Host A Blending Party
In the wine industry, winemakers are the rock stars. But there's
a way you and your friends can join the band - have a blending
party! It's fun, and definitely brings out your creative juices
(pardon the pun). Plus, it's not that hard to put together.
You'll need to gather up or purchase a few supplies, get things
organized in advance of your guests' arrival, and once everyone
shows up, just join in the merriment.
You can purchase wine blending kits online that have everything
you need (check out the latest offerings by typing in "wine
blending kits" on your favorite search engine), or you can rummage
through your own kitchen and improvise.
You'll need the following:
- Wine! Choose several different varietals. They don't have to be
from the same producer, but try to find wines that have 90% to 100%
of the varietal specified on the label (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon,
- Thiefs! Very few of us have access to the elegant glass
instruments that winemakers use to "thief" wine from a barrel, but
poultry basters or plastic straws can serve the same purpose. One
per person - or one per varietal.
- Beakers! Glass beakers or measuring cups are best (it's easier
to read the measurements), but plastic ones will do in a pinch. One
per person or one per varietal.
- Glasses! As many as you can find. You will need at least one
for each varietal and for each amateur winemaker, plus a couple
extra for those who want to concoct a couple of blends.
- Placemats! Vinyl or plastic are preferred. Blending can get
messy and you need to be able to sponge up your dribbles.
- Index Cards and Pencils! At least one card and pencil for each
guest, plus one card to identify each varietal.
- Dump Buckets! Necessary for "responsible" tasting.
- Bottles! Several empty bottles for the final blends. Be sure to
run them through the dishwasher first!
To set up the party, organize a blending station for each guest
or team of guests.
This includes a placemat, wineglass(es), measuring cup, wine thief
and an index card and pencil.
Pour each wine varietal into a beverage glass - we recommend a
standard glass that doesn't have a stem. Guests will be thiefing
from the glass and wineglasses won't be as steady as a regular
flat-bottomed glass. Print the name of each varietal on an index
card and place the correct glass on each card.
Guests will thief wine into a measuring cup, keeping track of
the amount of each varietal that they are adding to their own
special blend. This is their "recipe." Once everyone has created
their final blend, have each person take their recipe and make an
identical blend for the group to taste using the sanitized
Swirl, sniff and sip - vote on the top three and give the
winners a bottle of Meritage to honor their winemaking talents. If
you're lucky, they'll open them up and share!