Skip to main content

Hi there.

A client asked me to conduct an Italian wine and cheese guided tasting. I will educate them about the wines. They are paying $35-40 per person and I will pour 6 wines.

Question: I am told to purchase wine as if there are 125 people attending. Should I plan for 4-ounces per glass of wine? I thought I would see what others usually do. The tastings I conducted in the past were for clients I already know who gave me unlimited budget for spending but this time it is different. Any advice?
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

4 oz. per glass seems too much, as noted. 1-2 oz. seems to me to be too little.

A 2 oz. pour is is plenty to get acquainted with a wine, but people paying $35-$40 for a tasting are going to want a chance at a second taste of at least some of the wines. I'd estimate 2.5 oz. per person/per wine, and plan on left overs of a few of the wines.
Is there a dinner following the tasting? I don't quite get the logistics of this. A true wine tasting should be done blind to learn the most about the wine. It should be unaccompanied by food, other tahn maybe some plain crackers or bread, and some water, sparkling if possible. A one ounce pour is plenty for a few sips, but plan on some extra in case some people want a second pour. Have tasting sheets and pens available. I'd suggest 6 bottles of each wine.

Save the cheese and remaining wine for after the wines are revealed. Eating cheese while wine tasting will affect the taster's impression of the wine.
Thank you all for your input.

The venue is the clubhouse of one of those luxurious 50+ apartment complexes. The clientele is not the type that wants to focus that deeply as to doing a blind tasting. I was told to select 4 cheeses which I will. I will pour northern and central Italian wines. They are limiting me on charging each client $35-45. SO far it looks like I can include a Barolo and a Super Tuscan, plus Pinot Grigio, Gavi di Gavi, Chianti Classico Riserva, and Muscato d'Asti.

While I have done plenty of theme wine and cheese socials, this time is different because this is more of a social event by people who like the sound of Italian cheese and wine as opposed to learning the academics behind the wine even though they ARE paying me to teach it and guide it.

Next month's edition (10/31) features Tuscan reds so I definitely want to put some upscale things in there.
Based on tastings our group does for 30-35 people, I would say you will need about 10 bottles to comfortably cover a tasting for 125 people. The math works our to about 2 oz. per pour, but I would be surprised if all 125 people wanted 2 oz pours of all 6 wines. There's going to be several people there simply for the social aspects, some who don't drink at all, some who don't like whites, or don't like reds, or don't like Pinot Grigio, etc. etc.

But, since it sounds more like a social event, and a lot of the attendees will likely want more than 12 oz of wine, I think you should probably go with a case of each. Also consider the possibility (make that high probability) of a corked bottle, and the extras will certainly come in handy. In my experience, you might very well end up with 6 or more corked bottles if you have 6 cases of Italian wine.
If you have wine geeks, do it the way Bord-o said.

In your case, it seems as if the point is primarily social. If you're having all those different whites and reds, then doing it blind doesn't really enhance the experience for those people. Especially if they have zero clue, it's probably better to tell them this is barolo, this is Chianti, etc., so they can learn.

If it's a "guided tasting" then I would do an expensive and a cheap version, or an old and a young. For example, you can get a young Nebbiolo and an older Barbaresco/Barolo, and/or a younger Rosso and an older Brunello. You can show them the different price and the difference with age. You'd be providing more guidance than you would by comparing a Super Tuscan to pinot grigio.

And you have the money. Altesino for ex, has a rosso around $14 and a brunello around $45.

Think carefully about the cheeses too. And point out what is happening to the flavor of the wine if they have it with the cheese. If you pick carefully, the cheese may make the wine taste like cherries, on the other hand, it could make the wine taste like detergent.

I probably like doing those kinds of tastings as much as more "serious" tastings. It's just a different kind of fun. but since you're picking the wines, you get to pick what you like.

About pinot grigio though ...
I appreciate the input. I have not yet met these clients but they want me to do a different theme every 2 months. I thought of Gavi instead of Pinot Grigio but I might do both so I can start them with something familiar to them.

The client contact is really disorganized. She changed the date already 2 times and changed the number of people she planned for. She told me she is new there and is learning the ropes. She actually thanked me for not bailing out on dealing with them.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.