How to Start up a Wine Tasting Club

How to Start up a Wine Tasting Club
toasting with wine
Invite your friends and favorite family members to your wine tasting club.

If you enjoy wine and the company of friends, why not initiate a wine tasting club? This type of club shouldn’t be confused with the wine clubs focused on the marketing of wine. Instead, a wine tasting club is a social gathering that has a focus on tasting, judging, and discussing wine.

Rosehill Wine Storage Blog has a lovely piece outlining some best practice wisdom and ideas for how to organize a wine tasting event at home or in a restaurant.

Wine Clubs are Like Book Clubs with Refrigerators

A good comparison as to what it takes to start a wine club is starting a book club.  Everyone loves books and once a month you decide to share what you’ve found and force it on others to experience. This is the same idea behind a wine club. At book club, you try to impress everyone with your literary insights and you often leave wondering if you sounded like an idiot. At wine club, it doesn’t matter if you sound like an idiot because everyone was too tipsy to ever remember what you said!

silver wine tasting spittoon, tasting silverwareOne thing we learned after our first meeting was actually not to pour everyone full glasses of wine. They don’t need regular portions. It’s smarter to pour smaller portions and at tastings, two ounces is a standard pour.  Smaller portions will allow participants to taste more bottles. Get a silver wine tasting spittoon as spitting wine is semi – disgusting but the having the proper silverware ennobles this otherwise base act.

How should the event be organized? Go through each bottle of wine and let the person who brought it share why they like the wine as well as few little facts that they picked up from the wine merchant or by doing research on the internet. Once you’ve tasted each bottle, have the group vote on their favorite and let the winner choose the next theme.

Every wine tasting club can have its own particular flair.  Generally it’s a good way to learn about wine without all the pomp and pretension. Some are more educational than others.

Frasier, Miles at wine tasting club on tv series Fraser
Frasier TV show, wine tasting with experts

Some groups have mentors and lean toward helping members become serious wine connoisseurs, much like the club Frasier and his brother Niles attended in the popular television series Frasier, which ran for 11 seasons, each involving wine.  The scene below is where Frasier demands that Miles stop swishing and procrastinating and give his opinion of the wine. He says “Oh come on Miles, that wine spent less less time in the bottle!” That’s the best line in the scene.

Other wine tasting clubs are intended more to provide opportunities for plenty of routine fun. Lots of wine is also needed, which means proper wine storage is a necessity. You don’t need to hire an expert or even have someone in your midst who knows much (or anything) about wine. To start, you just need someone who’s organized and willing to take the reins, get the ball rolling and help guide the club. They need not be a wine connoisseur but willing to accept that they are on a path to learn more about their own palettes.

If you don’t have your own custom wine cellar, such as we build at Rosehill Wine Cellars, you can get a wine fridge or wine cabinet to provide wines for tasting that have been stored in the proper environment.

wines for supper at wine club, tasting group

Tips for starting a wine tasting club

Outside of the wine storage consideration, there are a few things recommended when starting up a wine tasting club. The following are helpful tips on what to do during a wine tasting club start-up meeting:

  • Plan for a membership total of 8 to 16 people, which can start with a few and build up.
  • Make plans to host the very first wine tasting party.
  • Designate a recorder or secretary for the first meeting. Their primary duty is ultimately to keep track of wine scoring results and share them with club members.
  • Provide details about the event, when sending invitations. Put an emphasis on fun more than on education, careful not to intimidate anyone into thinking they need to be a wine specialist to attend.
  • Decide on the following: A club name; theme for the next meeting; hosting assignments; meeting dates; and whether food pairings will accompany appetizers or dinner.
  • Make a determination about how to choose and purchase the wine featured at the club meetings. Each person, as one example, could bring one bottle and the favorite could be named as the evening’s winning wine. The most common approach is for the host to purchase the wine for the meeting and then get reimbursed.
  • Determine the scoring method to be used consistently, and bring score cards to every meeting.
  • After scoring of wine, discuss the wine with a focus on various comments. This should be a fun, light-hearted debate, based on each individual’s opinion of the various wines served.

Everyone in a wine tasting club will probably end up needing a wine fridge or wine cabinet and wanting their own wine cellar. Rosehill Wine Cellars would love to build the cellars that store the wine for your wine tasting club. Contact us today for the wine storage of your dreams.