wine-and-cheese-pairing-dinner-partyWe’ve all dreamed about taking that trip to Napa Valley with some best friends where you sip classy wine and gaze out onto the vineyards at sunset. Well, if you can’t make it to Napa anytime soon, why not recreate that same experience in the comfort of your own home?

Before you invite your guests over you must pick your poison. If you can’t decide between white or red, don’t fret. You can absolutely mix white and red wines, but the trick is to sip the wine in order from lightest to heaviest. Try not to taste more than five different types of wine or else your taste buds will become quite overwhelmed.

While you’re shopping for your Pinot and Cab, get some cheeses along the way. Let’s be honest, wine and cheese is a miraculous culinary phenomenon, and one should never be consumed without the other. If you’re feeling fancy and ambitious and want to take that extra step and pair your wine and cheeses, go for it, but make sure to pair the light cheeses with the light wines and vise versa. Pinot Noir and Brie is a must.

When it comes to decorating, skip the flowers and scented candles. You don’t want them competing with the aromas of your wine. Instead, choose a basket of grapes or bread. As you are gathering your supplies, there are a few crucial items you can’t forget: wine opener, ice bucket, palette cleansers, and decanters. For palette cleansers, you can put out some water crackers or fruit, and decanters are also needed, especially if you want to play some games. Blind tasting games are a fun way to continue the night. Pour the wine into decanters, simply wrap them in foil, and have your guests taste and guess the wine. This always generates surprises and can potentially make your guests feel like expert wine tasters.

A wine tasting party compared to a cocktail or dinner party is much simpler and easier to handle. Don’t stress yourself out and prepare for a three-course meal with expensive liquor. Instead, host your own wine tasting party where you plan less, spend less, and give yourself more time to enjoy your friends—and the wine.