Hosting my first Wine Tasting Party

Over the past few years, I developed more interest in wine. Visited some good wineries out of state, tried my share of great varieties, subscribed to Wine Spectator magazine and recently attended a local wine & sweets stroll event checking out cool neighborhood wine stores and restaurants. After that last event, I was like, I could totally do this. I really want to do this so I had this is great idea to host my own wine tasting party. 

Of course, Pinterest is always a fun place for me to start gathering visuals on my ideas. I start there then make ideas into my own style. These are all pics from my party. Hope you enjoy and use some ideas to host your own! 

I decided to host a blind tasting. I chose 6 whites and 6 reds. I put together an Evite, shared with a few people in my family and had the absolute best time. My boyfriend was instrumental in helping me not only plan the event but executing on the vision and it was amazing, even better than I hoped for! We make the best team.

I covered every bottle’s label and ordered them so we would taste from white to red, light and delicate to dark and rich. I wanted people to just rely on their intial thoughts and impressions when sniffing and tasting. I didn’t want people to make assumptions based on labels. People were stumped and surprised and had a lot of fun in the process!

When people arrived, I started them off with a Mango white wine. Everyone got a small tasting glass of their own to use then take home. I made the bottoms with chalkboard paint and had people write their names with a cool white paint pen. When they left, everyone took home in a gift bag with a cute little magnet about wine. I used a “It’s wine o’clock somewhere” stamp I found at Michaels to decorate the gift bags in a red wine stain dye.

Of course, you can’t have drinks without eats. We kept it light and did snacks instead of a full meal menu. We had so much chocolate. I made chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered pretzels. There was Columbian dark chocolate and some even more delicious dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt from Trader Joe’s. Plenty of Ghirardelli milk choclate squares and a bunch of dark chocolate covered cherries. Red wine and chocolate mix great and it was delightful. 

We also had plenty of cheese — brie, smoked gouda, parmesan, apple-smoked gruyere, blue, gorgonzola, honey goat and sharp cheddar. Fruits, bruschetta, prosciutto, dips and salads. 

My brother-in-law is awesome and brought these great wine tasting note sheets. People could take notes on which wines they did and didn’t like. 

Because it was a blind tasting, I also made people guess a lot. I told them to write down what kind of wine they thought it was…Riesling, Cabernet or whatever else. They got a bonus point if they could guess who makes the wine and another bonus point if they could guess what region of the world the wine came from. My sister guessed the most right and won a bottle of champagne.

Of course, people also brought snacks and more wine including my brother-in-law’s home brew wine which was delish.  All in all, we had a great time and the party lasted until after 4am, ending with a taco run, really great conversations and lots of empty bottles. Cheers until next time!

Fullard Baby Shower, Part II 

At the beginning of March, I hosted a baby shower for my sister and brother-in-law. Their baby is due at the end of April. I promised to share a couple pics so today I will do that and give a few more details that anyone can use in planning. 

We decided to have the shower at a brewery. The location was perfect because the brewery was next door to a train station for easy travel access if friends and family from the city wanted to join. 

What made this shower really special is there was so much handcrafted work we put into it. This was a major family effort and we had fun doing it. I was the leader but a leader is only as good as the people they work alongside of to get things done.

Upon arrival, the parents-to-be greeted every guest at the door. We had cute mini notebooks that people could sign for the guestbook. I found them at Target. 

Guest also dropped off their baby book which was requested in lieu of cards so the parents-to-be can build a library for their son.

The parents-to-be also took care of the first round for every guest if they wanted a drink or soda from the cash bar in our private room. 

I don’t know about most people but we didn’t want some of the traditional shower games. I planned just a handful and included other activities that could be done throughout the event to keep things interesting. 

Guests came in and if they wanted to the participate in The Price is Right game, the got a card which had preset items. I ordered them from Amazon. People just had to guess the prices without looking online. We told everybody at the end we would go over the prices and the top two people to get the closest without going over the grand total would win gifts. We gave out two gifts per game throughout the shower. 

At each table, we had advice cards that I created from these cards I found at Michaels. They were board cutouts of onesies. I bought stamps and ink and in the scrapbooking section of Michaels, found little elephant stickers. Our theme was animals and mostly elephants.  We had elephants on the invitations and a lot of the things that we used to send out messages about the shower.

With these cards from Michaels I put a cute blue stamp on the front that said ‘welcome baby’ and added an elephant sticker then on the back I used a different stamp of a parent elephant leading a baby elephant.  All the guests per table could write advice for the new parents then at the end I collected them all and turned them into a flip book.

Thirty minutes into the party, we brought out food and had salads and wraps for people to snack on. During lunch I started my Spotify baby playlist which was basically a bunch of songs that I found with either baby in the title or main parts of the song. 

When it seemed like people were wrapping up lunch, my sister and I hopped on a mic to explain different things that people could be doing like writing advice on the onesies at the table, filling out their Price is Right cards or writing something encouraging or funny on the butt of a clean diaper so when the parents-to-be are having late night diaper changings they can get an energy boost. 

We did start two other games at the end of lunch. For the first, we had two people per table (there were six tables of 8 total) come to the front for the baby first portrait game. I found sheets at Michaels that were sheer but had little baby feet imprints on them. I took a full sheet divided in a half, divided in half again and cut four sections out of them so I could get enough for every person. The sheet just had to be big enough to fit on their forehead. Each of the 12 people got a sheet and a marker and then when we counted down they were given 60 seconds to draw what they thought the new baby was going to look like. The catch if course was they had to hold the sheet on their foreheads and draw blindly. At the end of this game we had the mom and dad to be pick who drew the best portrait and who drew the worst. Each of those people then got a prize.

Following that game, we set up the ‘Name That Poo’ dirty diaper game. Other than being a fabulous photographer, my boyfriend was phenomenal with preparing for this game. We had nine diapers and bought nine different types of chocolate. He melted the chocolate inside of each of the diapers and numbered them. People had to guess what “poop” was in which dirty diaper. They could smell, touch, taste, whatever would help them to guess as many of the poopy diapers as possible. Whoever got the most would win a prize so that was a really fun one. People really got into it. It looks so gross because of the way that the chocolate melted inside of the diapers. It looks like real poop but reassure people that it is chocolate and there are no kind of surprises. It made for some really great picture.

Shortly after that, we set out cake for people to break and eat before gifts. The BABY letters on the cake table were another craft project of mind. I found plain wood block letters at Michaels, covered them in several layers of blue acrylic paint. The last layer, one side was covered in fine loose blue glitter. 

There were two tables full of gifts and we wanted to get through them all but also have something to break up the time.

Gift opening is tricky because it can get redundant and people can lose interest so before we even started the gift opening, I had set aside three gift bags. Three people were going to walk away with a prize and they didn’t have to do anything except be the last person holding the gift bag when the last gift was opened. 

There were six tables so one gift bag would go around basically two sets of tables and every time the parents-to-be received a gift that was blue the guest gift bags would get passed two people to the right. It kept people engaged, curious and they had some incentive. It also kept things moving. It is definitely something I would recommend because it’s simple. Our shower was coed so just make sure you have gender-neutral gifts. 

Halfway during the gift opening we actually paused and I had all of the men in the room which was a decent amount come to the front. Each were given a balloon. They had to blow up the balloon, take their shoes off and set them in front of them put the balloon under their shirt then on my count, these “preggo” men had to put their shoes on and tie them up. The fastest two would win a prize. There was one guy who was smart enough to wear slip on shoes so he won first place of course and then another guy one next to him.

One thing that I did say after while because we had a lot of prizes given out…if somebody already won a gift then they should give that gift away to someone else not in their party. It was an opportunity for people to bestow some goodwill towards people they didn’t know or come with but also share the love a little bit. 
After the balloon shoe tie game we finished up the gift opening. Between gift openings we also gave answers to some of the games like the dirty diaper game (just one person guessed 8 of the 9 diapers correctly) and Price is Right. 

Once the last gift was opened, I had the parents-to-be say thank you everyone and goodbye. We ended on time. 

The party favors went with the animal theme. Animal crackers in a clear box with a hand-made cloth elephant or plaster elephant on top. We tied them down with ribbons. It took a lot of hours and was a true labor of love. 

It was a really fun event overall. I could not have done this without the help of my family, my sisters, my brother-in-law, my mom and my boyfriend…who got roped into more projects than I’m sure he cared to do. 

I think people really enjoyed themselves and I definitely look forward to hosting more events and parties in the future. And moreso, I can’t wait to welcome my nephew in a few weeks.