Monday, October 3, 2011

Start your own Wine Club!

While in Colorado, one of my friends there decided to start a wine club.  She ordered this kit online to help us get started. We had so much fun! When I moved back to North Dakota, I decided to continue the tradition here as well.

It’s a great way to get together, have fun, try new wine, and if you are lucky, leave with a little extra cash in your pocket.  It’s also a great way to meet new people. While we typically have a core group that are able to go to every wine club, the hostess also invites people they know that you may not. I’ve met a lot of great girls through wine club! (Our wine clubs in North Dakota are also a great way to play 6 degrees of separation…since everyone here knows someone that knows someone that went to school with your mom’s cousin’s daughter.)

We try to meet every 4-6 weeks at a different person’s house.  The hostess determines the varietal (type of wine).  It can be as general or specific as you want. We’ve had California Whites, favorite summer wines, Pinots…whatever you want to do is fine.  The hostess also provides snacks. Again, this can be as much or as little was you want.  Cheese, crackers and chocolate is perfect. If you want to provide a warm appetizer or something more…go for it. No expectations, no pressure.  When I host, I typically try to have foods that pair well with the wine we are tasting (I’ll talk about pairing in future posts.), but again…it’s whatever works for you.

So, how does it all work?

Each guest brings a bottle of the specified wine and $5 to throw in the pot.  We try to keep our price point below $12 a bottle.

Each bottle is then marked with a numbered sticker. This helps to make it anonymous.  I also try to keep the wine in their brown paper bags so no one sees them before we start tasting.  (A variation on this is to keep them covered up the whole time, so you don’t even see the bottle.)  

The pourer, usually the hostess, let’s everyone know the number on the bottle, the name and type and any other interesting facts that might be on the bottle. The guests write it down next to the corresponding number on their score sheet. Then, everyone gets a taste of the wine.  Everyone “grades” the wine on a scale of 1 to 5. 5 being the best. The hostess provides a “dump bucket” to dump the rest of your glass if you aren’t a fan or if you need to pace yourself.  Depending on the size of the party, you could be trying A LOT of wine.  We’ve tasted close to 15 bottles of wine before.  Nice big pot, but also nice big hangover.  The owner of the wine that gets the highest score the end of the night gets the pot.  Typically, the money in the pot will buy you a couple of more bottles of wine. How great is that?

(Scoring…this has been a debate multiple times at our wine club. Do you add up all the scores or do you say the one with the most 5s wins? It’s up to you. If you want to tally them all up, go for it. We’ve done it both ways.)

While the kit I mentioned above was great to get us started, you really don’t need to buy one.  

What you need:
Numbered stickers or blank stickers that you number yourself
Score sheets
Dumping pot
Money pot

 I used these stickers and just numbered them as guests arrived.

I also created my own scoring sheets. If you want me to send you scoring sheets, send me an email! (I haven’t figured out the whole posting printables for download yet.)

Go forth and start your own wine club! And when you do, let me know how it goes!

*This was supposed to go up yesterday, but for some reason scheduling isn't working in blogger. Sorry about that!


  1. Hi there! Found you via the Nester's 31 day link up and LOVE your topic. Love the idea of a wine club and will be giving some serious thought how to get one going as I've already roped my friends into 2 book clubs, card club and a dress club. And they all keep getting pregnant.

    My 31 day topic is the book of Proverbs. I drink wine while blogging about it, does that count?

  2. I love this idea - sounds like a great excuse to get together with friends. Thanks for the organizational tips, that's usually where I fall short.


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