A Year in the Life – 2011 posted in: Events, Society News, Weddings

As the year comes to a close, it is a time to take time to look back at all the projects we have been involved with over the past year. I am thankful for the wonderful clients I have had the opportunity to work with and help to mark milestone events or reach their event objective. If you have ever wondered how an event planner spends their time, here’s a peek into some of the events we produced and projects we were involved with in 2011.

  • Produced a golf tournament for 380 guests….one day tournament on three separate courses
  • Designed a graduation celebration to honor a very accomplished young lady and valedictorian of her class for over 100 guests
  • Coordinated transportation, accommodations and meeting space for corporate strategic session
  • Designed and planned a variety of weddings ranging from intimate gatherings in historic locations to grand affairs with hundreds of guests for some of the most wonderful couples
  • Served as keynote presenter on topic of etiquette
  • Coordinated a Tea for 80 guests
  • Coordinated travel, accommodations and excursions for weekend getaways to Las Vegas and stays at beautiful resorts such as The Greenbrier
  • Served as adjunct faculty at a University, teaching  two hospitality courses to culinary students

By designing decor and layout, managing logistics and handling event to-do lists of people who already have a full schedule, we are able to return to our clients the gift of time and give them confidence in knowing that their event will be a successful and outstanding one. We are passionate about the special events and hospitality industry, and look forward to being of service to our clients both current and new in the coming year!

Happy New Year!

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Prime Time for Popping the Big Q posted in: Etiquette, Weddings

Do you know that engagement season is in full swing? The time from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day has been dubbed “Engagement Season” by those of us in the industry because of all of the proposals that take place during this time of the year. Rushprnews.com reports in recent estimates that 1/3 of all engagements for the entire year will take place over the holiday season (with December historically topping the charts as the most popular month to “put a ring on it”)…which amounts to nearly a million couples! Perhaps it’s the warmth of the season, the family gatherings, the time of year when we reflect on what and who is truly important to us in life, but for whatever reason ‘this is the season! ”

The time when a couple becomes engaged to be married is generally a happy time. However for some, it can also be a stressful time. With engagement often comes pressure which can be overwhelming resulting in stress, especially when one isn’t well versed in matters of the etiquette surrounding an engagement and wedding. There can be a lot of questions such as, “Who do we tell first?”, “How do we announce the news to the world?” Here are our top tips to get your engagement started on the right (though truly left) finger.

  1. Announcing the big news! Proper etiquette says the news should first be shared with the parents of the bride, and the groom’s parents following soon after. If  there is concern that this arrangement may cause one set of parents to feel slighted, you can always tell both sets of parents together over a nice dinner. Next, share the news with close family and friends. This should be done either in person or by phone, avoid facebook and twitter when sharing the news with those closest to you. After this has been done, it’s time for the rest of the world to know. This announcement can be made by placing a wedding announcement in the local newspaper’s society page. Now is also the appropriate time for the parents of the bride and groom to call each other to offer congratulations.
  2. When should I announce the engagement? Any time after parents and close family have been informed. One word of caution, never impose on someone else’s celebration – wedding, anniversary, graduation, birthday party, etc– to make your announcement. Do not even consider asking the host and guest of honor for permission. If a host decides on their own that this announcement would add to the festivities – then OK, but you must be invited to make your announcement. However, a word of warning, if you’re attending a celebration for someone else and the host encourages you share your good news (or offers to make the announcement for you), make sure this is alright with the guest(s) of honor…as they may not share the same sentiment as the host. It is always appropriate and OK to decline a host’s invitation to make your announcement. Simply assure the host that while you appreciate the offer, you prefer to wait.
  3. Once the engagement has been announced, do I have to go dive into the details of planning? No, but in all honesty this depends on the length of the engagement and the scope of the wedding day you envision. We highly recommend spending time enjoying the engagement period  – savoring this special and exciting time before jumping into the “stress” of wedding fever. This is an optimal time to consider bringing a professional planner on board to help you  plan and handle some of the many details involved in preparing for the big day.
  4. When should an engagement party take place? While there is no time frame that is set in stone, generally speaking the engagement party should be hosted soon after the proposal to celebrate the occasion.  Three weeks to three months from the date of the proposal is appropriate.
  5. Who hosts the engagement party? Though traditionally the parents of the bride, an engagement party can be hosted by a family member, a close friend or the even the couple themselves.  While an engagement celebration is a wonderful celebration, it is not mandatory.
  6. Who should be invited an engagement party? The guest list should be limited to close family and friends.  Carefully consider sending out of town invitations to family and friends (to avoid any pressure on people who may feel obligated to attend), especially if the engagement will be a short one.
  7. Can I invite some guests to the engagement party and then others to the wedding? Everyone on the engagement invitation list must also be included on the wedding guest list.
  8. Are gifts given at an engagement party? This is one wedding function where gifts are not expected.  Should you receive a gift, wait until your guests have left before opening the package.
  9. How big should the engagement party be? This would be a great time to introduce family members from both sides of the bride and groom as well as close friends.  Keep the gathering small and save the larger event for the wedding ceremony and reception.
  10. Take time out. One the planning has begun, remember to spend quality time together as a couple on a regular enjoying your favorite pastimes or interests, and not talking about the wedding.

Are any of you wishing for a ring during Engagement Season?

Best wishes for love, laughter and happily ever after!

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Holiday (or any day) Etiquette Reminders – Having a heart of gratitude and showing kindness to others posted in: Etiquette

As wonderful as the holidays are, it is often a time that can be hard on the heart and manners. Etiquette for this holiday is really very simple when remember this – It is all about thinking of the needs of others and having a heart of gratitude for the people and things that you have in your life. Take pause and consider being on the receiving end of your words and actions (or lack thereof).

Be thankful of the people who take time out to be in touch which says “you matter”. Return the kindness and care to those you share theirs with you.

Be grateful for any gifts that you receive regardless of the size or cost of the gift. Someone thought enough of you to buy/make that gift. It is important to receive the gift with the same amount of thought that went into the giving of the gift. Few things will offend someone as quickly as someone not being thankful for what they have received.

As a houseguest, it’s our responsibility to be good company. Be considerate, complimentary and present. While you’re in someone else’s home, consider yourself “unavailable” to others (if you’re expecting an important call, set your phone to vibrate and excuse yourself to take the call). Take part in whatever your host offers and be active in the conversation and activities with enthusiasm. Make yourself comfortable, but be respectful – everyone is different, so it’s wise to take extra care in the use and handling of another’s belongings, and remember all things in moderation – whether it’s the canapés or the cabernet, try not to overindulge. Respect your host’s trust: Don’t snoop in cabinets or closets, and should you have an accident or break something, let your host know and offer to pay for the repair or replacement. And be sure to thank your hosts for their hospitality.

Take a moment to look around you. Are there people that are less fortunate or lacking? This is a great opportunity to serve them and lift their spirits. Maybe you know a family that is struggling and you have the means to anonymously provide them with food, gifts, money, or whatever else their needs are during the holiday season to lighten their burden and spread some Christmas cheer.

Another part of holiday etiquette for Christmas is display kindness while shopping. For some, manners and etiquette get trampled underfoot with the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping.  We all have different schedules and demands on out time, but try to always use the golden rule and do unto others as you would have done unto you.nd share some Christmas spirit.

May your holidays be merry and bright!

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Holiday Cocktails – Winter Wonderland posted in: Events, Food and Beverage, Recipes

A great drink for your holiday party or an evening at home with your turtle dove. This cheery cocktail just might  inspire you to frolick in the snow….


2 oz Van Gogh Vanilla Vodka

1 oz White crème de cacao

2 oz White chocolate liqueur

1 oz Cream

½ Teaspoon of coconut flakes

1 White chocolate wafer stick


Add the vanilla vodka, white chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao and cream into a shaker and shake over ice. Strain martini into a martini glass and add half a teaspoon of coconut flakes. Stir martini gently with white chocolate wafer stick to create a blizzard!


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Savvy Santa Swag – Stocking Stuffer Ideas posted in: Food and Beverage, Great Products, Trends

Top 11 Fave Stocking Stuffers for 2011

Still have stockings to fill? here’s a quick list of some of my fave stocking stuffer ideas for this year:

1. Luggage Tags
There are a bazillion styles available, but one of our faves (that’s also easy on the wallet) are these cure photo tags from Kodak Gallery. $5.50 | Kodak Gallery

2. AHAVA Dead Sea Salts
Love these 100% pure Dead Sea bath salts. Packaged in a cute giftable wand.  $10 | Nordstrom

3. WIkki Stix
Wikkidoodle! Play the Do-Wikki game…decorate cans and bags. Design cards…take along for travel time! Endless Wikki fun. $12 | Amazon

4. Puppy Tweets
Mattel never ceases to amaze me. If little Trixi is twitter-savvy, ten buy this  you must. Puppy Tweets is an electronic dog tag that sends messages to your home computer, then Tweets to you!  $8 | Amazon

5. CANDY!!!
Be it chocolate kisses, a mixed bag confections or a personal favorite treat, candy is always a sweeeet find in anyone’s stocking! As little as $.25 | Any easy pickup available everywhere!

6. Salty the snowman
For a dash of wintery whimsy to your dinner table- Salty the Snowman, the jolly, happy soul who was made of salt and helped your table come alive with flavor!   $9.99| Perpetual Kids

7. Cupcake Bath Bombs
These were on The Party Maven’s 2011 Favorite Things list, and would make a great stocking stuffer. $10 | For the skinny

8. Tea Infuser
A clever wand steeps loose-leaf tea right in the cup or pot with optimal circulation and minimal fuss. To use, just pull the infuser apart, fill tube half-way with full-leaf tea, put back together. $9.95 | Crate and Barrel

9. Flipbook Kit
Kids can create their own mini flipbooks for hours of fun. $14 | Chasing Fireflies

10. Petite Polishes
Another from our Favorite Things list (which by the way you should totally check out if you haven’t yet had the chance. …includes some fab finds that are too cool for school!) Mini bottles of polish in fresh and festive trend color are great. $12 | Macy’s

11. Puzzles and Games

Perfect for the busy bees and problem solvers. They provide entertainment and are easy to find most anywhere.  $2 and up | Wal-Mart and Amazon carry some great options.


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The Official Color of 2012 posted in: Entertainment, Events, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Home, Trends, Weddings

The 2012 color of the year is Tangerine Tango (PANTONE 17 -1463), a spirited reddish orange. It’s a bit exotic, but in a very friendly, non-threatening way.


Offical Pantone Color of 2012

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, describes the color as “Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” I couldn’t agree more. My take, Tangerine Tango is an enchanting lady – she is beautiful, but also smart, a lot of fun, energizing, makes the people in her presence feel good all the while seemingly without thought, the ever sophisticated siren.

This haute hue is actually quite versatile. You can use it to create a vibrant and fun look, or dress it up glam for a sophisticated evening. Mix this tantalizing Tangerine with a sunny yellow such as Pantone Solar Power, a romantic purple like Bellflower or hot pink such as Cabaret for a bold and beautiful look. Pair Tango with a soft, warm neutral such as a natural neutral like Starfish or anchor it with Navy to show off its more sophisticated side. This Tangerine is just as comfortable at a formal evening affair as a casual afternoon luncheon – and in either setting its beauty commends attention

Expect to see provocative attention-getting Tangerine Tango as a hot hue in color stories for events and weddings in the coming year. It is high visibility, so use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design. You will also see the shade in women’s and men’s fashions, cosmetics, and home décor.

Just as comfortable at a formal evening affair as a casual afternoon luncheon, you can call on this color for most any occasion. For a vibrant and bold look, let this Tangerine tango with a sunny yellow such Solar Power, a romantic purple like Bellflower or hot pink such as Cabaret .Pair Tango with a soft, warm, natural neutral such Starfish to show off its more sophisticated side. In any setting this color commends attention.

Friends what do you think – Is this a color you will embrace in the New Year?

Have a colorful day!

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The Party Maven’s Favorite Things 2011 posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Fashion, Food and Beverage, Great Products, Health & Beauty, Home, Trends

Finding just the right gift for those on your Christmas list can be tricky and if mastering the art of gift giving has got you in a bit of a pickle, fear not. After lots of research (read shopping) and review, I’ve selected my favorite gifts to give (and receive) this year.

Cupcake Bath Bombs

Cupcake-shaped bath bombs. Unwrap and drop this delightfully scented cupcake in the bath and enjoy the effervescence as essential oils and Dead Sea salt wash over your skin.  These totally indulgent dessert-inspired bath treats come in delicious flavors such as Mint Condition and Cranberry Fizz, and for the holiday’s a special mini cupcake trio is available– sinfully sweet!

$10.50 and up | feelingsmitten 

Hostess with the Mostess

Dome-i-nate the party circuit with this stylish glass platter. Great for cheese displays, but can be used for anything that needs to be kept under glass.  Give as a gift along with a set of cheese knives and selection of fine cheeses. Pier 1 also carries a great line of serveware for tasting parties that make great gifts.

$19 | Pier 1 Pier1 entertaning essentials 

Laura Gellar Cosmetics

This ingenious collection of multi-tasking color cosmetics feature the most innovative new products in the most inviting, wonderfully wearable colors that works to play up any skin tone to give every woman a fresh and fabulous look.

$23 and up | Laura Gellar

Voluspa Candles & Home Fragrance

This luxe line is one of my favorite indulgences and  has become a staple in the homes of Hollywood’s elite. These candles and home fragrances are strikingly packaged and have the most extraordinarily alluring scents, such as  Muscari, crisp champagne (my personal favorite), truffle white cocoa, ebony & peach to name a few. Indulgence for those who love life’s little luxuries.

$24 and up | Candledelerium

Bond-worthy Cuff Links

I discovered these secret agent comm. devices fronting as men’s fashion accessories. Not your average cufflinks hanging out on your sleeves, these babies are 007 cool and totally functional. Polished Silver Oval WIFI and USB Cufflinks feature 2GB of storage AND a WiFi Hotspot (which opens your WiFi to multiple devices) – perfect for business meetings, travel or sleuthing.

$250 | Cuff Links.com

Booze Cakes

A fun twist to your standard cookbook – Booze Cakes. This collection of recipes combines two of our most favorite things – booze and cake. How about White Russian Cupcakes or Sex On The Beach Cake?  It’s full color and has step-by-step instructions so easy even a man will spend time reading them.

 $12 | Amazon

Resonant Art

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it and think it would be an A-MAZING gift! “Resonant” Décor” are custom, elegant visual art displays of the sounds around you.

Your world is filled with sounds – favorite music, the sound of your little one’s first words, a friend’s laughter, to name a few. These familiar sounds have the capacity to “resonate” in our minds and hearts with the imagery, emotions, and specific memories. Every sound creates a unique acoustic wave. Fuse this waveform with the richness of color and a one-of-a-kind work of art brilliantly emerges – a visual representation of a familiar sound wave bursting forth in pulsating waves of color. An artist creates this work in collaboration with you to design a unique canvas that visually represents sounds in your world. Isn’t this simply the coolest?

Connect for Pricing | VaporSky 

Lyric Culture Ts and scarves

I’ve raved about this Rock-n-Roll chic line before, but I’ll do it again. Lyric Culture is a lifestyle brand driven by the greatest song lyrics of all time. You’ll find lyrics to some  the most legendary artists including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and countless others penned on scarves, T-s, accessories and more.

$65 | Lyric Culture

Danni Jo Accessories

Check out Dannijo.com for the fashionistas in your life. They have a fab line of stand-out accessories that will polish off any outfit.  I’m loving the Gabrielle earrings, a monochromatic yet chaotic kaleidoscope of crystals that come together to create one chic chandelier of bling.

$320 | Dannijo 

Susan and Veronica Aprons
These aprons are simply too sassy to resist. This fashion forward collection of domestic dress assimilates a mixture of style, frisky and edge.  Flattering designs (available in strapless and half-waist styles!) and playful prints will turn this iconic kitchen staple into your new must-have accessory. If you’re more Coco Chanel than Cocque Vin, order dinner in and throw on your apron before your guests arrive, your secret is safe with me!

$36.95 and up | Aprons

The Rover Spy Tank

Whether you wish to eavesdrop “check-in” on friends and fam, or investigate Fido’s daily activities, it’s all possible with this audio/visual-enabled Rover. Its built-in camera and microphone streams live video and transmits sound in real time. So you can see and hear everything that happening in other rooms The cam can also takes still photos as proof of what you spy, AND it even has infrared night vision that lets you see items in the dark! It is App-Controlled by your iPod touch, iPhone device, or iPad, and generates its own Wi-Fi wireless connection for your smart device (no frequency interference!).

$150 | Brookstone


I know, I thought the same thing at first glance too… “This is one of those cases assassins have in tow, and open up only to pull out the parts to a high-tech rifle, assemble it, aim and take out their target”. But take a closer look, because LAT56′s RAT-PAK is actually a high-tech Garment Bag! No lie. This super compact size carry-on is a system that rolls up your suit into a smaller size without inoculating it with wrinkles that seem resistant to any amount of pressing. Great for the men in your life. But ladies, carrying this killer number will make most any man think twice before crossing you 😉

$300 | Lat50degress

Bracelet / Purse Hook

This bracelet hooks onto tables to give you a safe place to hang your purse when you’re in a restaurant or bar. When it’s not in use you can clip it on the outside of your bag or wear as an accessory. And don’t let pretty fool you – this baby can hold up to 25 lbs!

$28 | ahalife


For your furbaby lovin’ friends  – accessories and toys for their little fuzzies. Does your BFF’s Fiona seem to have an affinity for the finer things? Check out great finds on GlamourDog. Might we recommend a crystal-adorned collar or how about a Chewy Vuitton handbag or pair of Stella MuttCartney or Christian LouBarkin Shoes for the posh pup? Check out the natty neckwear and trendy toys for fashion-forward furbabies.

From $12 |Glamourdog

Mocki Rolls

A  satisfyingly sweeeet sushi made of the finest baking ingredients! These adorable cookies taste wonderful and the clever packaging makes them party (or favor) perfect!

Call for pricing | TheSugar Girl

Essie Nail Polish

The newest color collection from Essie is inspired by the precious stones and metals that we love to accessorize ourselves with at holiday cocktail parties. “Like any great accessory, jewelry makes a statement. This winter 2011 mini collection includes 3 festive, luminous shades cocktail bling – a dazzling, soft gray-blue; size matters – a priceless ruby red; bobbing for baubles – luxurious, deep blue.

$12 | Essie Nail Winter Collection

Festive Glassware

This fantastic set of flutes will have you toasting the New Year in Fashion….regardless of your native tongue. They wish “Cheers” in six different languages. Don’t these just beg for you to throw a party?

$70 | Horchow


Mackenzie-Child. Clown Vase

I adore this home interiors line! It’s my absolute fave. I could rave over many fab items, but to give you a little intro, the Clown Vase would make a great gift for your best girlfriend. This stylish and fun piece will be sure to become one of your friends most treasured pieces. 

$85 | Mackenzie-Childs

Just InCase

Use protection. If you don’t, you’re rolling the dice. You know I speak the truth. Think about it, you’re out on the town, one thing leads to another and, next thing you know, you’re wishing you had some. Don’t let this happen to you and your companion – no, your iPhone (see, your phone is going to get all mucked up there in the gutter!). This slider case protects your iPhone 4, while the sleek mirror-finish preserves its chic image. 

$35 | goincase.com

A Date with Wine Stopper

With our busy schedules and commitments, who has time to keep track of how long a bottle of wine has been opened? Let this savvy stopper do it for you and save your tastebuds and possibly even your reputation. The A Date with Wine stopper has a strong design and three twistable rings so you can mark the date you first paired that cabernet with camembert.

$59 | GSelect

Skinky Crayon

Fun, vibrant and stackable, the Playon Crayon is easy to hold, strong and stain free. This set includes 12 individual crayons all neatly stacked in a box made from 100% recyclable packaging. Strong and easy for little hands to hold and fun for all ages!

$12.95 for set | Stylishkiddish.com 

Facebook Funatcis

Thanks to facebook, we very much live in a “like” world. You don’t tell people you enjoyed the 35 new pictures of their cat blowing up your news feed, you click the like button. Funny posts that help get you through the day and the touching song that encouraged your heart? Yep, that’s right, just, click “like”. That little blue thumb outline might have started on Facebook, but it’s now in 3-D here in the real world. This clever hanger in disguise would make a great stocking stuffer. What’s not to “like”?

$39 | Meninos.com

Sanctuary Tees

A fun line of eclectic print Tees. These distinctive designs are what the cool kids are wearing. TrulySanctuary keeps items unique, so no other kid on the playground will be as cool as yours. And now TrulySanctuary T’s come in big cool kid sizes for mommy & daddy too!

 $14.99 and up | Sanctuary T-s

Sneakers for the Spirited and athletically-inclined

Recognized in Outdoor mag’s “Gear of the Year” 2011 , these kicks will ensure that you are always looking on the bright side.

$100 | Zappos.com



This timepiece is incognito as art. The Celeste combines the beauty of color form and function. This masterpiece displays time using two transparent colored discs that Overlap to create an stylish blue and grey design anchored by a matte stainless steel casing and strap.

$150 | ZIIIRO

Personalized enclosure cards

Personalized enclosure cards are a small touch with big impact. They’re perfect for adding a brief sentiment and custom touch to any gift you give.

From $24 | Stationery Studio


I love champagne and it makes a great gift. There is something simply magical about the popping of a champagne cork.  No special occasion is complete without it. Uncork it for holiday celebrations, an engagement, a new job, or just because it’s Friday – I’ll find absolutely any excuse to break out the bubbly! Buy bottles in sizes ranging from minis to magnums, or select a fab gift set packaged in a chic hatbox. There are great options available whether you want to spend a little or a lot.

 A few of my faves this season: Veuve Cliquot Shopping bag, Armand Brut Gold Champagne,  Dom Perrignon & Tuffles, Cristal , Krug Hat Box and Krug Cuvee Brut X

If you have any other great gift ideas, please leave a comment and share with everyone as many of us still have shopping to do.

Happy Holidays!

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Wine Tasting How-To: Surrender to the Senses posted in: Entertaining Essentials, Events, Food and Beverage

So, we know that hosting a wine tasting is a fun and relaxing way to entertain and learn about wine – you’re on board and have selected your theme , but you’ve never attended, yet alone hosted a tasting before. No worries – we’ve got you covered. Whether you are a novice or an afficianado, you can enjoy and be enlightened.  Here are our top tips to help you setup and lead your own tasting.

Atmosphere. It is important to choose a tasting space that has sufficient natural lighting.  

 “Mise en place”.  Double-check that you have all the necessary supplies and set up your tasting area.  

Prep the wine. The serve temperature can greatly affect the way a wine tastes and smells. Lower temperatures will emphasize acidity and tannins, and mute the aromatics while higher temperatures will minimize acidity and tannins, and increase the aromatics. To ensure the optimal experience and appreciation for a selection, it is important to serve it at its optimal temperature. In general the recommended temps are: between 45 to 50°F for white wines and 54 to 65°F for reds.

Arrange and number your bottles in the order in which they will be tasted. Although there are no set rules, Cheney recommends starting with whites and finishing with reds, and going in order of driest to sweetest and lightest to heaviest.

Set the tasting table. Cover the table with a white cloth so that your guests can easily examine the color of each wine. If you don’t have a white linen, you can also use butcher paper. Set out the appropriate glasses, spittoons, palate cleansers and other wares.

The flow of the event

Once guests have taken their place at the tasting table, take a few minutes to explain the general flow of the event, the elements at each setting, review the tasting process and offer helpful tasting tips.

Present and serve wines
If the party is small enough, open each bottle as you move through the tasting—it adds to the fun and festiveness of the tasting (though some reds may benefit from having some time to breathe). For a larger group, open all wines ahead of time, and you may also recruit one or two guests to help pour. Serve and taste one selection at a time.

Taste (see process below)                                                                              

Do you like the selection? Try to identify and define exactly what you like or dislike? Remember, it’s a matter of personal preference, there are no right or wrong answers.

Final Discussion
Once all wines have been sampled, review and share experiences and preferences. (If you held a blind tasting, this is the time to reveal the selections). Optional, have guests vote for their favorite and rank the wines in terms of preference.

The Tasting Process
The 6 – Ss of  tasting -Seeing, Swirling, Smelling, Sipping, Swallowing/Spitting, Savoring

1. Seeing – Color/Clarity
To determine a wines color and clairty, hold glass up to light and a white background. Describe the color and note the clarity (whether the wine is clear or has a cloudiness to it). 

2. Swirling
This step will give insight into the “body” which refers fullness, weight, concentration and total mouth feel of the wine. Tilt and swirl the wine in the glass and observe its “legs” – does it look viscous or watery? The body will also be evaluated when actually tasting the wine.

3. Smelling – Aroma/Bouquet
The fragrance of a wine makes a significant impact on how the wine is experienced. The scent of a young wine is referred to as the “aroma”, while it is known as the “bouquet” for more mature vintages.

To evaluate, swirl the wine in your glass to release the aromas, then bring it to your nose and inhale. What does the fragrance remind you of? Do you recognize the scent of a particular fruit, spice, etc.? If you can’t quite identify what you’re taking in, go through a list of fruits, herbs, and other flavors in your head: apple, pear, mango, fig, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. to see what connects with the fragrance you are smelling.

4,5. Sipping, Spitting/Swallowing
The key here is to expose the wine to as many of your tastebuds as possible. Take a sip and swish it around your mouth without swallowing. Try parting your lips slightly and taking in a little air to help release the aromas and flavors.  When tasting, you are considering the flavors you taste as well as the body and texture. In tasting, the body is determined by the sense of richness, heaviness, or thickness imparted to your palette. A light-bodied wine would be have less concentrated flavors, while a full-bodied vino will cause your tastebuds to sit up and take notice. Light-bodied wines feel similar to water in the mouth and full-bodied selections have a thicker, heavier feel
6. Savoring – The Finish
This refers to the very last flavor or texture impressions after swallowing (or spitting) the wine. Does the flavor linger on your palette (have a “long finish”) or disappear quickly (a “short finish”)? Is the wine one-dimensional or more complex?



  • Typically when tasting, you will want to work from whites to reds, progressing from dry to sweet, light to full-bodied and young to mature vintage.
  • Have guests sample each wine by itself at first. They may also taste a second time with a food pairing.
  • The general amount is a 1 ½ – 2oz. per person pour.
  • Provide bread and water at the tasting table so guests may cleanse their palate in between each selection in order to fully experience the next wine.
  • If several guests are new to the tasting process, you may want to lead the group through the formal tasting process for the first few selections. However, if you think your group would prefer, feel free to let everyone taste on their own.

Most of all, simply surrender to the senses and enjoy the experience! If your guests enjoy themselves, your event is a success.  


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