If you’ve decided to brave the madness and take on hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, why not make it fun? Hosting a wine tasting is easy and will get your guests talking without much effort on your part.
Why choose organic wines?
They’re wines, but made with organically grown grapes and without added sulfites. Think no artificial or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. And some experts say pesticide-free grapes do make for healthier wine. Organic wine production grew by 280 percent between 2004 and 2015, so it’s safe to say it’s gained some traction among enthusiasts. Sulfites in traditional wine are worth considering, too—they can make those with sulfite sensitivity miserable, causing asthma attacks, hives, rashes, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. You’re safer drinking organic wines due to no added sulfites.
If you’re already living an organic lifestyle and eating organic foods, drinking organic wine may be a natural move. If you need more convincing, buying it supports sustainable organic farming and production methods. And bonus: organic wines are typically lower in cost because the fermentation process is quicker, meaning the growers don’t have to age it in barrels and charge you for all of that time.
Now, grab a pen, because you’ll want to take notes on how to throw a great wine-tasting party. Your Thanksgiving guests are guaranteed to have a good time, and will even walk away with knowledge, and maybe even a new love for organic wines.
Pick your wines
When conducting a tasting, there is typically an order the wines should be served in to allow their flavors to be best appreciated. Start with the lightest wine and work your way up to something heavier and darker. For example, start with a sparkling, followed by a white, then a red, and end with a dessert wine.
Here are some organic wines to pick up at your local health food store:
- Lobetia Pink Sparkling – Clean and brightly colored with a pale rose tint. On the nose, a red cherry bouquet. On the palate, creamy, bubbly, full flavored and fresh, with good acidity.
- La Marouette Chardonnay – Pale straw color with green reflections. Complex nose of lemon and tropical fruit. Smooth, buttery taste with honey-like finish.
- Pacific Redwood Cabernet Sauvignon – Full-bodied, layered with flavors of cherry, chocolate, and cloves.
- Honeyrun Elderberry Wine – Fruity flavor, on the sweet side.
Gather your supplies
This party can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want it to be. There aren’t many supplies you need, but you can upgrade what you need where you see fit.
Have an ice bucket for your whites, and set up the red and dessert wine next to the bucket.
You will most certainly need glasses—simple plastic cups work fine, or you can give everyone a stemmed wine glass. If you really want to go all out, getting the right shape of glass for the right type of wine enhances the flavor of the wine.
Next, you need pens and rating cards. Printable rating cards can be found on-line, like these here.
Other ways to spruce up the experience is to have things like a decanter, or glass charms if using stemware to keep glasses separated.
Hidden at your local health food store are more than enough wine pairing options, which will also satisfy your guests’ snack cravings. For example, bulk mixed nuts, dried fruit or chocolates—or the obvious, cheese and crackers (this combo goes with any varietal of wine). Get gluten–free crackers so everyone can participate guilt-free. Cabot Creamery offers several affordable cheese options, with different flavors like sun-dried tomato and smoked bacon. Serve some sardines in oil for added protein.
Make it Fun
It doesn’t hurt to add some extra fun into the mix. Here are some ideas to make the evening extra special.
At the end of the tasting, the group can vote on which wine is the crowd favorite
If you have time, put together some fun photo props for selfies. You can distribute them around the party or gather the props together and display them in a large bowl or centerpiece
Share wine facts throughout the evening. For example, did you know it takes 500-650 grapes to make one bottle of wine?
Hosting an organic wine tasting will make this Thanksgiving an extra special memorable experience with family and friends. You may even want to host again next year!
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