How to Organize an At-Home Wine Tasting with the Best Essex County Wine

July 7, 2020 | Essex County Eats

In Essex County, we’re surround by some of the best up-and-coming wineries in Canada. With dozens in close proximity to cities and towns like Windsor, Kingsville, and Amherstburg, it’s not difficult to pop out and grab a few bottles for a dinner party or upcoming celebration. Many of these wineries have a regular stream of visitors coming in to tour their facilities, or attend a guided tasting. Some visitors even fall in love with the area, and start looking for a house for sale in the region, so they can drop by the wineries any time they like!

 

Attending a wine tasting at a local Essex County winery is a great way to build up your appreciation of wine. Their expert staff will show you how to appreciate the nuance of each sip, and give some background on the growing techniques, grapes, and environmental qualities that make an impact on each vintage.

 

However, there are some downsides to a winery tasting. Someone always has to drive, which means that they’ll have to refrain from drinking. Plus, unless you’re really committed to only having a tiny taste of each variety, you’re limiting yourself to one or two wineries. After that, you may be too tipsy to appreciate the nuance of each vintage.

 

Organizing an At-Home Wine Tasting

An at-home wine tasting is really the best of both worlds. It offers the opportunity to sample some fantastic local wines without leaving your living room. Plus, you can share the experience (and the expense!) with a few friends.

 

Here’s our guide on how to organize a fantastic at-home wine tasting with the best Essex County wine.

 

Your Group

Doing an at-home wine tasting is fun, but can get expensive. That’s why it’s a great activity for a small group. In an effort to adhere to social distancing, you can even do your at-home wine tasting in your backyard, and space everyone six feet apart. Everyone still gets the benefit of great wine and conversation, but are able to do it in a way that makes everyone feel safe.

 

Most event organizers recommend keeping your wine-tasting group between five and ten people. When you’re tasting at home, you’re limited to purchasing in 24 oz bottles. The standard pour for a wine tasting is 2-3 ounces, so you really don’t want more than 10 people at your tasting, or it will be difficult for everyone to have a proper taste.

 

Choose a Theme

If you want your at-home wine tasting to truly mimic the experience of a tasting at a winery, you’ll need to pick a theme. There are many different ways you can do this. You can focus on a country, a grape varietal (pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon), a style, or a specific winery.

 

If you’re really dedicated to exploring everything that Essex County has to offer, consider doing a hyper-specific series of wine tastings where you explore a different local vineyard each time. Work your way from Aleksander Estate to Wagner Orchard & Estate, and by the end you’ll be an expert!

 

Set the Stage

Before your guests arrive, set the stage for the wine tasting. Typically, each wine is given its own glass, but in a private home this might be difficult. Instead, give each guest one glass for white and one glass for red, and ask them to rinse their own glasses between each pour.

 

While you may want to offer some themed snacks (more on that below!), it’s best to save those until after the tasting, as intense flavors can alter the taste of your wine. Instead, put some palate cleansers like bland crackers or even plain, unsalted popcorn on the table, so tasters can take a few bites in between each wine.

 

Chill Correctly

If you have all the bottles on hand before guests arrive, make sure to chill them properly. Contrary to popular wisdom, the serving temperature of wine isn’t as simple as ‘red wine stays on the counter, and white wine goes in the fridge.’ It’s recommended that you serve sparkling wine at around 45°F (7°C), whites at around 50°F (10°C), and reds just slightly warmer at 65°F (18°C).

 

If you don’t want to be fussing with a thermometer, just remember to put bottles of red in the fridge half an hour before you want to serve them, so they can cool down from room temperature. At that point, take your white wine out of the fridge and let it warm up slightly. Then they’ll both be at an ideal temperature.

 

Test Blind

It’s really easy to get attached to certain wines without really knowing what it is you appreciate about them. A blind tasting is a great way to encourage honest observation. It also limits judgement about lower-priced wines, and really forces people to evaluate what it is they like about what they’re drinking. Plus, it always makes for a good reveal later in the night!

 

For a smooth blind tasting, cover up every bottle with a paper bag or large piece of tin foil. Make sure you number each bottle, and keep track of the tasting order, so people can find their favourites.

 

Offer Themed Snacks

Wine and food are a natural pairing, but if you don’t want to serve a whole meal, stick to a variety of themed snacks. If you’re doing Italian wines, lay out some sliced prosciutto, salami, or cheeses like Parmegiano-Reggiano, Taleggio, and Fontina. For Essex County wines, put out a spread of in-season local produce, or a selection of sausages from Hylander Farms.

 

 

Want to Get to Know the Wineries of Essex County?

There are so many great wineries in Essex County that it’s hard to choose which bottle to have next! Our team of Windsor real estate agents loves to talk about Essex County, and we can’t say enough good things about the towns that make this area so great.

 

If you’re interested in moving into the area, or want to explore your options for a private house sale to sell your house, get in touch with the Dan Gemus Team.

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