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Wine tasting event advice


I’ve done a few tastings for small groups in the last few years, and raised some money for my cricket club and charity by doing so.

They must have gone down ok because I’ve now been asked to do a somewhat bigger one for 50ish people at our local ‘gentlemens’ club (and ladies too I hasten to add!

After my fairly modest fee and some other small costs, the budget is just over £8 a head, and I intend to do 8 wines which is my ‘norm’. Based on tasting pour sizes, I reckon that means I can spend an average of £10 a bottle…

I tend to do some comparative pairings - different expressions of same grape variety or differing wines from same region, plus a couple of more unusual wines that most won’t have tried/heard of. Ideas so far include:

The Pinot Gris theme - looking beyond the ‘Pinot Grigio’…thinking Alsace (obviously!) plus perhaps the English or German PG on WS list.

Affordable Pinot Noir - the WS new Hungarian springs to mind…was even thinking of putting the Lidl one at a fiver in to, as although it’s basic it’s got the varietal…

Rhone - two differing examples. Getting a decent Northern Rhone within that budget is a challenge…so may be two contrasting southern Rhones…Vinsobres 420 and the Escarvailles Cairanne, spring to mind, or maybe the WS Vacqueyras.

Zinfandel/Primitivo - my experience of the WS own labels of these suggests they would be fine.

Thinking of doing either Musar Hochar or the Thymiopolous red as the offbeat one, not sure about what white for that camp yet.

That would be 10 wines in total, so I would axe something…bizarrely I probably need the Pinot Noir (or something about the same price) to stay within budget…

Any ideas based on the multitude of experience on this forum would be welcome. I will probably buy half cases of each on the basis I’ll need about 5 bottles for the tasting (might get away with 4) and a spare or two of each.

Looking to get order in tomorrow or Tuesday.

Thanks in anticipation!


If you’re looking for something slightly unusual, and perhaps a bit similar but different, how about a Torrontes and a Gewuertztraminer? I haven’t tried either from TWS but there is a Torrontes within your budget, and a couple of Gewuertz thereabouts.


I have done a few tastings for younger groups (e.g. the Sixth Form at the boarding school where I used to teach) and I would advise you to do a bit of arithmetic first to work out quantities. 50 people paying £8 a head gives you a budget of £400. Buying 6 bottles of 8 wines at £10 average is £480 which means a loss - not very helpful if you are aiming to make something for the cricket club! It also means that everyone will drink almost a bottle of wine. The aim of a tasting should be to taste and remain reasonably sober or the later wines will not get the respect they deserve! I found that for a tasting, you could reckon to get 16 tastings from a bottle so 3 bottles per wine is almost enough. (What do Society staff think about this? How many tastings per bottle are expected at TWS walk round tastings?) If you bought just 4 bottles of each of 8 wines you would remain comfortably inside your budget at £320.

I go to a local wine tasting group where we pay £15 for the evening and for about 30 people there are usually just 2 bottles of each of 8 or 9 wines. Admittedly we tend not to stick to £10 a bottle and the evening includes cheese and biscuits at the interval between the whites and reds and we finish with cakes with a sweet wine at the end.

I like comparative tastings. It could be ‘old’ world versus ‘new’ world or cheaper versus premium. It is always interesting to compare wines from the same grape from different regions.

Good luck with the event - there is plenty to choose from TWS list.


@DavidTheChemist thanks for the comments. Apologies, I should have made my original post a bit clearer…they will be paying £10 each and the fee to me comes off before the wine budget, so the budget is actually just over £400. I only expect to use 4 maybe at most 5 bottles of each wine, and the organiser has said if there are any spare he is sure they will be bought, if not I will have them!

I am reckoning 12 pours per bottle based on previous ones I’ve done. It would be nice to get 16 but with 5 people doing it, not sure that the ‘portion control’ will be that good! That would work out at just over half a bottle a head and I’m sure that there will be some spitters! I would rather have extra bottles if people want to buy them. I expect that we will use about 4 bottles of each, but having a couple spare means room for selling any, and I will pick wines that I am very happy to drink a bottle of if need be…

The overall budget isn’t set by me, but as most people going will be couples, £20 for two is a fair amount and I’m happy that I can put something fairly interesting together for a tenner all in.

I agree there is plenty to choose from WS list, and there will be a bit of old world v new as well as cheaper v slightly more upmarket (not sure I have the budget to go beyond say £13-14 for any bottle).

I was asked to bias slightly to red and although the idea of a sweet wine is a good one, they didn’t want one.

Thanks for your comments and good luck with your own group.



Gewurz is a good shout and I am thinking about it, however I did include it in a tasting I did earlier this year for a friend and I think that there may be a few from that at this one. However, if it’s only half a dozen then I might well include it. I also thought about the WS Sicilian red of which I’m a great fan but again I’ve used it before with another tasting…

I haven’t tasted Torrontes myself, but it looks interesting. I tend to try a wine first myself before putting it on a tasting so might stick a bottle in my next order.

Thanks for suggestions!