How To Choose Wine For A Party Host

Throwing a party and don’t know what wine to choose? This guide will help make the process simple and stress-free.

The gift you bring to your host’s home reflects upon you as much as your clothes, grooming or social graces. Wine can be one of those gifts that are brought almost as a clich or afterthought. But even that is more gracious than to come to a host’s home empty handed. But, there are so many wines out there, how in the world do you choose one?

Well, the simple starting point is “know thyself” and “know thy friend”. It can really settle matters if you know your host’s tastes in wine and their level of wine knowledge. You should know how much you are comfortable spending and what kind of statement you would like to make with your gift. But the good news is that the science and craft of winemaking is so advanced, that, in the $20 price range, it is almost impossible to get a “bad” bottle of wine. Unless the bottle itself is corked or tainted, the worst you can say about it, is that it was over-priced. So you can really just relax and be confident that your gift of wine will be perfectly enjoyable.

If your hosts are casual, not particularly knowledgeable wine drinkers, the safest choices are Chardonnay for a white and Merlot for red. These two varitals are by far the best-selling and most popular choices throughout the world. People know these wines and are comfortable drinking them.

But no matter how little your hosts know about wine, if you are renowned as a connoisseur, they will expect something interesting from you. There is so much good wine out there that this is not even very hard to do, with the help of a reasonably competent salesperson at a fine wine shop. No one can know everything; there are over 7000 chateaus in Bordeaux alone.

But if you would like to make a bit of a splash and not spend too much money, the wines of Spain and Italy can provide some tremendous value.

Walk past the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio and try a crisp, refreshing Orvietto or a delicate, floral Vernazzia. Good examples of these wonderful summer wines can be regularly found for under$15 and as low as $8. Beside the hearty (in taste and price tag) Barolos and Brunellas, you can find some nicely priced, easy drinking Dolcceta “Alba or Montepucciano D’abruzzo. These are light, dry, yet slightly fruity wines that also sell for around $15. Any of these wines will please the novice or sophisticate.

Spain is really for the red wine drinker. Rioja can range from $10 to the sky, but even the less expensive ones provide a lush richness and slightly herbal quality that goes great with any hearty meal. Another red wine that is wonderful is a Monestrel. This rugged red wine is similar to the red wines of Southern France, usually at a fraction of the price. I ask you, who can resist a full-bodied Spanish beauty?

If you are attending a special event or milestone celebration, nothing is more ideal than a bottle of champagne. This includes all types of sparkling wines, from California, Australia, Italy or Spain. Delicious Cava from Spain or Prosecco from Italy can be had for under $15. The Korbel Natural Methode Champagne from California can cost around $10 on sale and it is one of the best budget sparkling wines.

Remember that the wine you bring is a gift and it is totally up to the host whether or not to serve it at the event. Your wine should always be presented attractively and be given only after cordial greetings and introductions.

Like I said, there is so much nice wine out there, that it’s not so difficult to find something delicious and enjoyable. I heard it said once, “Wine is proof that God loves us.” Nice work, Big Guy!