This time of year, we get invited to many wine tasting events as the weather is breaking, sales of white wines, roses, and sparkling wines increase, and many young wines (whites especially) have been bottled, imported, and are ready to be consumed and enjoyed. We get invited to wine events that are sponsored by countries, wine making regions (both domestic and international), distributors, and wine associations. It all can be overwhelming.
Based on a wonderful experience we enjoyed today hosted by Cream Wines of Chicago and one of our favorite distributors for Green Grocer Chicago, I submit the answers to the question at the top of this page: What makes for a good wine tasting event?
> Keep it small and don't invite everyone in town. A wine tasting should be an enjoyable experience and if you're elbowing people to find a place at a tasting table it detracts from the experience.
> Host the event in a pleasing venue that is attractive and offers the opportunity to serve good food. The total experience is important to the enjoyment of the wines so make your tasting venue special.
> Offer a variety of wines but focus on a style, a country, or unusual grapes that are unfamiliar. Offer wines to make the tasting and event, but not too many that makes guests forget what they tried. The experience should offer an education for even experienced wine drinkers and there are many regions and varietals that are unfamiliar to American wine buyers.
> Have knowledgeable staff who are pouring and roaming the floor to assist guests in helping them find what may work for their establishment. This saves time, makes guests feel special, and insures that guests do not drink too much before trying what may appeal to them.
I would like to offer a very hearty "thank you" to our hosts at Cream Wines for a fun morning trying German, Spanish and Austrian wines. Your event met all my criteria for a successful tasting and we enjoyed taking the time to attend!