If you and your friends love wine, why not start your own wine tasting club? It's known that a little bit of knowledge is the key to making discerning decisions and this applies to buying and ordering wine. Whether you are starting out, wanting to collect wines, or simply want something different every time you order a wine, regular tasting will improve your ability to make an informed choice.
Tasting the wines "blind" with the bottle covered is the fun bit, so nobody knows what the wine is. This does not mean you are making guests feel inferior because they don't recognise the wine, it's just a chance to put their senses up against the wine and see how close they come to a half-decent guess.
To keep expenses to a minimum, ask everyone to bring their own bottle and set a limit on price. Each person can get a chance to host the tasting so costs are shared. If you do choose very expensive wines, perhaps consider pooling costs and one person buys the wines.
Choose a room with seating, preferably around a table with space for glasses and tasting sheets. Try not to have any smells permeating the room. Ask guests not to wear fragrances of any kind.
Everyone can bring a bottle in a paper bag that costs $X and from one particular region. For example, South Australia. White or sparkling wines go into a fridge or on ice and place the reds in order from light-bodied to bold and big or sweet. As you progress you could start to branch out into international wines. Pour only 50-70 ml in each glass - you can finish the wines off afterwards.
Pour the wines (ask each person to pour their own wine and perhaps give a few hints as to why they chose it) and once everyone has tasted, ask everyone to hazard a guess as to the wine, or let them write their own tasting notes to take home. This prevents anyone feeling insecure about not getting the wine right.
The "owner" of the wine can then do a big reveal and surprise the room. Remember, some of the world's greatest judges and winemakers often get this bit wrong - so don't be daunted.
What you will need
Wine, water and decent wine tasting glasses, a corkscrew and an ice bucket to use as a spittoon. You don't have to spit out every sip of wine but it helps to stay focussed on the next wine and on the road for those who are driving.
You will need a different glass for each wine. Place the glasses on a white sheet (you can download some great wine tasting sheets) in a line and pour them one by one. Then look, sniff, taste and (spit) if necessary. The colour and aroma can tell you a lot about a wine. Put out pens and paper or hop onto your phones and make notes or visit a few wine judging sites such as Vivino at the end of the event to see how your wine fared.
Food for thought
Don't go overboard with food until after the tasting. Provide crackers or bread and water to get the optimum use out of your palate. Even cheese can coat your tongue and mouth and alter the taste of wines. Afterwards you can lay on a sumptuous feast, order takeaway pizzas or just put out some cheese and crackers. Finish off the last of the wines and see which match the food the best.