Preparing For A Wine Party

Halloween seems far off right now, in the heat of summer where temps this week in Ohio are supposed to be around 98 degrees F.  However, the Halloween weekend is a big deal at my house, and we’re already preparing for it.

We don’t have kids, and that’s not likely to change.  We won’t be in costume (well, maybe, but just for fun, not because it’s Halloween!)  Instead, my wife and I have hosted a wine party on Halloween weekend every year since we were married (in our 5th year now).  The first year, it was just a few of us, the second, it was just four of us.  The third year saw the numbers swell to fourteen, then sixteen last year.  We’re going to keep it that way this year, too, I’m pretty sure.  As I’ve said before, a lot about wine has to do more with the company than the wine, so we don’t get too mired into the details of the exacting science of wine tasting…  We try to enjoy the wines and the company and to have a lot of fun (we do refrain from drinking straight from the bottle, though!)
Conventional party planning says to limit wine tasting parties to about 8 people, but I don’t like to be too conventional with our parties.  We have friends that know a lot about wine and some that barely know how to work a corkscrew, so we try to make sure everyone has fun.  It can be a lot of fun getting honest reactions!

The basic premise is that every couple brings one bottle of red wine and one bottle of white wine, and I do the food.  I also set the theme; the last two years had themes of US wines but not from California, and southern hemisphere wines but not from Australia.  Menus have ranged from grilled filet mignon to smoked pork tenderloin with reduced wine sauce to chimney charred tuna.

So what prep work do I have to do now?  First, I need a theme for this year.  And I didn’t want to buckle and be too mainstream, but this year’s theme is French wines.  It just seems that they’ve lost their mystique and popularity here, but I still think French wines are about as good as wines get.  There’s a particular quality, maybe from an overall terroir.  Anyway, that’s my choice this year.  I’m taking it as an opportunity to introduce some newbies to French wines.

We’re going to decorate a bit, and our first floor is already French Country based.  My wife already bought a French flag, and I’ll come up some stuff that may not be funny to anyone with French ancestors. :)   But it’s going to be a fun night, and I’ll be sharing my preparations along the way, including menu and party gifts.  If you throw your own wine parties, I’d love to hear some tips on how you prepare and what you do during the party.

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