As someone who hosts wine parties for a living, people often ask me what goes into throwing a really fantastic tasting.
“What’s the secret?” they ask, looking for the key to taking usually stodgy wine appreciation into the realm of the hip, the fabulous and the entertaining.
Before, I would have said that I couldn’t quite put my finger on any particular recipe for success when it comes to extraordinary wine events. But after attending the Wine Enthusiast Toast of the Town tasting in San Francisco last month, I can now say that the secret to hosting the most fabulous parties lies in just a few critical ingredients:
– first, provide LOTS of wine
– add to that unlimited amounts of delicious food
– invite around a thousand guests
– finally, host said event in a gorgeous, theatrical spot
the Studio 54 of wine parties
Held inside San Francisco’s wonderfully glam War Memorial Opera House, the Wine Enthusiast event added to these ingredients live jazz and a terrific crowd. The result was a swanky nightclub-like vibe, especially as the evening progressed and the wine continued to flow. I was so caught up in the revelry, in fact, that I forgot my VIP goodie bag at the end of the night (but at least I left in a taxi!).
While there, I met and mingled with dozens of guests, sampled bite-sized hors d’oeuvres from a long list of high-end eateries, and – naturally! – tried close to 100 wines. It was like being in a wine and food fantasy land along with 999 new friends. Even the exhibitors seemed to have a fabulous time: Folks from wineries were seen buzzing around to other vendors, checking out who was there and sampling their goods.
there’s always next year
If you’re looking for a little extra excitement in a wine tasting, I highly recommend checking out Toast of the Town next year. In the mean time, there are plenty of consumer wine events held throughout the year where you can warm up for Toast. I can’t guarantee that any of them will manage to pull off the nightclub vibe, but then again that special mix of ingredients – 1,000 guests, dramatic setting, unlimited wine & amazing food – can be a little tough to pull together.
contributed by: Courtney Cochran