DIY Easy & Cheap Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting Chalkboard Table

Last week, I hosted a fabulously fun wine tasting party with a bunch of girlfriends. We enjoyed good food, delicious wines, and lots of laughs, and it was a really creative, tasty way to toast Valentine’s Day early in the company of friends!

See, it all started with this innocent little photo from Pinterest, which inspired my idea. An entire wine tasting atop a homemade chalkboard – brilliant, beautiful and bountiful with all that yummy food and wine!

It took a whole lazy Sunday afternoon, but by party time the board was complete. All it took was a large piece of plywood, a jigsaw to cut it to the desired shape, a pot of chalkboard paint, and some cheapo chalk. The whole project cost under 20 bucks!

DIY Wine Tasting

So, let’s just jump right in. First, some tips on how to do this on the cheap:

  • Most grocery stores have 10% off deals for purchases of 6 or more wines, so plan on serving 5-6 wines and scout your stores.
  • Since there will be plenty to taste and try, not every dish has to be homemade.
  • Store brand block cheeses and bite-sized chocolate candies work fine in lieu of more expensive options.
  • Consider asking your friends to contribute some of your planned food or wines, once you’re certain of pairings.
  • If you need more wine glasses, shop deep discounts at stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Home Goods. Also search thrift stores for an eclectic mix. I offered plastic cups on the table for quick tastings, then wine glasses on a separate table for guests who wanted a full glass.

Homemade Heart Garland

Also consider going along with a subtle theme to make the party feel more festive. In this case, I wanted to set a cute and casual scene, so I strung up this heart garland (snagged the hearts from Target’s dollar bin), lit lots of candles, and turned on some slow, jazzy tunes.

Chalkboard Table & Wine Glasses

One thing that keeps party planning easy is deciding what serving dishes you’ll use days ahead of time, and then dotting them all with Post-It reminders so you don’t forget what goes where!

A little wine glass station is also helpful for your guests to just grab and start pouring, instead of having to ask or search around.

Pizza & Salami-Parmesan Crostini

I had high hopes to make a homemade pizza, but with everything else to consider it just didn’t happen. So, I served two of these very tasty Mediterranean vegetable pizzas from Target’s organic Archer Farms brand, which paired well with a red Shiraz. Everyone loved them, and I loved the $4.99 price tag!

I also grabbed a $1 artisan baguette, a small package of genoa salami, and a block of fresh Parmesan to make these simple, flavorful crostini! So nice with a light, crisp Pinot Grigio.

Peaches & Dark Chocolate

In addition to fresh peaches and bowls of good-quality dark and white chocolates, I served a tray of cubed asiago and cheddar cheeses, and this crab-artichoke dip with buttery crackers which was a big hit with the white wines!

For place cards, I just resized a Word document to the shape of some 3.5” x 5” notecards and printed out the name of each dish, with suggested pairings below. The arrows pointing from the wines to each dish also made the pairings pretty clear.

Cheers!

If you’re interested in hosting a similar wine tasting party, whether for Valentine’s Day or another toast-able occasion, I hope these photos and ideas were inspiring to you. Also check out Hello Vino for lots of helpful pairing ideas. You can view my entire menu, along with more suggested pairings for each wine, by clicking below.

Cheers!

REDS

Shiraz

(Medium to full bodied, with rich flavors of blackberry, clove, dark chocolate and smoked meat)

Pizza with mascarpone, red peppers, spinach and sundried tomatoes

Cheddar and asiago cheese

Other pairing ideas – Smoked meats, semisweet chocolate, spicy soup

 Pinot Noir

(Flavors of red berries, plums, cherries and earthy, wood-like aromas)

Dark chocolate

Other pairing ideas – Monterey jack, chocolate-peanut dessert, scalloped potatoes

 

 WHITES

Pinot Grigio

(Light and dry, with very little sugar and a refreshing, crisp citrus finish)

Fresh peaches

Salami-parmesan crostini

Other pairing ideas – Mozzarella cheese, shrimp, Greek salad

Chardonnay

(Buttery oak overtones and fresh, fruity flavors of apple, citrus and pear)

Crab-artichoke dip

White chocolate

Other pairing ideas – Vanilla cake, sushi, pasta salad

Moscato

(Slightly sweet and fruity, with a tart yet musky aroma)

White chocolate

Crab artichoke dip

Other pairing ideas – Gorgonzola, charcuterie, sugar or gingerbread cookies

      

26 Responses to “DIY Easy & Cheap Wine Tasting”

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    1
    sweets — February 10, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    What a fun party! Thanks for sharing your tips. I know I will use them.

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    Erin @ Lemon Sugar — February 10, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

    That’s just the most fun thing I’ve seen in a long time. LOVE IT, Georgia! Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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    Nami | Just One Cookbook — February 10, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    Hi Georgia! This is a great idea! Even simple change makes the party more fun and elegant/fancy and little more fun. Thanks for sharing great idea! I think i can use the idea for kids party too… :-) have a great weekend!

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    Paula — February 10, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    You and your girlfriends must have had so much fun with this!

  5. #
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    Jeno @ Weeknite Meals — February 10, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    Absolutely loved this posting, what a wonderful idea for a girls’ get together!

  6. #
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    Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny — February 10, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    Georgie what a CUTE idea!!! I love this! Looks like you ladies had so much fun, I’m totally pinning this! :)

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    Pam — February 10, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    What a fun & great idea!

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    Tina — February 10, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    This is a great idea and there are a lot of useful tips here! I am always looking for ways to get all the friends together, so this is inspiring. Thanks for sharing this!

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    Kelsey — February 10, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

    LOVE this idea. How fun!

  10. #
    10
    Wendy — February 11, 2012 @ 2:44 am

    Cute, cute idea…casual, but elegant! And super fun!!

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    Shirley — February 11, 2012 @ 3:40 am

    Thanks for your sweet comment! Your party looks amazing. Everything is coordinated, and those crostini look so good. I don’t know if I have the DIY gene in me to make that chalkboard, but I’ve got to try a wine pairing party like this sometime.

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    Lizzy — February 11, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Amazing party idea!!!! You took this idea and made it even more spectacular!!!!

  13. #
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    Mara @ Elemental Custard — February 11, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

    I love love love the homemade chalk board idea!

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    Kristina — February 11, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

    Such a great party idea! I love the chalkboards! I’m going to save this page for my one of friend’s birthday’s coming up, that would be so fun! We’ve done wine tastings before, but nothing as adorable as yours :) Loveeee this idea!

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    Angie's Recipes — February 12, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Love wine tasting parties! So fun!

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    SavoringTime in the Kitchen — February 12, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

    Great idea and what fun! I love the chalkboard paper. We attending something similar at a New Year’s Eve party.

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    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — February 12, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

    The idea was inspired out of a similar display on chalkboard paper, but as I described in the post, this was made out of wood and chalkboard paint. Thanks for stopping by!

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    18
    Val — February 13, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    Georgia, I just pinned this…I love everything that you did here.

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    Dara Reppucci — February 13, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

    Wow. This is amazing. I LOVE your party planning tips. So fantastic. I am also a Home Goods / TJM devotee. I buy so many cute plates, glasses, ect… there. I am an addict.

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    Linda — February 14, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

    This is a fun, fabulous party idea!! I love the chalkboard tip! I still have a chalkboard from my kids somewhere in the garage so half the battle is over in planning this!! Great tips!!

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    Audra — February 14, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

    Ooh what a fun party idea! I love the chalkboard idea. You must have some very lucky friends :)

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    elizabeth @ chronic venture — February 15, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

    i looove fun and easy wine tastings! I planned one for my birthday a few months ago and it was so much fun. I love the idea of having matching foods with each wine, and it just looks so cute!

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    Sandra@thefoodieafffair — February 16, 2012 @ 5:14 am

    This looks casual and fun! Love the way you put the tastings together with the wine.

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    Gina @ Skinnytaste — February 17, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

    I LOVE this idea!! Just pinned it : )

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    Candy — February 26, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    I just found your blog and love all of the wonderful recipes and beautiful photography!

    This DIY wine tasting idea is so fun. Can’t wait to try it!

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    Kari — April 18, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    Always so inspired when I come to your site Georgia – Thank you!!

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