It has happened to all of us. You are invited to a dinner at a new friend’s house, and they asked you to bring a bottle of wine to share. You are standing in front of shelves and shelves of wine, and you stand there, and you stand there, and you stand there as you try to decide which wine to purchase. What are they serving for dinner so that the wine you bring will pair well with their food? Do they have a favorite “house wine” that everybody else knows but you? How expensive of a bottle should you buy? What is a good red wine? What is a good white wine? Will they invite you back if they don’t like your choice?
Wine can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. And it can be hard to know what to share with others. The good news is, they already like you. You know that because they invited you to their dinner party! Whichever bottle of wine that you bring will fit into their evening somewhere. Most people host an event to connect and have fun. Few put an evening together to show off how fancy-pants they are.
Go with what you know and tell a story.
Start with what you already know. If you see a bottle from a winery that you visited last summer, perfect! What a great memory, and wine, to share! If your friend was gushing over a glass the last time that you spent happy hour together, that could be a winner. It’s easier to narrow down your search to wines that you know, wineries that you have been to, or wines from areas that you have visited.
Make an educated guess.
Bring a bottle of wine with the kinds of flavors that you like to drink. Do you prefer bold wines that fill your mouth with flavor? Maybe a crisp and light white that whets the appetite is more your style. If you bring it chilled, that could be the first glass that you get to share with your new friends. If you are seriously stressed out about the dinner party, this could get you off the hook early so you can relax and enjoy the rest of the evening.
Seek the help of an expert.
Consult with someone more knowledgeable than you. Go shopping at a local wine shop. Describe the event that you are going to or the foods you know they are serving. Ask them what they like to drink, what’s new, or what’s unusual for that season. Tell the attendant what you know about the hosts. You will likely walk away with good bottle of wine that is sure to win you some points. Some grocery stores even have a wine steward that can steer you in a palate-pleasing direction.
Ultimately, don’t let the intimidation of the wine interfere with your evening. It doesn’t matter, because the reason that you are there isn’t the wine. You are there to connect and have fun too.
And let us know how it went! Share your story on our Facebook page.