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

Your tasting event should focus on the wines, of course, but your planning strategy is dictated by how many people you invite, and to some degree, how wine knowledgeable they are.

A winery may be content to crowd a dozen or so people around their tasting room bar and you've probably put up with the crowds huddled around tiny tables in tasting tents, but do you really want to treat your guests that way? Your bar or wine cellar at home may comfortably accomodate a few friends for wine sipping, but what happens when the number grows to 20 or 40?

As you move beyond a dozen or so guests, examine the physical environment to be certain that your layout will assure that everyone can participate in the 'ebb and flow' of a tasting -- that is -- easily access the wine, then smoothly move away to a mingling area. This helps keep the immediate space around the wine free of the crowd.

The wine knowledge of your guests also plays into your planning strategy. A tasting for guests who would enjoy several vintages of Chateau Petrus, would be structured differently from a group whose wine experiences can be summed up with, "Red, White, or Blush?" The former group needs no instruction, whereas the latter may enjoy information cards with "how-to" tips or basic wine terminology to make the event be more enjoyable.