How To Host A Wine Party…Rule #1: Don’t Forget To Invite ME!

Dear World,

This coming weekend I am playing co-hostess to a wine party at a mountain bungalow with some close wine industry friends and some new faces. This morning I started thinking about planning the party…and how a week from now I will be lying in bed cursing myself for polishing off the magnum of Champagne and continuing to drink. Not that instinctively knowing I will be feeling like death will deter me from putting on my pAArty hat!

In the spirit of throwing a party, I decided to write a blog about how to pull one off and look like a rock star! That way I get to plan the party and help y’all out at the same time. That may leave me enough time to shower and pick out an outfit for the soiree!

Brainstorm who to invite. Definitely invite your best friends, but also invite a few people you only know as acquaintances and maybe even invite one or two ‘gag invites’ to stir up the crowd (people whom you know well and who will definitely get drunker and funner than you will).

Invitations. For this party, we chose to informally invite people via e-mail. I prefer to send out hand written – not fill in the blank – invitations. They are much more personal and AWESOME and classy. Don’t have time? Hmmmm…the average person is on Facebook for 63 minutes per day. Quit Facebooking for a week and get out your finest fountain pen!

Come up with a theme. In this case it will be wine tasting/industry gossip night.

Decorate. This will be a minimalist party so I’m putting more thought into food and wine than into decorations. I am going to arrange the center counter with a plethora of wine glasses in an artful way. And, being a WINO I also have about 1,000,000 corks so I’m sure I can find a vase or two to fill with corks to get into the spirit. I also have a recipe for Roquefort covered grapes which will look grape-y. The wines themselves will be the centerpiece and main focus for the evening. My co-host plans to open a magnum of vintage Champagne and we are encouraging other guests to bring magnums to share with everyone.

Attire. We are all used to dressing up, so casual glam is what I’m going for. Something comfortable but adding one “I showered and look good because I AM going to a party” sort of accessory.

Activities. Wine drinking and grazing on food shall be our activities of choice. I may see if we can set up a horseshoe game or a French Boules court in the yard.

Drinks. Wine, with a  focus on large format/magnums and anything special and definitely drinkable! Remember that guest list you brainstormed earlier? Make sure there are a few on the list whose cellars you KNOW are full of treasure!

Food. In a day or so I plan to send out an email to all who have RSVP’d YES to bring something. Do NOT ask your friend whose fridge is full of beer and mineral water to bring a main course. You know your friends, so act and use them accordingly. Also remember, you do not want to miss the party because you are cooking; 99% of the food can be prepared the day before.

You will need:

Non-Alcoholic Beverages.

Sparkling water, soda, mixers. Don’t forget mixers for Bloody Mary and Mimosa hangover cures in the am.


Gazpacho: I can make it in 5 minutes and serve chilled in a mini beer cup.

Cheese: Don’t just tell guests to bring cheese…give them a choice of 2 or 3. If each guest brings some cheese you may save hundreds of dollars. Good cheese is spendy.

Loaves of fresh bread: Cut a bunch of slices and let people graze on the cheeses and meats and sip wine.


Roquefort Grapes.

Cured meats.


Deviled Eggs: I like making them and have a cute plate to put them on so I’ll whip up a bunch before the party.

Italian Pasta Salad: My Italian friend, Jenn, makes a fantastic one and she better come!

NO Macaroni or Potato salad from a container: If someone brings it, hide it in the back of the fridge or put it into a nice looking bowl and throw away the container.

I’m also not keen on chips and dips. They are messy and unless someone is bringing fresh guacamole…dips can be pretty boring.

Make sure to have small plates and napkins and lots of knives for cheeses and tooth pick sticks to pick everything up gracefully. Don’t put out everything at once, if you stagger when you put out the food it will segue into dinner and much of what was prepared for appetizers can be used as filler for dinner.

Main Courses.

Szechuan Noodles: I can easily make this using Ina Garten’s recipe and add some grilled chicken or beef strips to bulk it up.

King Salmon: I have a King Salmon to use thanks to John and Scott Hillstrand from Time Bandit. They gave me one for the party. YAY for fisherman friends with fresh fish and large freezers!





Fresh Fruit.

Keep in mind your guests are either preparing to leave, or in our case, preparing to pass out in the mountain air so don’t go overboard unless you are a dessert fanatic.


Hangover Brunch Fare.

Blueberry muffins: easy to whip up a day prior to the party.

Bacon and sausage.

Huge omelette: for sharing.

Mimosas: Do not use your finest vintage Champagne, go for an inexpensive sparkling wine or a Cava.

Bloody Mary’s: Use some good Vodka and as many veggies as possible.

Plenty of Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

Your Charge as Host or Hostess.

Greet all your guests as they arrive and be sure to introduce them to anyone they may not know. Get them something to drink and guide them towards the appetizers. Do NOT let your guests get drunk and drive. Either invite them to stay the night or have a taxi service available for them after the party.

Do not slave away cooking all evening. Be prepared!

Do not get wasted. Be sure to sip and mingle but it is your party, stay fresh!

Now that you have the essential party planning list…go ahead, be adventurous. And have some fun!

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~ by winnieswineworld on August 8, 2010.

3 Responses to “How To Host A Wine Party…Rule #1: Don’t Forget To Invite ME!”

  1. I see that I am going to have to work harder and get myself invited to one of these soiree’s of yours 🙂 I will put these notes to memory for my next wine party! but isnt’ everyday a wine party, well almost? thanks for the help…

    • Kim! Thanks for the kind words. For people as blessed as us, every day is a wine and not usually a WHINE party 😉 Drinking a 2004 Doyenne from DeLille as we speak! Take care. Winnie

  2. enjoying a Rhone Rose, myself. We are lucky to have any day be a wine day 🙂

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