A great way to learn about wine is to host a wine tasting party and what better way to do so but in the comfort of your own home. All you need is good wine, great company and an open mind. From the perfect theme to what food you should serve, these six tips will help ensure your tasting is a success. So grab a few bottles, invite some friends over and get to sipping!

1. Pre-Prep

Before your guests arrive decant any bold red wines that need air. You should also decide on what kind of aperitif you’re going to serve, a.k.a. the party starter wine. Make sure you have enough glassware to accommodate each guest and spit buckets for those who prefer not to get tipsy. It’s also a good idea to double up on bottles. A party with no wine is a dull one. So, don’t run out!

2. Choose a Theme

It could be a specific wine variety from different regions, a medley of dry white wines or rich bold reds, but each wine should connect in some way. Limit your selection to six different wines; you don’t want to overwhelm your guests (or their palate). It’s okay to mix reds and whites, but make sure you serve them in order from lightest to darkest.

3. Keep the Party Light

The best wine tastings are usually small and intimate. It’s a lot easier to pour to a smaller crowd and it’s much easier to actually engage in conversation with each other.

4. Set the Scene

Avoid scented décor that might interfere with the wines’ aromas and use a white table cloth; it’ll help show the color of each wine more clearly. If you’re feeling creative, customize your coasters to fit the theme. And don’t forget the music!

5. Prepare Snacks

You’ll also need a little something something to nibble on, so choose appetizers that are easy and won’t confuse the palate like crackers, cheese, fruit, bread and cured meats. Need more ideas? No worries, check out these essential wine pairings that will change your life!

6. Show Your Guests How to Taste

You got the hosting down, now it’s time to be the teacher! Demonstrate how to properly see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor. Bottom of Form

Give each guest a chance to take notes and share their thoughts with the group. Then, do it all again!