THE 5W's of Wine Tasting Planning: The WHEN

The time of day you choose will impact the formality of the tasting, the type of dress, and the type of food served. A lunch or mid-afternoon weekend tasting is a popular time with many. For smaller gatherings, a lunch wine tasting can be fun, dining al fresco on the patio, even if it's just appetizers. Or, for a fun summer twist, have your tasting poolside!

Evening tastings tend to be a bit more formal, with guests dressing at least in business casual. If the tasting is between 7:30 and 10:00, you should have at least a buffet of light fare for guests to snack on, since you wouldn't expect them to eat before hand.

You could also be creative and surprise guests with a Sunday brunch tasting of several champagnes, held between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. On the other extreme, one host sent out invitations handwritten in ink colored to resemble blood, requesting guests to arrive exactly at 11:30 p.m. on Halloween night. The tasting began exactly at midnight, with the host dressed as Count Dracula!

Okay, some ideas are WAY out there.