Five wine bottle bags labeled A thru E on a cheese box lid tray with wine glasses and a bowl of pita chips on another cheese box lid tray all styled on a vintage turquoise shutter

How to Throw the BEST Blind Wine Tasting Party

Here’s how to throw The BEST blind (or mystery) wine tasting party! It’s easy + FUN for small groups and large groups alike.

If you think wine is fun; and even more fun when tasting multiple wines with old friends or multiple wines while making new friends, then this blog post is for you!
Five wine bottles in lettered bags on a cheese box lid

If you think wine is fun; and even more fun when tasting multiple wines with old friends or multiple wines while making new friends, then this blog post is for you! 

There are those who take wine tasting very seriously and believe it’s all about the wine. They know a Nebbiolo from a Bordeaux — definitely not me. 

But don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a nice glass of wine.  

But sometimes wine isn’t just about the bouquet or the year. It’s also about a good time enjoying friends, making new friends, conversation and lots of laughs; which of course is often directly proportionate to the amount of wine served. Just saying . . . . . 

So if you are a diehard wine connoisseur, stop reading. This post is NOT for you!.

OK, for everyone else…here are the steps to hosting your own wine-tasting party.  

Provided you follow a few guidelines, it can be one of the easiest parties you throw all year.





Sounds great, right?

But, I get it!

You’re busy right now.

And you need to look at your calendar, and maybe check in with a few friends.

So pin this to your Party board

Or to your Friends board,

Or to your Wine Tasting board (if you have one of those),

Or to whatever board makes sense for you, so you have it handy when you’re ready to get started.

Pin with an image of bagged wine bottle on tray above a wine tasting party set up over an image of wine tasting scorecards

Every Good Wine Tasting Party Starts with the Wine


Pick a Common Theme For Your Wines:

A wine tasting theme could be a grape variety  (merlot, sauvignon, pinot noir, etc.) or a wine region (such as New Zealand, Napa Valley, South Africa, etc.). It can be as broad or as narrow in your theme as you want.

Choose from 4 to 6 different wines that fit your theme. 

Theme ideas include 6 different Chardonnays from different countries or just different points in the United States; or 4 different varietals of wine from the same Australian winery; or perhaps 6 different cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley from 2006.

Mix it up, make your own rules, have fun!

No, you do not need to stick with just red wines or just white wines.


How Many Wines For a Wine Tasting?

I’ve heard of tastings with ten or even twelve wines, but these are probably for the experienced wine-oisseurs. 

Most regular Joes and Janes who enjoy wine tend to stick with six different wines as the max. Beyond that, our tastebuds get overwhelmed and it’s really too hard to tell them apart.


How Many Bottles of Each Wine?

A 750 ml bottle is 25 ounces. If you want to serve tastings of two-ounces, you’ll be able to serve 12 people with one bottle. If you want to offer more generous six-ounce servings, like if you were in a restaurant, you’ll serve just four to five people per bottle. 

Maybe somewhere in the middle, a four-ounce serving is right for you. If you are having more than six people, consider buying two bottles of each wine you are tasting. 

Of course, if you are tasting four wines rather than 6, you can offer larger serving sizes. Do your math, and it never hurts to buy extra, right?


Sounds too expensive? I’ve got you covered!!! Check out the great “Alternative” at the end of this post. It spreads the cost around and also makes for a bit of fun competition.

Five bottle of wine hidden in washed linen bags with lettered tags around the necks ready for a blind wine tasting party

Make it a Mystery or Blind Tasting

Bag & Tag ‘Em

Everyone loves a great mystery, right?

A little mystery is just plain fun. It’s certainly true with wine tasting parties.

The wine bottles need to be disguised, so they won’t influence the grading.  A brown paper bag will certainly do the job. But why not elevate your wine offerings, and your party, just a bit? Like these reuseable (because you know this will become a repeat-by-demand gathering) linen wine bottle bags. 

 You can make your own labels to match your style. B-t-w, they also make great vase covers and gift bags.

PRO TIP:  label the bottles using letters since the grading is numerical. After tasting numerous bottles of wine, too many numbers often leads to too much confusion.


Glasses of wine on a treay with a pitcher of water and a large basin and a dish towel for cleaning the glasses between the blind wine tastings

 What Else Besides the Wine?

Glasses – Use clear wine glasses with full bowls for swirling without spillage (we hope).

Don’t worry about having enough wine glasses for each guest to have 4 – 6. I mean, who has that many wine glasses?

Most wine tastings, the glasses are rinsed between tastings. (keep reading)

Water and bowls – Have a pitcher(s) of water with bucket(s) or large bowl(s) handy to rinse glasses between tastings.

Swirl a splash of water in the wine glasses between tasting. Dish towels, to give them a quick dry is also appreciated.

Corkscrew or Bottle Opener — stating the obvious!

Wine Chiller or Server  — for cold white wine.

PRO TIP: to keep chilled white wine, cold, stretch two can koozies over the top and bottom of bottle a bag. 

Depending on the style of your koozie, you may need to cut a hole in the bottom for the bottle neck.

 Yes a bit of the middle won’t be covered, but your wine should stay cold for several hours


stack of pop-culture based scorecards for a blind wine tasting party shown with a jug of pens

How to Judge the Wines?


These can be as simple as a blank note card where each guest rates the overall appeal of each wine with a single number score of 1 to 10 with some tasting notes.

Or you can use  a standard wine expert scorecard with the five main attributes (Appearance, Aroma, Balance/Body, Taste and Finish) evaluated, assessed and assigned a score.  

Or you can go the way of my personal favorite – a set of four different pop culture scorecards I developed to guarantee lively conversation and lots of laughs!

With this set, the standard five wine attributes are assessed against pop culture measuring sticks.

I certainly find it much more entertaining to judge the overall taste against the likes of Howard Stern versus Michelle Obama or Snooki versus Grace Kelly. And its clarity: closer to the plot of “Lost” or “Gilligan’s Island”? You get the idea.


Three wine bottles in washed linen bags tied with lettered labels on a cheese box lid with a bowl of pita chips and a glass of wine poured.

What Food to Serve?

For your wine tasting party, simple is best.

This is not a dinner party! Let the wine be the stars.

That said, we know drinking is not good on an empty stomach, so something light, like a cheese platter with fresh fruit is a great way to start the party.

Once the bottles are opened and tastings begin, bland or plain crackers are great palate cleansers for between tasting.

Something a bit more substantial would be welcomed once the initial tastings are done.

Supplement your starting traditional fruit and cheese board with a heartier charcuterie or sandwich board and maybe a light dessert tray while the scores are being tallied and before winners are announced.


Four different pop culture scorecards with a grid for totaling the points for a blind wine tasting party

Winners & Prizes

If we’re scoring, that means there needs to be a winner right? 

You can tally up the scores and announce the winning bottle of wine.

You can take it a step further and announce the winning guest based on how well they ranked the bottles of wine compared with the group rankings.

And you can further the competition with this alternative:



I LOVE a great blind wine tasting. They are such fun way — and easy way– to throw a wine party!

 And conversation flows easily even with new acquaintances, especially with the pop-culture scorecards involved.

The wine (and scorecards) provide the entertainment — with a background play list, of course.

The food is easy — start with crackers, some cheese and fruit. And then have a tray of something heartier and sweeter on hand for after the tastings.

The only down-side, is that it can get a bit expensive for the host. So why not turn the wine selection into a competition?

The host picks a theme with each guest (or couple) bringing a bottle that fits that theme. Ask a couple to bring two bottles of the same wine, That way you have plenty of wine, but not too many different bottles of wine to taste.

You can even build your theme based on price point: Guests all bring their favorite wines from below a certain price point — $10? $15? $25? Who can find the best wine under $15

The host bags and tags the bottles out of sight.

Yes, in some cases it is possible to distinguish your bottle from the rest by the bit of neck exposed at the bag’s opening. 

HINT:  If you feel compelled to thwart the hyper-competitive guest. Pour his or her wine into an alternate clean and dry bottle, then bag and tag this alternate bottle. Hah! 

Continue with the tasting as before, and when the scores are all tallied, uncloak the bottles and award a prize to the person bringing the top-ranking wine.

Let’s look at some options for fun prizes — or gifts for a wine-lover: 

***affiliate links may be included. This means if you purchase something after clicking on one of these links, I may receive a small commission. You pay the exact same either way. And, I ONLY suggest items I believe in!
collage of wine oriented gifts or prizes including necklace, socks, kitchen towels, candles, wine bottle planter and more
Blind Wine Tasting Party set up of wine glasses on a tray and Five mystery bottles of wine in linen bags with chalk cloth labels


The best thing about wine tasting with friends (and even new acquaintances) is its light-hearted atmosphere.

It’s about fun, laughter and enjoying each other’s company … and a good glass of wine.


round image of Diane smiling next to a Signature that reads: With Joy, Diane



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