Australian Wine Fundamentals - Entertaining with Wine
Entertaining family and friends is both consuming and rewarding. Follow these guidelines to make selecting the right wines a breeze.
How Much Wine to Serve
Cocktail events/parties: Plan on ˝ bottle of wine per person per two-hour period. If your event begins before 5pm or if you’re also serving beer, plan on ˝ bottle per person per three-hour period.
Self-Service for Guests: If guests will be serving themselves, plan for 10% more wine.
Dinner events/parties: Each 750ml bottle of wine provides around 5 servings each. If you are having wine with a meal, plan 1-1˝ servings per course per person.
To calculate the number of bottles you require of each wine: Take # people you are serving X # glasses (on average) each will drink ÷ 5 (serving).
Cocktail events/parties: 1-1˝ glasses per person for 3 hours or less, 2 glasses per person for longer.
Dinner events/parties: One glass per wine varietal. If you only have one or two wine glass size(s) arrange each place setting with separate red and white wine glasses, plus water.
Can glassware make a big difference a wine's taste? Try the same wine out of a tumbler and a fine, thin-walled wine glass. The wine always seems to taste better out of a good glass. Expert opinion says these differences in taste may not be merely psychological.
While there are many different glass designs, they tend to be driven by fashion rather than the needs of serious wine drinkers; however some companies make fine glasses that clearly enhance the taste of particular wine styles.
A good, all-purpose wine glass need not be expensive. It should have a slightly tapered or tulip-shape at the top, which helps to concentrate the bouquet when the wine is swirled around in the glass before nosing as much of what we ‘taste’ is really what our nose tells us.
Make sure your glasses are clean, which means rinsing in warm or hot water and avoid the use of detergent in washing. Glasses should be stored upright and aired before use. Don’t use glasses straight out of an old cupboard or sideboard or straight from a cardboard box. Sniff a glass from a box or cupboard and you can easily detect the musty or cardboard smell.
We these suggestions on the cellaring and serving of wine will enable you to make certain your good wines taste great, and your great wines taste truly memorable.
Which Wine to Serve?
Cocktail events/parties: If the weather is warm and your function is outside or before 5 p.m., plan on 70% white wine, 30% red wine. Otherwise, plan to serve 40% white wine and 60% red wine
In general, Chardonnay is everyone's favorite white wine. On a warm day you might also like to choose a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. If you are serving spicy foods, a chilled Australian Rosé is a perfect pairing.
Pinot Noir is the most versatile and an excellent red wine choice for warmer weather and barbeques. Merlot is a popular choice because of its chocolate flavors and soft finish. Cabernet Sauvignon is great with steaks and ‘fatty’ foods and you can’t beat an Aussie Shiraz for pairing with beef, lamb, other hearty main courses and dark chocolate desserts.
Pair the wine varietal with each course. See our Wine & Food Pairing Guidelines or Wine Styles section for more information.
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