How to Determine the Right Amount for Your Party and Consider Wine Pairing.
Ensuring that there is beautiful food and tempting non-alcoholic options available is my first port of call. Once I have that sorted, the next step is choosing the right varietals and amount of wine per head.
Whether you're planning informal home drinks, a dinner soirée, an afternoon barbecue, or an elegant cocktail function, here are a few tips to help you make the right wine choices for every occasion.
The home drinks parties, where guests mingle and chat over light bites, it's best to have approximately one bottle of wine per person. Opt for versatile options like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir that can complement a variety of flavours.
Here's my pick for a drinks party based on what everyone has been buying:
Hosting a dinner party, aim for 1/2 a bottle of wine per person during the meal. This is a good opportunity to enjoy the best wines in your cellar as a sit-down meal with friends gives everyone a bit more time to consider flavours.
Simple tips for Food and Wine Pairing: Consider the type of cuisine you'll be serving and match the wine accordingly. For seafood or poultry dishes, a crisp Chardonnay or a fruity Rosé would be ideal. For red meat or hearty dishes, go for a rich Cabernet Sauvignon or a velvety Merlot. An old-fashioned rule for food and wine pairing that can be helpful depending on your wine knowledge is to consider the wine's region. This means pairing types of food and flavours of the same land together. If it is a coastal vineyard think seafood, if it is wine from an inland mountainous winery consider pasture-raised meats.
Family-style home dinners with friends often evolve from friends dropping in on a Sunday, and rolling into a full sit-down meal with wine. About 1/2 a bottle per head is still suitable here too but the mood is more informal, possibly raucous...
Preparing for an afternoon barbecue, where the focus is on catching up and grilled delights, plan for around one bottle per two to three guests. Hot afternoons call for ample chilled sparkling waters and iced soft drinks served alongside wine options. A well-chilled Prosecco will be highly sought after on arrival. Follow with refreshing white wines, Riesling or Pinot Gris work well with grilled seafood or chicken. If you're serving red meat straight off the grill, opt for a robust Malbec or Syrah.
For tasteful evening cocktail functions, where guests move about and indulge in standing bites, allow for half to three-quarters of a bottle of wine per person as well as a quarter bottle of sparkling wine per person for toasts. Offer an assortment of wines such as sparkling Prosecco, crisp Chardonnay, and elegant Pinot Noir to cater to different palates and starters. Guests will change wines, and leave glasses dotted about. If hiring glassware it is best to book 3 wine glasses per guest. Include water jugs and glasses for drinks stations and food tables so it's easy for guests to spot water when they need it.
When hosting large celebrations with seated dining, calculate approximately one bottle per person. Choose quality wines that pair well with the menu choices. Delight your guests with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti for red meat, a buttery Chardonnay for poultry or fish, or a delicate Sauvignon Blanc for vegetarian options.
Keep exploring the great options at thewinelist.co.nz to discover the perfect bottles for your next gathering.
Great wine brings people together, call me if you need me. Laura