The holidays are a time to gather with friends, family and colleagues. Big or small, preparing a flawless experience can be slightly overwhelming and requires a bit of savoir-faire.
Planning a successful and memorable gathering requires a few key ingredients to ensure it goes off without a hitch. We’ve provided some wine-hosting tips below so even the most novice entertainer can be a wine-hosting pro in no time. Below we bring together all the elements needed for the perfect holiday wine event that your guests will be talking about for years to come.
Pick a Theme
A theme will inspire your wine list, menu, decor, music and even the style of your invitations. A sample theme can be inspired by what type or style of wine you’d like to serve – or even learn more about. Brainstorming a region, a style, a type of grape or a wine from the cellar you’re eager to open is a great way to start. You can also pick a vintage (i.e., 2017, 2019), and serve wines only from a particular vintage. You can even challenge your guests to participate in your theme by dressing the part or bringing a bottle of wine that works with the theme at hand.
Start with Bubbly and Aperitif wines
Have a great bottle that resonates with the theme ready to serve and share when your guests arrive. It’s a great welcome and also gives everyone a chance to have a few sips as you guide them through your event structure for the evening. Whites and bubbles should be chilled for service either on ice or in the fridge. Full-bodied reds can be opened and decanted at a designated wine bar. Pour small amounts (approximately 3-4 ounces) per guest to encourage tasting rather than large nine-ounce pours. Not only is this responsible service, but it also gives your guests the chance to try various wines that are open and get educated on the wines you’ve thoughtfully chosen for the get-together. As the host, you may also want to open the event with a ‘cheers’ and educate your guests about the theme you chose, the wines on hand and what to expect for the evening.
Feature Wine from Sustainable Vineyards
If you’re looking to make a great impression and serve exceptional Canadian wine, we recommend serving a selection of Quails’ Gate wines. Our winemaking team believes in low-intervention winemaking and craft award-winning wines that allow the fruit to speak for itself. From Chardonnay to Pinot Noir to Old Vines Foch, Quails’ Gate has wine to suit your theme and guest list. You can even have them delivered to your home for an easy solution Find the perfect wine here.
Impress with Great Glassware
Choosing versatile glasses that can be used for both red and white wines can make hosting much easier – especially if they can be put in the dishwasher. Don’t worry about matching glassware for everyone, it adds a more playful feel to the event and helps your guests find their glass among the other guests in attendance. When it comes to decanters, your full-bodied reds should be decanted with the bottle beside the decanter. Each decanter should be polished to a sparkling shine. When hosting, think about what you would want to see if dining somewhere special and do exactly that.
Have Fun with Food Pairings
When pairing food and wine, always match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. If you are serving Shiraz, Zinfandel or Malbec as your grape variety (or a region that makes these varieties), choose food pairings that work with juicy red wines, such as beef sliders or chocolate. If you’ve picked Pinot Noir, Gamay or Merlot, choose medium-bodied fare such as duck and pork. If you’ve chosen Riesling, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, these crisp whites go well with seafood, cheese and chicken. To achieve the perfect pairing, look to align local wines and local flavours, such as Italian wines with Italian food. Maybe even have someone shucking fresh oysters if you’re serving sparkling wine, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
Be Playful with a Game or Two
Games can be a great way to break the ice especially if your guests don’t already know each other. Incorporating a fun game like “grapes” helps get people involved in learning more about the wine in their glass together, while also sharing a few laughs.
Get Groovy with a Great Playlist
Music is an excellent way to set the mood for your holiday gathering. Create a playlist that goes along with your wine theme to encourage a great holiday celebration vibe. Building a Spotify playlist and sharing it with your guests afterward helps the party live on even after the night has ended.
Visit us in-store or online today to stock up for your upcoming holiday gatherings.
Words by Angela Aiello.
A selection of new and established favourites to enjoy now or cellar for the perfect occasion.
SHOP OUR HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Whether you are sending gifts to loved ones or preparing your cellar for holiday cheer, find everything you’re looking for in our newly released Holiday Gift Guide.