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Want to host a blind tasting for all your friends? We have you covered!!

Blind tastings can not only be a LOT of fun; every sip can be a conversation starter. You also have the ability to either host a small intimate group or create a fun experience with larger gatherings.

What is a “blind tasting.” Do I have to wear a blindfold? - No not necessarily, but some people do say that eliminating

one sense can heighten other senses!

Blind tastings cover a broad range of events. The basic gist according to the San Francisco Wine School is: “Blind tasting is the process of tasting and evaluating wines without any information about what those wines are.”

So, the sky is the limit. But don’t worry. We have 5 “tips” we created to help you host your own party.

Tip #1 – Select a theme!

As we have mentioned… the sky is the limit. You can pick your own theme. Have everyone bring their favorite bottle of “any” wine and see whose wine might be (choose the varietal, choose the best of a certain wine, try to pick the varieties out of a blend etc.)

Tip #2 – Choose the number of wines you would like to submit (based on attendance)

Depending on your theme, this might be critical. Be sure to be realistic on “what you want to accomplish.” Will you only have 5 people tasting? Perhaps have each person bring their own bottle to have 5-6 different wines to vote on. Are you hosting 30 people? Perhaps limit “how many” wines to taste but suggest that those people who are submitting wines bring more than just one. Be realistic on how many wines you think you would be able to try. Depending on theme, this may limit itself completely (i.e., it might be fun to try to identify 12+ “varieties” of wine, but it might be fun to pick a “favorite” wine in a lineup of 12 bottles). Use your best judgement!

Tip #3. – Create rules (i.e., cannot choose the same varietal for a blind wine tasting focused on identifying each wine.) Are you voting for a “favorite?” Be sure to have people list their favorites in order. Do they get to have multiple favorites or just one or two votes, or do they have to rank them all?)

Rules are completely based on the theme you have chosen of course. However, if you are allowing guests to bring wines to your blind tasting keep in mind of a good way to keep those wines anonymous even to them. Perhaps provide wine bags as everyone arrives and then have a guest number them randomly. If someone is not participating in the tasting but “in control” of certain aspects, it does make this process easier, but not mandatory. A few tips for keeping things “blind”

- Be sure to take both the cork and the foil or any other identifying marks off the bottles as they are opened and put into bags.

- Make sure you use a dark colored bag which covers the whole bottle. Be sure to do this right away as guests who are providing wines arrive. But don’t feel the need to number them until just before the tasting. If someone is in control of the process, you can always decant the wines into the same style decanter for even more anonymity.

Are you guessing vintages? Sometimes it is a good idea to give people a range, so they don’t get “too” overwhelmed. For example, if you are providing a vertical of the same winery, you can give date ranges i.e. - 2000 -2015. The same rules follow for guessing “varietals.” Perhaps limit the options to “no blends” and/or list 15 different varietals that could be options in a line up of 5 wines. The best advice is to run through the event yourself and look for potential confusion amongst the guests.

Rules can be very important depending specifically on the theme of blind wine tasting you are hosting. For example, if people are choosing a favorite wine, can they only choose 1? Do they give a point value for each wine? Will you make them rank them individually? It is important to keep in mind how you will quantify these for “the big reveal,” so be sure to take some time planning for the rules and make them SIMPLE and CLEAR. Perhaps even post them somewhere in the room for reference during the event.

Tip #4. – Create score or note cards for guests and participants based on the theme you have.

When doing a blind tasting, especially with multiple wines, it is always a great idea for those who do not have a photographic memory to take notes and write down ideas. These cards can differ depending on the theme (are you guessing specific wine varietals, are you choosing a favorite? Are you guessing a vintage?) We will include a few links below

A few things to keep in mind on your score card.

· Will you allow someone to choose the same thing twice in a varietal theme? We would suggest keeping it simple and make everyone choose different varietals for each wine. This will keep things easier to score as well!

· How do you want people to score their favorites? Do they pick just one? Do they rate them by favorite to least favorite? Do they pick their top 3? When hosting a “what is your favorite wine” tasting, the sky is the limit, but sometimes it is good to allow guests to choose a most favorite to least favorite to help with scoring the wines later. There might be a few wines that are close

· Will you collect the score cards, or will people be able to be “on their honor” during the big reveal? We suggest collecting the cards to score them after you have completed the tasting, unless it is a very small group. This makes the revealing more exciting and allows guests to talk about the wines while the scoring is being calculated.

Tip #5. – Choose how to reveal the wines and winners

Do you reveal the wines first then give the prize? Completely up to you)

This is usually the most exciting part of any blind tasting. It is good to do “the big reveal” if there is someone who must tabulate any score cards. (Primarily if people are voting for their “favorite” wines). If you have set a time limit and you trust your guests to score themselves that can always be a good option.

Depending on how you are scoring your theme, this also depends on the rules and scoring bracket you have decided on.

Score Card Examples:


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