We seem to always be looking for a reason to throw a party, get all of our friends and family together and have some fun. And what better reason to celebrate than another year around the sun? But summer barbecues are getting a bit dull, and people are expecting a bit more than a Sunday roast for a party such as this one. And if there is one thing that will get everyone relaxed, but also allow them to feel like it is a true evening party, it’s serving some good wine, but how do we choose?

Consider Your Guests

Which wines you choose to serve will depend greatly on your guests and their preferences. And while you can’t know exactly what the favourite wine of each of your guests is, you know what they, as a group, like to experience. If it is a crowd of wine collectors and enthusiasts, serving them some basic crowd-pleasers won’t do the trick. Similarly, if they are people who don’t usually drink a variety of wines, giving them something that is an acquired taste, or that has to be paired and consumed in a certain way to taste good, is not the best idea. And finally, treat yourself as a guest too. What do you love? Of course, you shouldn’t only get five bottles of your personal favourite, but it should be included. The party is in your honour, after all. Choose a good mix of both whites and reds, and throw in a rosé to break it up.

Set A Budget

We all know that the price of wine can vary wildly, and that is important to keep in mind when planning an event, especially if there will be more than twenty people. The first thing you should know is that you shouldn’t bring out the best. The vintage bottles and the rare specimens should stay in the cellar, because in a big crowd, they simply won’t be recognized for what they are, and they are better off being enjoyed by you and your wine enthusiast friends. There are some amazing mid-range options which your guests will love, and you can find them in well-stocked stores like bottle shops in Sydney, which is where most Australians go when they need to find some good wine.

Find The Best Pairings

Don’t serve wine on its own. Make it an experience for the taste buds. Arrange several boards full of cheese, fruit, protein, sweets and pickled veggies, and let your guests find their perfect pairing. You can make little cards with some unusual flavour combinations that you love and swear by. Place several boards around the room, so that your guests need to move around and mingle to get to their desired food. And when it comes to the cake, go for a rich, dense, dark chocolate cake to serve with red wine, or a light and fruity dessert if you are opting for white. Otherwise, skip the cake and lay out a dessert table so that everyone can pick out something that goes with whatever is in their glass at the time. If you want to keep the focus on the wine, make sure that the food is merely a complement, but that there is still plenty of it so that your guests aren’t left hungry.

If you want to have some more fun, and if you think your friends will enjoy it, you can make the evening into a guessing game, covering the labels on the bottles and letting your guests guess which wine they are drinking. This is also a good trick to keep people open-minded, since sometimes the best flavours can come from the cheapest or least expected bottles. Of course, you should also keep some alcohol-free options for your friends who are driving, or who simply don’t enjoy it, and you will be set for an unforgettable party with some great flavours.