Hosting a wine and cheese party is a fantastic way to encourage a gathering between friends and family who have a love for an enjoyable wine tasting experience. If you have ever hosted a wine and cheese party, you probably already know what a headache is involved. There is a lot of pre-planning and preparation to make your party a success. From designing and creating a wine and cheese party menu full with complimentary pairings to sending out your invitations to finding the right wine notes, the host or hostess of the party must carefully plan each and every detail to make it as inviting and as relaxing an atmosphere as possible. The last thing you want to worry about is tying up loose ends on the day of the party. Because of the involvement, I highly recommended you choose a date and begin planning no less than two weeks in advance so you can purchase decorations, wines, and cheeses, tasting supplies and so on.
Setting the Date and Sending Wine and Cheese Invitations
The first step to planning a well thought out wine cheese party is setting a date and making a list of the guests you will be inviting. You don’t want to blow your wad all on expensive cheeses and then not have enough wine to go along, so consider your budget and look at your options when inviting friends and family. Simple cheese pairings will be fine if you don’t have a large budget. Also, because these gatherings can be extremely casual or more extravagant, it’s important to invite guests who will feel comfortable with one another, hence friends and family. While mingling a group of separate acquaintances is acceptable in more formal atmospheres, like your corporate Christmas party, a wine and cheese party is a place to feel comfortable and relaxed. For those larger and more formal wine and cheese parties, a mixture of friends, colleagues and acquaintances would be just fine. In short, the event is more for social gathering than holding a full on wine tasting with notes and scorecards and such. Encourage folks to bring their wine journal, of course, but don’t make it a requirement.
Once you have made a practical list of the guests you want to invite, you will then need to either design a creative invitation that can be sent to all of those who are invited or purchase them. While there are pre-printed invitations available online for discounted pricing, there are also convenient online templates that allow hosts and hostesses to design their own unique invitations with specific event particulars. If you are hosting a casual party, you may want to consider sending an Evite to save money and time. Again, be sure the invitations reach the recipients at least 2 weeks in advance so that guests can make preparations for babysitters and can resolve scheduling conflicts. Actually, the further back you can set the date the better and more assured you are of having all your guests make it.
Choosing Aesthetically Pleasing Decorations
A wine and cheese party would not be a party without attractive decorations. While some parties encourage embellished decorations, decorations for a wine and cheese party should be understated and simple for a simplistic charm. Simple and plain white tablecloths, candle holders with accent candlesticks and vintage wine bottles and paintings will create an inviting atmosphere for your guests to appreciate. Because the wine and cheese will reasonably be the focal point of the entire room, make sure you plan an attractive setup with cheese platters, knives, and stemware for each guest. Crystal platters, plates and bowls can be incorporated in your decor if you have the budget and if you desire a more sophisticated aura.
Preparing Tasting Cards with your Pairings
Once you have developed a diverse menu, you will need to design tasting cards that can be given to each guest when they enter your door. On your tasting card, be sure to list a brief description of each wine found in the tasting along with recommendations for cheese pairings. If your wine and cheese parties are held to sell wines, give guests the cost of the wines and a rating card so they will know what they want to purchase at a later date.
If you are ever in doubt, there are several sources online with free cheese and wine tasting ideas. Make your party memorable by adding fun twists such as blind taste testing and awarding small prizes related to fine wine tastings. It is possible to host a classy and sophisticated party that is still relaxed and comfortable for party goers. While event planning is not for everyone, if you enjoy being a host rather than a guest, share your love for fine wines with your friends and hold a wine and cheese party that will be remembered for years.