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Fun ways that you can host a themed wine tasting at home

Written by: Tom Gilbey

Wine tasting is a great way to discover new wines and styles with a group of friends or a group who are yet to become friends but the problem we’re often faced with is that it’s just too stuffy and boring.  In my mind, wine tastings must never be that when there are so many ways you can create a really fun, memorable and relevant experience.  I like to choose themes to add depth and context to my wine tastings which certainly helps me enjoy it more and I’m told by .  So here’s one we did recently …..

The Giro d’Italia themed wine tasting

This is especially for lovers of wine and bike racing as my group was …. and they were in for a treat.  The theme was the 2018 Giro d’Italia, a grueling 21 day stage race, won by Chris Frome, starting in Jerusalem and ending in Rome travelling through some of Italys finest regions for food and wine from the south to the very north - Piemonte.  What could be more perfect?

We mapped out the route and laid out the local wines for each stage of the race and to make for perfect race conditions, we teamed up with Vallebona to provide some amazing cheese, olives, meats and salads to match the wines.  Guests were greeted with a glass of single vineyard Prosecco then the whistle was blown for the start of the race.  Accompanied by a big screen showing the very best moments of the Giro over the years and ‘yours truly’ calling hush from time to time so I could explain what we were tasting this really was an experience.

Creative themed wine tasting ideas

Of course, if bike racing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options – the sky’s the limit when it comes to how creative you can be and here are a few ideas we are working on at Vintner HQ ..

  • Fashion. Create a themed wine tasting that takes you around all the major fashion capitals of the world. Twice a year during “fashion month,” Vogue editor Anna Wintour and the world’s fashionistas drag their Louboutins from New York, to London and then on to Milan and Paris – the perfect route map for trying wines, old world and new. Add in some thoroughly decadent fashion themed (tiny) snacks to complete the experience.
  • The FIFA World Cup. You might struggle to put together a themed wine tasting based purely on Russian wine but the wide range of nations taking part in this summer’s football extravaganza offers plenty of original choices. Base your country selections on upcoming fixtures, for example, or on a list of the winners of the past 5 events – that would take you from Germany to Spain, Italy to Brazil and France. If you want to include an English wine you’ll have to go back a little further…
  • A chocolate extravaganza. Most people are used to thinking of food pairings for wine with cheese or meat, rich tomato sauces or a specific herb. However, sweet combinations can be just as exciting – and who doesn’t love chocolate. Vary the wines you choose as well as the chocolate flavours (such as cherry or sea salt) to open your guests’ minds to the chocolate experience.
  • Choose your favourite country. If there’s one wine making country that has totally captured your heart then that’s the perfect theme for a wine tasting evening. Take your guests on a tour of Italy, for example, from a Lombardy Marzemino sourced from the north, to a Turriga wine from Sardinia. Don’t forget the edibles too (pecorino cheese or cured meats for Turriga or roast pork with Marzemino).

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