Orchestrating Your Prosecco Tasting Party
Two to Four Weeks Before
- Send out invitations
- Two weeks for an informal get-together
- Four weeks for something a bit fancier
One to Two Weeks Before
- Collect RSVPs
- Keep track of who is bringing what wine
- Request that a guest bring an alternative if there are duplicates. Provide suggestions.
- Plan Menu
- Use what you already have on hand
- Make a grocery list for remaining items
- Make Party Supplies Shopping List
One Week Before
- Clean, clean, clean
- Set up tablescape and serving area
- Pre-cook and prep food
- Familiarize yourself with each guests’ Prosecco choice so you can describe what is being served
- Finish any cooking and final set up
- Welcome guests with their own bottled water, wine glass notepad and pen
- Keep Prosecco chilled until serving time. The gift bottles can be kept at room temp.
- Instruct guests to pair the first food course with the first Prosecco tasting, the second course with the second tasting, etc.
- Use your Prosecco research to introduce each tasting and teach your guests about what they will be drinking
- Encourage conversation regarding the colors, aromas, flavors and overall impressions of the wines
- At the end, ask each guest to score the wines. Tally the points to find your groups’ favorites! If serving 5 wines:
- #1 = 5 points
- #2 = 4 points
- #3 = 3 points
- #4 = 2 points
- #5 = 1 point
- Before the guests leave, make sure they are safe to get home. Then allow them to choose a gift wine to bring home, based on the order they arrived to your party.
Finally, congratulate yourself on throwing a kickass party!
And then get planning on the next one.
Have you ever held a tasting party before? How did it go, and what was your theme?
Interested in throwing your own tasting party and still have questions?
Leave a comment below!