you next 'competitive' wine get-together planned

A few years ago, I was a guest at an unbelievably cool penthouse apartment downtown (for real--Harvey Spector's apartment in Suits) for a wine tasting. I was nervous that I'd be underdressed or clueless about the wine that would be served yet, upon arriving, I was quickly put at ease to see that things were going to get a little cut-throat. I was all in!

I was greeted at the door by my family friend (the host) with hugs, a notepad, a writing utensil, wine tasting notes (red and white) and a gridded wine worksheet. This was legit I thought. I was told I could saddle up to one of the four wine stations--now I was intimidated! Around the room there were four stations strategically placed to maximize mingling. Two of these stations had white wine at them and two had red wine. Both white wine stations had the same four white wines--covered so we couldn't see which was which--being served (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling and pinot grigio) and both red stations had the same four red wines (shiraz, malbec, pinot noir and a cabernet sauvignon). The goal of the evening was to taste all the wines (red and then white or vise-versa) and determine which ones were which. You could compete in either white or red or both categories. Of course, I dove in and started sampling both. Over the course of the night I met people from the finance world, the non-profit sector, the Arts...basically any professional field in the City yet, 'profession' or 'what we do' wasn't at the heart of our conversations which was refreshing. We talked wine--was it oaked? what was oaked? do you taste cherries? are you into wine? would you like a glass? how did you like that one? which was your favorite? 

In short, I spent the night sampling wines and locking in my wine choices on a  gridded wine sheet while chatting with new friends and eating fantastic appetizers. Mid-way through the night I handed in my 'test' sheet and re-grouped with those who I had made connections with over wine. It was great. I came in second LAST but, it was great! 

I had such a fantastic night sampling wines that I wanted to re-create it in my own style. I challenge you to do the same!. With this party format in hand, I've now hosted two of my own wine tasting. I've skinny'd down the field to either a white wine tasting evening or a red. Of course, I added prizes because that's how I roll. I gave out my fav up-cycled beer and wine glasses from Distill Gallery and some other fun tchohchke. 

Why not give a wine tasting a try and see what you think?! We tried this out with a few work colleagues, neighborhood friends and new friends from our girls' Day Care and it was a nice mix. All three groups, who didn't really know each other, really had fun together without all the up-front awkwardness. It was a fun night and we're definitely going to do it again this summer with whites! 

If you're looking for something to mix things up, an excuse to get your friends together, have an impending night of mixed company...then this party format is right up your alley! Try it with wines, with beers or even scotch vs. rye vs. whisky and of course, let me know how it all turns out...and if you win ;) 


  • Four different varieties of wine,
  • Wine gift bags from a local dollar store to wrap bottles (see if you can get 4 colors?),
  • Labels - make some fun # stickers to put on each bottle to tell them apart from one another (consider colors and you can eliminate this step!),
  • Prizes,
  • Great food and a great invite list!