Wine tasting parties introduce your palate to exciting new wines. You don’t need to make it a solemn affair, though. Invite your friends to a party complete with fun games where you can taste wines, test your knowledge, keep it casual, and share plenty of laughter. Here are five fun wine tasting games to enjoy at your next event.
1. Wine Bingo
Wine bingo is a modern take on a classic. Just like with bingo, you have a board for each player and tokens for advancing the game. Unlike bingo, however, the boards don't contain numbered squares. Each square in wine bingo contains the name of a wine or wine cocktail.
For example, you might have a board full of varietals like Beaujolais, Riesling, Sangiovese, and Malbec. You could also decide to challenge your guests by adding in lesser-known varietals, or you could use blended wines like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Port, or Rioja. If you’d like to introduce alternatives, try adding in wine cocktails like Bellini, Sangria, or Kir.
There are two ways to play wine bingo. One is the traditional method, in which a caller pulls random wine names out of a container, and you use your tokens to mark the wine names on your board. The first person to complete a row is the winner.
The second way takes longer, but it leads to sampling the wines. Here, you set out a flight of wines and wine cocktails for each player, ensuring all wines you set out also appear on the bingo board. The caller tells players to grab a random wine, sample it, and put a token on the square they believe matches.
The game continues until someone yells "bingo." To be the winner, the player must have guessed correctly. You can choose the threshold for how many correct guesses a winner needs to make.
2. Wine Trivia
Combine trivia and wine and see which of your guests is the top oenophile. You’ll need to collect trivia and fun facts from across the internet and add them to facts you already know. Once you’ve gathered enough, split the trivia into question types such as true/false, multiple choice, and general Q&A.
To make the game lively and encourage discussion, put players in teams of at least three people. You can give each team a buzzer for rapid-fire answers, or you can simply ask teams to write their answers on a sheet of paper.
At the end of the game, tally up the correct answers and award first prize to the team with the highest score.
3. Counting Corks
Here’s a game that doesn’t require the wine—just the corks. This is perfect for those who enjoy wine on a regular basis, but it definitely requires some planning. Whenever you finish a bottle, keep the cork, and ask your friends to do the same.
On the day of your event, ask your guests to bring all of the corks they’ve saved. Count them up and place them into a large glass jar. Bring it out to your guests and allow them to inspect it and make their guesses as to how many corks are inside. At the end of the night, reveal the real number and compare it to everyone’s guesses. Whoever is closest to the actual number wins the game.
4. Wine Options
This wine game is wildly popular in Australia and New Zealand. It debuted in 1968, with credit for its creation going to winemaker and columnist Len Evans. Wine Options is a live-play guessing game, where you start with broad questions and narrow in on the specifics to reveal the identity of a flight of wines.
The game starts with a flight of wines set before each player. Each person samples the first wine, paying particular attention to characteristics, aroma, and taste. Then everyone stands up and listens to the speaker ask a question. Typically, each question comes in a “this or that” format, such as, “Is this wine French or Argentinean?” Sometimes, each question may have as many as three options.
Broader questions focus on the country or region, before moving on to the varietal. The final questions are more specific and typically focus on the producer and the vintage.
Players have a tally board before them on which they mark their answer to each question. Those who do not get the question correct must sit down. The last player or players standing for that particular wine win that round.
Everyone stands up again once the game moves on to the next mystery wine. There is no limit on the number of mystery wines to sample nor is there a rule on how many correct rounds lead to the overall winner. You could play for best two out of three or three out of five, for example.
5. Guess the Price
Another fun wine tasting game to try out is based on prices. Guess the Price encourages guests to use their budding or expert wine skills to determine how much an unknown wine costs.
To play, ask each of your guests to bring one to two bottles of wine from random price points. If you want to use themes, ask them to focus on wines from one region or varietal. Make sure they tell you the cost of the bottles they've brought
Once you have all your guests' bottles before you, open them and pour them into separate decanters to hide the labels and bottle shapes. Moving from wine to wine, have your guests pour a small sample and taste it. Let them write their price guesses on a chalkboard or white board, revealing all of the correct prices at the end.
Alternatively, you can have guests keep their guesses to themselves by recording answers on their own sheets. However you choose to reveal the real prices, make sure you keep the game lighthearted and casual.
Fun times are ahead with these games for wine tasting parties. We encourage you to view our online catalog if you’re eager to sample new wines and incorporate them into your games. We also offer expert consultation services ranging from tailored recommendations to professional on-site wine storage. No matter what you choose, JJ Buckley Fine Wines can help you build your wine collection or discover your new favorite wine today.