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Hosting a Sommelier Gathering? Here’s Everything You Need

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Carolyn Mitchell is a freelance writer and content strategist with a passion for home décor. She can often be found re-painting and updating the furnishings in her home, and she is also a dedicated cat mom to two adorable kitties.

Are you getting ready for an upcoming sommelier gathering? We’re here to help you figure out exactly what you’re going to need for the event. In order to earn your rightful title of oenophile, or a connoisseur of wine, you’re going to have to put your entertainer face on and act the part! 

Whether you’re inviting friends or business colleagues, curating a wine tasting event with a group of like-minded wine enthusiasts takes preparation and knowledge. It’s a tasting journey that you and your fellow sommeliers will get to embark on together, so it’s important that you set everything up for success. 

Show your guests that you know what you’re doing as you make the most of this type of event. It all starts with understanding the 6 things to bring with you to a sommelier gathering! 

6 Things To Bring With You To a Sommelier Gathering 

Try not to stress too much. Instead, pour your energy into focusing on your sommelier gathering and ensuring that everything happens without a hitch. Our checklist of these 6 must-have items can help! 

1. Wine

Close up of a hand pouring wine from a decanter into two wine glasses

This one is a given, but make sure you bring the best wines so that you can really impress your guests. Your wine selection is everything. Whether you’re tasting wines from one winery or you are enjoying a medley of your favorites, quality is everything. 

Do your research before you decide which wines will be on the menu. If you need a creative spark, consider tasting a series of bottles that all fit within the same theme, like women-owned wineries or strictly French blends. 

Check in with your local wine shop expert for some intel on their newest arrivals. You could also have every sommelier who will be in attendance commit to bringing a bottle to the event. If you go this route, make sure you keep track of who plans to bring what. Once five to seven people offer to bring one bottle each, you’re a huge step closer to hosting a memorable tasting soirée. 

If only you could go to an established vineyard any time of year to enjoy a proper wine tasting. When you can’t go to the winery, bring the vineyard to you. If you’re looking for a tailored experience, the United States has many wine tasting options for the modern-day sommelier. 

Take advantage of these easy ways to effortlessly plan your gathering. Most wineries offer virtual events or tasting selections you can enjoy from the comfort of anywhere. You can even take your event outdoors with a convenient wine carrying case.

2. Ice Bucket 

Keep your bottles chilled until tasting time. An ice bucket is a convenient necessity, acting as a functional display for all your tasting wines. Which wines should be chilled? This is where people tend to make mistakes. 

Honestly, it varies, so here is a breakdown of the best wine temperatures. You want to ensure the best tastes for your guests and also provide great information to pass along. A sommelier event should be both exciting and informational for everyone attending. 

Think back to the first time you discovered your love for wine and pay it forward! Be sure that everyone leaves having learned and experienced something new.

Related: 41 Great Gifts For Wine Lovers [2022 Edition]

3. Decanter

Admire the beautiful shades of red and white wine as it aerates right before your eyes. A minimalist decanter is both functional and beautiful. Give into your sophisticated wine bar day dream with a decanter worthy of being on display. 

Check out this list of elegant and affordable wine decanter options you can easily find on Amazon. There are plenty of iconic shapes and designs to choose from, and you can let your option be a way to show your personality through beautiful glassware. 

True sommeliers know this is non-negotiable. The goal of decanting your wine is to separate the delicious, full-bodied liquid from the sediment particles that have formed at the bottom of the bottle. Tasting sediment takes away from the flavors found within the wine. 

Learning how to decant wine can also be the saving grace during an accidental situation like a broken cork. Once the wine is properly decanted, you’ll get a better taste of all the aromatic flavor notes that had been bottled up.

Just remember that sparkling wines do not need to be decanted. You don’t want to lose any of those crispy bubbles!

Related: 15 Best Wine Decanters on Amazon [Functional and Fancy]

4. Glassware

A clean sparkling wine glass makes all the difference. You have the wines and the decanter, so now it’s time to make sure you have the proper wine glasses. It’s key that each guest receives a clean glass for each new wine served. 

Aside from a palate cleanser, a clean glass ensures that each wine gets its time to shine. You don’t want particles of a previous course’s wine to interfere while your taste buds get to work. There’s a science to how wine glasses are shaped, but on a budget, your priority is making sure each glass is cleansed to prevent cross contamination. 

You can rent enough glassware to eliminate loads of dishes in between courses, or save money by bringing out food bites while you clean your wine glasses. This is the perfect time to talk about food…  

5. Snacks

Snack trays on a table at a sommelier gathering

What’s wine tasting without delicious, complimentary snacks? No matter your budget, there are options for keeping your guests satiated. Sommeliers know the importance of something to nibble on as they make their way through wine courses. 

Don’t know where to start? There are easy-to-follow guides on how to build a charcuterie board with lots of room for flair or other specialty items. The beautiful thing about charcuterie is that it is an extremely customizable way to treat your guests to delicious meat, cheeses, and other bites. 

If you’re feeling up for a challenge, on the other hand, you could always create a coursed menu for your guests. This is more time consuming, but it will also give you a chance to practice your pairing skills. Find ways to create harmony between the snacks and each wine bottle. 

Balance robust wines with fatty food. Make sure the acidity of your food is matched in ways that will pair well with that of your wine. A proper food pairing is another surefire way to show the sommeliers at your event that your hosting skills go beyond expectations.  

6. Decor

Spruce up your space with memorable home decor. Create an aesthetic that leaves your guests asking, “Same time next week?” Your decor is everything, and a sommelier gathering should exude sophistication. 

Take your event to the next level with meaningful decor that creates a warm and inviting ambiance. Instead of running up the bill at your local party supplies store, try these home decor items under $25 that are totally unique. 

Themed sommelier gatherings are another great way to earn yourself a Host of the Year award. Just remember not to let the decor planning steal the show and take away from the delicious wines. 

What’s Next? 

Tablescape at a sommelier gathering with tomato-mozzarella skewers and an ice bucket of wines

Once you have the essentials sorted out, planning the rest of your sommelier gathering can become a fun puzzle for you to put together. Don’t forget that sequence is everything. Introduce your palate to more robust flavor notes over time. 

After you start the event, there’s no going back. So, will you begin the evening with your favorite wines or will you save the best for last? 

These are important decisions that will always be fun to think about for sommeliers. At the end of the day, no matter how you plan things, it is always the thought that counts. 

Your guests will be impressed by the amount of effort you have put into ensuring they have an excellent time. Learn how to host an unforgettable sommelier event and you will earn your place as a true oenophile!

You might also be interested in: The 37 Best Wine Delivery Services [Sip, Sip Hooray!] 

6 Things To Bring With You To a Sommelier Gathering:

  1. Wine 
  2. Ice Bucket
  3. Decanter 
  4. Glassware 
  5. Snacks 
  6. Decor 

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