Vine Talk: How to host a wine contest in your own home

Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:54pm EDT
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(Felix Salmon is U.S.-based financial journalist and a Reuters blogger here. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Felix Salmon

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Every so often, I host a wine contest at my home, and I'd encourage you to do the same: it's easy, it's pretty cheap for the host, and it's loads of fun.

The rules are pretty simple. You invite a group of people -- no more than a dozen in total. Each guest/contestant brings two identical bottles of wine.

One of the bottles gets placed in a box in the corner, while the other one is opened and somehow disguised: I normally remove the lead cap at the top, and wrap a couple of pieces of letter paper around the body. There's no point in taking things too seriously.

Each bottle is then labeled with a random letter, and each guest gets a wine glass and a scoring sheet.

The guests then taste each wine in whatever order they want, and give it a mark out of 20.

They can go back and taste a second or third time if they like, and they can write down tasting notes if they're so inclined; it's just important for the pours to be modest so that everybody gets a good taste before the bottle runs out. (If you're feeling ambitious you can buy some one-ounce pourers from a bar supply store; they also help to make it less obvious which wines have screw tops.)

Eventually, everybody has tasted every wine, and the scores for each one are added up.   Continued...