Best Summer Wine Tasting Themes
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Energize your next party with these creative wine tasting themes. It’s a great way to keep learning about wine and having some creative fun at the same time. And your friends will love it!
I know! I know! You're probably thinking "Party? Now?!" With a little bit of thought, any of these tasting themes can be set up in a safe way with social distancing. They are all geared for summer with the outdoors being the event space. Invite just a few friends and incorporate some of these fun ideas.
These wine themes focus on a particular style of wine and then you'll compare and contrast by region or production style.
1. A Rosé by Any Other Name…
Warm weather and sunshine are all about the blush wine. So beautiful and very popular. Wine producers have quite a variety to explore.
2. White Party
Sip on a variety of refreshing white wine and don your summer whites while doing it.
3. Bursting Bubbles
What better way to celebrate summer than with the bubbles in sparkling wine / Champagne.
4. Summer Evening Reds
Light reds are the perfect way to enjoy a summer evening.
I’ve found some great wine recommendations and accessories to help kick off your party with fun and flair! Believe me, I learned my lesson with wine tasting parties. I served white wine that got warm, appetizers that didn’t pair right, you name it. We still had fun, but I’ve learned and improved. Check out these recommendations to help you whip up a fabulous party.
Affiliate links are included. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small amount. Your cost is the same with or without the link. Enjoy!
A Rosé by Any Other Name…
There’s nothing better than sipping on a refreshing Rosé in the summer. The beautiful pink colors of the wine will add elegance to this party. You’ll have an easy time finding Rosé because all the stores have big selections for the summer.
Rosé Wine Recommendations
The Rosé wines I’ve selected here are from France, Spain, Oregon, and California. This selection will give you some great options to taste, compare, and enjoy.
PRO TIP: Select 3-6 different bottles of wine to taste and compare at your party. More than 6 will be hard to distinguish between. For a smaller group of say 4: compare 3-4 bottles. For a larger group: compare 4-6 bottles. Figure ½ to 1 bottle a head, depending on how much food you are serving. And as always, keep plenty of water on hand for your guests. Quick Math for 12 guests: 6 types of wine * 1 to 2 of each bottle = 6 to 12 total bottles of wine OR 4 types of wine * 2 to 3 of each bottle = 6 to 12 total bottles of wine
To have a well-rounded tasting, select one Rosé from each region. To make it extra easy, use these pre-filtered links to Rosé selections on Wine.com and gather ideas for your wine selections.
France: Cotes de Provence Oregon: Willamette Valley and more Spain: Consider Mia from Freixenet or Jean Leon 3055 Rosé California: Consider Grgich Hills or Rodney Strong
I’ve been fortunate to visit both Freixenet and Jean Leon in Spain. Freixenet is a large winery known for its sparkling wine, although they offer a still (aka no bubbles) Rosé. Jean Leon is a boutique winery sitting on some gorgeous property in Spain. They use beautiful artistic labels on their delicious wine. And Grgich Hills is owned by the beret-wearing winemaker who put California wine on the map. I also mentioned Rodney Strong which is another solid winery. They have a 2018 Rosé from Russian River that has a 92 rating at a really great price. Definitely a winner!
Wine Party Accessories
Serve your Rosé in style with these party accessories.
Keep your bottles chilled with the stainless steel chiller. Just place in the freezer overnight and it’s ready to keep your wine chilled.
The Rabbit wine opener makes it easy when you're opening several bottles for a tasting. It comes with a foil cutter and a handy case. This is our go-to wine opener because it’s super easy.
Try these double-walled wine glasses to keep your wine chilled.
This petrified wood cheese board is sure to impress.
Or these Rosé glasses are a great way to taste and compare Rosé.
Rosé Party Tips
1) Wine Chilling Tip
A fun trick to keep your wine cold on a hot sunny day is to add frozen grapes to the glass of wine. I’m normally not an advocate of adding ice or other items into your glass of wine, BUT this will keep your wine cold while preventing it from watering down and shouldn’t change the flavor of the wine.
2) Cheese Pairing Tips
The best cheese pairings for Rosé are Gouda, Jarlsberg, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Provolone, Swiss, Feta, and Fontina. Stay away from aged or smoked cheese. Those cheeses will have an earthy flavor that would go better with a red than with a nice light Rosé.
3) Rosé Wine Tasting Notes
Much of Rosé is actually made from red grapes, while some are a blend of both red and white grapes. The reason the wine is a light rosé or pink color is that the red grape skins are left with the grape juice for just a short period of time. Removing the skins quickly also keeps the wine from becoming tannic (tannin gives a bitter taste or cottony mouth feel after taking a taste).
This party is all about white wines, white food, white decorations, and white clothing clad guests. Remember white wine isn’t always made with white grapes. Have fun with this one and mix it up. Toss in a white wine made with Pinot Noir grapes.
Have your guests wear all white. Use white plates, napkins, serving trays, and other white decorations. Serve white food like white cheeses, popcorn, and white cake pops.
White Wine Recommendations
This white wine line up gives you a variety of white wine to try and a great way to compare the different grapes and styles of winemaking. The list below is essentially your tasting order and the links are to pre-filtered pages on Wine.com to help make your selections easier.
Dry Riesling from the Mosel Valley in Germany an area known for delicious Rieslings.
Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand another winner.
Chablis (aka Chardonnay) from the Burgundy region in France. Typical Chablis is not aged in oak.
Chardonnay from Central Coast in California. Warm climate Chardonnay is typically aged in oak which you will most likely find from the Central Coast. You’ll also find great selections with high ratings and value prices from this area.
White Party Accessories
Have fun with these white decorations.
Dress up your cheese tray with this marble and mango wood cheese board, porcelain cheese markers, and white marble cheese knives.
Chill all of your white wine in this faux marble wine tub.
Add these wine-inspired silver wine charms.
These stemless wine glasses are a nice modern touch for your white party.
White Party Tips
1) Cheese Pairing Tips
Pair your white wine with a variety of white or light-colored cheeses like these: Colby, Feta, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, and Goat Cheese.
2) White Food Tips
Surprisingly, there are a lot of options for white or neutral-colored foods for your white themed party. You can serve up croissant sandwiches with chicken salad, pinwheels, cucumber sandwiches, mixed nuts, and popcorn.
Don’t worry about adding some color such as green grapes. Try this warm herbed goat cheese with bruschetta from finecooking.com, or this bruschetta with fig, goat cheese & prosciutto from foxandbriar.com.
Include some sweets to round out your party menu such as white chocolate covered pretzels, white macaroons, white cupcakes, cheesecake, and white cake pops.
3) Decorating Tips
To pull off your white party, make as much of the decor white as you possibly can. Use white table cloths, white plates, napkins, serving trays, flowers, candles. If you are hosting this party outside, you could use fun white lights and white lanterns.
Feel free to add a pop of color, but choose only 1 color to incorporate as an accent. You could use a beautiful green or blue color. Or you could stick with another neutral color like gold, silver, or tans.
For additional inspiration visit the contemporist.com.
4) Wine Tasting Notes
Riesling: This wine ranges from sweet to dry and pairs with a variety of foods. Find out how to tell the Riesling sweetness range from this Common Grape post.
Sauvignon Blanc: This wine is very acidic. Makes your mouth pucker. It’s a great light-bodied wine for summer sipping.
Chardonnay: Fuller body, ranges from light to creamy. This is determined by stainless steel aging (light) or oak barrel aging (cream, toasty notes).
Blanc de Noir (White Pinot Noir): A rich white wine with medium acidity and light tannins.
This summer tasting theme is all about the bubbles. Nothing is more festive than sparkling wine and champagne. Bring on the sparkle and the fun!
And before you think I’ve jumped away from the 7 noble grapes, just wait. Champagne is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier ( a relative to Pinot Noir). So, okay I’ve made a little departure with that last one, but we’ll let it slide in the name of learning and enjoying!
Champagne & Sparkling Recommendations
This line up comes from around the world starting with the Champagne region in France. Sparkling wine from any other region cannot be called Champagne. So, it’s a must to have a true Champagne as part of the lineup.
Start your tasting tour in the Champagne region in France. Consider the Moutard Grande Cuvee.
Next, travel to Italy for a little of their bubbly. Consider Ferrari Brut.
On to Spain for their Cava. When you see Cava on the label that means it’s a Spanish sparkling wine. I’ve also found many Spanish wines are reasonably priced which is a great incentive to try more of their delicious wine. Consider a Mercat Cava.
We’ll end our tour in California with Sparkling wine. Consider Chandon Brut.
Bursting Bubbles Wine Party Accessories
Keep the bubbles flowing with these fun and functional accessories.
Now you can finally keep your Champagne corks under control with this Champagne cork puller.
Use this beautiful hammered ice bucket to keep your sparkling wine chilled.
These Riedel stemmed Champagne glasses and Schott Zwiesel stemless Champagne glasses are top-notch and will serve you well for many more celebrations.
Don't forget this Champagne bottle stopper to keep your sparkling wine fresh.
Top off the celebration with these classic Champagne truffles.
Bursting Bubbles Wine Party Tips
1) Cheese Pairing Tips
The cheese options with champagne are endless. Try a few of these options for your party such as Brie, Camembert, Mild cheddar, Colby, cream cheese, Edam, Feta, Havarti, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino-romano, swiss, gouda, gruyere, chevre, asiago, and goat cheese.
2) Decorating Tips
Infuse some shimmer with some silver or gold accents. Check out the accessories I recommended to get a few ideas.
3) Wine Tasting Notes
Champagne is from the French region of Champagne (this is the only way it can be called Champagne; otherwise it is known as sparkling wine). Champagne is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes.
If labeled blanc de blanc, then it is only made from Chardonnay grapes. If labeled blanc de noir, then it is made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes.
Champagne and Sparkling wine are produced with a variety of sweetness levels. This is described as Extra Brut (Driest), Brut, Extra-Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux (sweetest). The most common style is Brut. You’ll notice that all of my sparkling wine recommendations are Brut.
Summer Evening Reds
Bring your next wine night to life with this sophisticated theme. Nice light reds are perfect for those warm summer evenings.
Evening Reds Recommendations
These light reds will make a great tasting line up.
1. Choose a Pinot Noir from the famed Willamette Valley, Oregon. They've been producing some of the best Pinot Noir around.
2. Compare that to the fancy French Burgundy (aka Pinot Noir).
3. To add a little interest, include a Gamay in your line up. Gamay is not one of the 7 noble grapes, but it is a cousin to the Pinot Noir grape. It will make a nice tasting comparison since these are all nice light reds. Consider a Louis Jadot.
Evening Reds Party Accessories
To help inspire you for your Summer Evening Reds party, check out some of these accessories.
This Rösle cheese knife set will add some sophistication to your tasting party.
These Schott Zwiesel light-body red wine glasses (stemless) and Schott Zwiesel light-body red wine glasses will be perfect for this wine tasting.
The Viski Lever Corkscrew makes it so easy to open any bottle, much less several in a night.
The Wine Glass Writer is a unique way to keep wine glasses from getting all mixed up. It's so much more streamlined than those floppy charms.
Evening Red Party Tips
1) Cheese & Charcuterie Pairing Tips
Serve up this cheese options that pair perfectly with light red wine: Jarlesburg, Gruyere, Feta, Pecorino-Romano, Swiss, Brick.
These charcuterie options will pair nicely with the light reds you’ll be serving at your party: Saucisson Sec, Prosciutto, Pate.
You can even pair appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped dates. These light reds really go with all kinds of food.
2) Wine Tasting Notes
Pinot Noir is light-bodied with rich oak, cherry notes, and light tannins.
Gamay is a light-bodied wine with high acidity and light tannins. The Gamay grape is a cousin to the Pinot Noir grape and has a very similar light taste. Gamay (or Beaujolais) is produced in the Beaujolais region of France which is just south of Burgundy where Pinot Noir is grown and produced.
Wine Tasting Themes Wrap Up
There are so many ways to experience wine and it can be rather stuffy. So, why not add some fun and flair to your tastings with these Summer Wine Tasting Themes. Bring your friends together to learn about Rosé, find a white you like, compare those bubbles, or find some delicious reds with these fun tastings.
Host your next creative wine event with some great wine tools and accessories to make sure that wine stays chilled, bubbly, flavorful, or whatever it needs to do!