Starting a Wine Tasting Group

041014-Wine

Summer is just around the corner, and with it many new wines from the 2013 vintage and earlier will be released. It’ll break most people’s budget to buy all the wines you might like to taste, so the obvious answer is: Start a wine tasting group.

Ryan Messer, contributor to Washington Wine Report, wrote a blog post with lots of great tips on how to do this. I’m sharing his wisdom with you. First answer these questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. Below are Messer’s tips:
Who: Invite those who might be as passionate about wine or learning as you. It’s probably not wise to invite both a wine novice and a self-proclaimed expert to the same group, but having a diversity of people with different interests and experiences can broaden the learning experience.
What: Set some ground rules as to what you want to taste. Depending on who is involved, you may consider limits on a minimum or maximum price per bottle, how many bottles, etc. This is entirely up to you and what you want to get out of the group. I participated in one where we each brought a bottle of a particular varietal and had a suggested price limit.
When: I’m a big fan of once a month and laying out the entire year in advance. When my current group formed, I was able to put in my calendar every event so that I can plan around those days. I know the date, location, host, etc. And, we also built in off months. December is too busy and July is vacation time, so we scratched both. We also left April open for a group trip and January to include spouses or significant others.
Where: Have each member host in their home or restaurant of their choice. It’s good to move around so no one feels the burden of the entire group on a regular basis.
Why: Pretty simple: To learn about and enjoy wine.
How: There are no global right or wrong ways to set a group up. Some groups can have the same group each month where others can be more fluid with different people coming in and out depending on availability. Some can pick particular themes to explore where others can leave it wide open. It’s up to you and the group.

Need more tips? Visit the blog at wawinereport.com and search for “Six Steps.” Oh, you might just include a bottle of Washington wine in your tastings, too.

Search past columns at winebiznews.blogspot.com, or contact Barbara at barbarakeck.winenewswriter@gmail.com. 

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Barbara Keck
Barbara started writing for newspapers when she was 14 and continues to write, most recently the “Wineries of the Sierra Foothills” book published by Range of Light Media, parent company of The Tahoe Weekly. Barbara wrote the wine column for the Weekly for many years, and contributes occasional tidbits on tourism and entertainment topics. A long marketing consulting career that included extensive international travel led her to conclude that Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Almost 20 years of enjoying the seasons on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe has confirmed her belief.