Holiday Cheer Hits SF State
November 28, 2004 8:05 PM
‘Tis the season for SF State partygoers and planners to begin filling in their
The balance between making a good impression on friends, while making the
With a plethora of party themes available to choose from, a host may choose to
“I don’t drink wine because I don’t know how to pick them out,” said Ariel
There are a few simple rules that will benefit anyone thinking of hosting such a get-together.
First, make sure that your guests know that the only alcohol at this party is wine. This will give your beer guzzling friends fair warning to R.S.V.P. with a “thanks, but no thanks” if they are not interested in trying something new. In turn, it will keep you from having an unsatisfied guest at your holiday party, and from wasting good wine.
Second, decide on a theme for your party. Choosing amoungst the limitless varieties of wines from around the world can be daunting. Make it easy on yourself by picking a few different wines from the same vineyard and same year. For example, you can have five different red wines from Ridge Vineyards 2002. Or pick two different vineyards; three different red wines from Napa Valley and three different red wines from Sonoma County. You can even serve two white and two red wines from California and two white and two red wines from Bordeaux.
Third, you can decide on providing all of the wine, or have each guest bring a
Fourth, be sure to provide snacks. Nuts, various regional cheeses, crackers and fruit (grapes and sliced apples) are easy to prepare and go well with any wine.
Lastly, note cards describing the vineyard and characteristics of the wine will
“It takes training to develop a pallet for wine,” said Fran Lightly, winemaker and
Lightly said that throwing a wine tasting party is the perfect alternative to the
“A wine tasting party is a great way to wean an inexperienced wine drinker off
Sandra Menendez, a junior majoring in psychology, said that she prefers mixed alcoholic beverages to wine because she does not like the bitter taste of most wines.
“I’ve tried wine a few times,” said Menendez as she scrunched up her face in disapproval. “But if there are fruitier ones out there, I guess a wine tasting party is a good way to try ‘em out.”
Wine experts suggest that it is important that guests of wine tasting parties
“There is no right or wrong way to taste wine,” said Lightly. “And we don’t tell
For the inexperienced wine crowds, Lightly said, the host should choose more white wines than reds because reds are more tart and dry due to tannins – a natural chemical in the skin of red grapes that cause the wine to taste dryer. After pouring one ounce of each wine the host should inform the guests of the characteristics present in the wine. Do this for each bottle. He says that this will take approximately 30 minutes, after which, the guests should mingle and be allowed to further experience the wines on their own.
“I don’t like wine…at all,” said Petra Lopper, a junior majoring in political science. “It would definitely be good if one of my friends had one of those party’s to mention ahead of time that wine was the only alcohol being served. I’d probably still go, but at least I wouldn’t show up disappointed that I couldn’t get an apple martini or cosmo.”
Viviian Browne, leasing consultant at an upscale apartment building in San Francisco, said that she hosts a weekly wine tasting party for her residents as a way for them to get to know each other.
“It’s the most casual and easy going, yet elegant way to get everyone together,” said Browne, as she opens five bottles of cabernets from Napa Valley. “At each table I have two bottles of the same wine with a little note card that gives a brief history of the vineyard and the characteristics of the wine. The tenants love it because a lot of them are business travelers or from other states and this is a good way to introduce them to California wines.”
Browne said that at least 50 tenants with varying degrees of wine experience
“We wouldn’t have them if they weren’t popular,” said Browne, as she organizes
There is checklist of party supplies needed for your wine tasting shindig.
First, Be sure to have several bottles of water on hand so that your guests can swish their mouths clear before the next taste of wine. Water is also helpful if you only have one glass per person-- as opposed to a new glass for each guest to use for each different wine they will taste that evening.
It is also a good idea to have a few buckets on hand so your guests can rinse
12-ounce wine glasses are the standard used for wine tasting, however, there are no official shapes, capacities, sizes or color of wine glasses.
And finally, blank note cards and pencils for your guests to write down the wines they prefer will help them remember their favorites the next time they serve wine or go to a wine tasting party.
Catherine Ross, a dance instructor from Oakland said she plans a wine
“I do this every year,” said Ross, as she shops for several bottles of deep purple
Ross said that she and her friends go holiday gift shopping the day after
“It’s a ritual,” said Ross. “It is so much more fun to drink wine at home than
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