A Themed Wine Tasting at Home.

By: Kelly Wight

We love a traditional wine and cheese pairing event just as much as we love a popcorn and wine night. But, hey, it’s the holidays—and, oh what fun it is to add flair! We’re going full “Christmas Past” today with a look back at a wine tasting event from yesteryear that shows the fun and festive spirit only a Traveling Vineyard wine tasting can bring.

Read on as Wine Guide Kisha Dlugos unravels a tale of food, wine and ugly Christmas sweaters!

Setting the Sweater Scene

West Virginia Wine Guide, Kisha Dlugos, snapped a photo of the tiny sweaters she brought to decorate the wine at her Ugly Christmas Sweater wine tasting.

“Setting the scene is always important for a themed tasting—after all the Hosts and Guests expect to have the perfect setting for their night-in. My goal is to transport them into the theme,” Kisha says.

Kisha arrived at her Host’s home ready to transform her tasting space to match the “ugly Christmas sweater” theme. She brought a lighted “Cheers” sign and tiny holiday sweaters for the wine bottles (LOVE)! She also designed and framed a special sign for the table. For added fun, Kisha placed Traveling Vineyard wine accessories in a basket with a holiday bow. And, of course, Guests were encouraged to don their tackiest holiday apparel, from crazy sweaters to silly hats. Kisha proudly served as judge in an Ugly Sweater contest, for which her Host awarded prizes to the three winning wine lovers.

Kisha says her Hosts and Guests love themed wine tastings because the wine tasting party becomes more than just a direct sales party, it becomes an experience.

“Not only are the Hosts and Guests enjoying a great night of wine, friends and laughter but themes add a twist to the fun,” she says. “There is a common misconception that wine tastings are stuffy, so adding a theme fits perfectly—and shows off our brand of hip, fun and sassy.”

Pairing Patterns

Simple salad skewers paired with Pinot Grigio, and an itty bitty ugly sweater placard to add some fun. Photo by Kisha Dlugos.

Kisha’s Host served up traditional appetizers that paired easily with the five bottles of wine she brought. Each pairing was identified with a cute ugly sweater placard! On the menu: salad skewers, meatballs, BBQ pork sliders, Buffalo chicken dip and lemon bars. This menu was both festive and cozy, complete with comfort foods and crowd favorites—and each offered a unique quality that brought out something special in the five wines.

For instance, the Buffalo chicken dip paired well with Riesling, which has just enough sweet to balance the heat of Buffalo sauce. A smoky meat, like pulled pork, is perfect for an earthy red wine. Any dish with Italian herbs and tomato, like meatballs in sauce, calls for an Italian red. Kisha worked with her Host to plan the best pairing menu possible.

Theme a Wine Tasting for Yourself

A themed wine tasting party can be a great icebreaker and a nice change from the norm, Kisha says. “To keep the fun and the focus on the wine, I like to name each food and wine pairing after something that relates to the theme.”

Kisha recommends creating a theme around a pop culture trend, seasonal holidays or special events. For example, a “red carpet” wine tasting is great for awards season—and how about theming to your favorite TV show? Our Hosts have even turned bridal showers into wine tastings, allowing Guests to purchase wine for the bride and her husband to enjoy throughout their first year of marriage.

At Traveling Vineyard, our wine tastings range from simple to sophisticated—to silly! You choose. In the end, no matter the theme or style, our Hosts and Guests walk away with a whole new understanding of wine and how to pair wine with food—AND some great wines they already know they love, shipped to them to enjoy at home.

What is your dream theme? Contact me to schedule your own themed wine tasting party!

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. You can email me at winewright@yahoo.com or visit my website at wineguide.life/winewright.

About The Author

I offer FAB, FREE & FUN wine tastings throughout the Hudson Valley. Host a tasting for a night of education, award winning wines and the ability to 'try before you buy.' Not to mention, fun for everyone invited! Contact me today & let's make a date!

Visit Kelly Wight's web site