What and How Much Wine Should I Serve at a Party?

The party season is upon us (really, in my opinion, the party season is ALWAYS upon us!) and I see a lot of people who get totally stressed over what wines they should get when they’re hosting a gathering. Whether it’s for the holidays or for another celebration like a birthday, wedding (or just your typical weekend!), purchasing wine to serve should not be a stressful situation. In this video, I will give you a few easy tips on what and how much to buy to keep everyone at your party happy.

How Much to Buy

You obviously do NOT want to run out of wine at a party! Is there anything worse than that?? Okay, I can think of a few worse things that could happen, but running out of wine is way up on there on the list. A good rule of thumb is to account for half a bottle of wine per guest (assuming there are no other alcoholic beverages being served at the event.) If there are also beer and cocktails, you can lower this amount, but you can generally plan for two alcoholic beverages per guest. So if you’re hosting a party of 100 people, 50 bottles of wine should do it. Easy math, right? Just keep in mind that this is a baseline and that you know your guests better than anyone. If you’re hosting a frat party, for example, you may have to adjust your volume up…a lot! Now, I’ve never heard of a frat party where they just served wine but I’m sure they exist? Somewhere?

What Type Should I Serve?

Okay, on to the next question! Now that you know how much you should buy, you’re probably wondering how many different types you should have, right? Unless money is no object, I say to keep it simple. You are going to have half full bottles at the end of the party that need to be consumed in the next 24 hours and having two or three open bottles is easier to manage than twelve! Otherwise, you’re going to have to throw another party just to finish the wines left over from the first one (which isn’t a half bad idea.) However, for those who don’t want to have another party, stick with two to four choices.

How Do I Choose the Wines?

Now, on to the wines you choose! I usually recommend picking one sparkling, one white, one light red, and one heavier red to cover your bases. My trump card (no pun intended) for amazing wines at a party is…drum roll please…leaning toward fuller-bodied, more aromatic and extracted wines for the win! As I’ve talked about in other videos, our experience with wine is tied to our senses and what we sense is affected by our environment. In a party setting where there are a lot of visual, audio, and kinesthetic distractions and stimulation, our taste and olfactory function is lowered. To put it more simply: we taste and smell less. While this is good if some of your guests forget to put on deodorant (ick), it’s not so good for subtly nuanced wines. Picking heavier wines will help make them stand out. It’s the same reason why foods served in airplanes have 30% more salt and sugar added. With high altitudes, loud engine noises, and lack of humidity in the cabin, we actually taste less. There’s some cool trivia you can use at your next party while you’re drinking great wine!

So, let’s keep it simple and do a quick recap:

  1. Account for about half a bottle of wine per each adult guest.
  2. Have between 2-4 choices, a sparkling, a white, a light red and a heavier red.
  3. Lean on the heavier side for all your choices.

Got it? Now let’s get just a bit more in-depth and look at some wine recommendations that I know will be a hit at your next party!

Sparkling wine recommendation: Champagne! If you are on a budget, the best bang for your buck will be Cava from Spain. This is a sparkling wine done in the traditional Champagne method and you can get a fairly decent one from $10 to $15, only a fraction of the price compared to Champagne from France! Cava also outperforms most sparkling wine in the same price category. I’m still in awe of how they are able to pull this off. Rock on Spanish Cava! Rock on.

White wine recommendation: Most parties I go to will either serve a Chardonnay that’s full of ripe, tropical fruit and vanilla and makes me feel like I’m eating a dessert or they’ll go to the other extreme and serve a Sauvignon Blanc that is lean and sharp with enough acid to take my tooth enamel off! Neither of these is ideal for a party. I suggest you aim for a balanced, middle-of-the road white wine. White Bordeaux is one of my favorites as it’s usually a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. The Semillon grape provides roundness and body to the otherwise citrusy and lean Sauv Blanc and I find it easy-going enough to please most palates yet exotic enough to make your guests ask about it.

Light red recommendation: Pinot Noir is extremely versatile, so it’s my go-to for this category! New Zealand is making killer quality Pinot Noirs nowadays and I would not hesitate to serve one of these at my next party.

Heavier red recommendation: Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic choice, but Australian Shiraz and Zinfandel are also great ways to have a hearty red at a party that provides a bit more variety. They’re also generally easier on the wallet!

So there you go! Everything you need to know about serving wine at your next party. I hope this was helpful to you! If it was, please hit that like button and tell all your wine-loving friends about my channel. Until next time, drink responsibly and enjoyably. Cheers!




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