How much wine for a party?

How much wine for a wine partyHow much wine for a party?

By Mark Adams

Mark is a professional winemaker, former winery owner, author and frequent speaker on wine.  He currently teaches wine classes throughout the United States.

Here’s a question I often receive at my wine classes.

I’m having some friends over and would like to know how much wine for a party and what varieties do I serve?  That’s actually a very popular questions.  So here’s a rule of thumb.

Each bottle has about 24 ounces or about 5, 5 ounce glasses, or 6 four ounce or 24, 1 ounce….I’ll stop here, you get the point. If it’s like some families I have met, that might mean a bottle or two per person…

But in reality for the civilized crowd that you are no doubt referring, I would suggest figuring on 2, 5 ounce glasses per person. That’s come down to 1 bottle per 2 people.

Some will drink more, some less. In case you underestimate a little, I would also keep a few bottles in reserve, if you don’t drink them at your party you can drink it another time. You could also use creative packaging and give any remaining bottles to your guests as party favors or prizes.

Since wine tastes are very different, I would suggest keeping the selections of wine simple. You could have 100 different wines and there would always be somebody who would ask for something else.

Here’s the easiest way on what varieties to serve.  Have something familiar like Chardonnay and Merlot for the more traditional people and then something less familiar for the more daring in the group.

The more daring may prefer heavier and spicier wines like Shiraz or Zinfandel.  Wines that people have never had or heard of are usually a big hit, too.  Try something like a Gewurtztraminer or Viognier.  All and all, the best advice is to keep it simple and serve whatever you are most comfortable serving.  Remember it’s a party, not a wine review.

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I would also always assume there will always be guests who are new to wine or don’t care for the more traditional wines.  Their tastes are usually sweeter and lighter.  A light wine like white zinfandel or a flavored wine like strawberry, green apple or raspberry will do the trick.  This way there is something for everyone to drink.

If that doesn’t work offer them a Budweiser!

How much wine for a party isn’t such a tough question is it?

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