Serving Wine at Your Dinner Party
Tips for selecting and serving wine at your dinner party
Whether you are planning to host a small dinner party of 4-8 people or a romantic dinner for 2, the following suggestions can help you organize your dinner party and simplify your wine choices and serving needs.
Where to begin:
When planning or organizing anything you always need a starting point. When planning to host a dinner party usually the next decision to be made after determining your guest list is what to serve.
There are some basic guidelines to consider when determining what to prepare. For example consider the following:
- The time of year
- Your guests' food likes and dislikes
- Your budget, and just as important
- What you are comfortable preparing
Depending on how seasoned a host or hostess you are, choosing to prepare a meal you have already prepared successfully can take away a majority of your stress the day of the dinner party.
Select your wine or wines:
Your wine selection is next. The type of wine you choose to serve depends on what you choose as your main entree for your meal. The basic rules of thumb are red wine is paired with beef and white wines are paired with chicken or seafood meals. So a fuller, dryer red wine, such as a cabernet best compliments a red meat meal such as steak.
For more detailed help on wine and food pairing there are resources on line such as NatDecants.com that offer tools to help you choose what wine would fit best with your main course selection.
The meal is cooking and the wine has been selected. The final preparation is setting the table. How fancy or formal you wish to get is up to you.
The following are key points to keep in mind when setting up your table:
- Center piece(s) should not block the view of the person(s) across the table. Keep center pieces either low or high where the main focus of the piece is either above or below the line of site of the people around the table.
- If choosing a theme, make sure it compliments the tone of the meal you are serving. You don't want a fancy white table setting with crystal and china and then serve panini sandwiches and chips.
- Decide how you want to serve your meal. Do you want to have a buffet or sit down dinner. However you choose to serve your meal keep in mind how the food moves between your guests. If serving the food from your table, the host or hostess usually serves the main course. Whether they place it on each guest's plate (as would be necessary if you are serving a hot lasagna) or simply pass the main course, the host would pass it clockwise to the guests. Side dishes can be served by the guests sitting closest to it and should also be passed clockwise around the table.
If serving your meal buffet style, place the main dish on the buffet at the end you want to line to begin. Before the main dish should be your plates. Have the side dishes follow and end with napkins and silverware.
Serving your wines:
How you serve your wine is be determined by how you chose to serve your dinner. If you are doing a buffet, then setting up a wine bar area would be appropriate. Using your wine racks is an excellent way of displaying and serving your wine whether you are serving your food buffet style or on the table. Using a wine rack keeps your wine selection close at hand, and when one bottle is finished you have another one quickly and easily available to serve. Your guests can even help themselves.
Most red wines need to breathe before serving and should be served at room temperature which is actually just above cellar temperature. Pouring your wine into a nice wine decanter is also an efficient and elegant way to serve red wine while allowing it more room to properly breathe.
White wines need to be chilled, but only for 1 - 2 hours prior to serving so they are not too cold. Serving white wine too cold can diminish some of the flavors of the wine. If you store your white wines in your refrigerator and not in a wine rack, then remove the wine 30 - 40 minutes prior to serving to give the wine time to come to the desired serving temperature.
In time and with practice you will begin to determine more clearly the temperature at which you prefer to drink your wines.
Upon your guests' arrival have them go to your wine rack to look at your wine selection and choose what they would like to drink. They can choose to pour themselves a drink immediately and begin to enjoy the wines you are serving.
If having a romantic dinner for 2 it is only necessary to have 1 selection of wine. A smaller wine rack that holds the bottle and wine glasses will work perfectly especially if you are wanting your date to pour the wine. Just place the wine rack with bottle and glasses on the table to the right of the person who will be pouring the wine.
Finally everything is ready and the guests have arrived. Your wine has been artfully organized and displayed in your wine rack. Now all that needs to be done is for you to enjoy. Bon Appetite!
About the Author
Karen Campos has combined her passions for wine, writing, home decorating and entertaining by opening up her first webstore, WineRackDecor.com. Not everyone can afford to have a wine cellar in their home but love to drink and serve wine. http://www.winerackdecor.com/ is dedicated to offering affordable and decorative solutions to wine storage for every home owner. Check out the articles and entertaining ideas the site has to offer as well.