Tag Archives: storing wine

Help! I’m Having a Party – How Much Wine do I Need?

wine-math-made-easy

Do the Wine Math: It’ll save your party every time.

I get asked a lot about how much wine is needed for a party and my answer is always the same: do the Wine Math.

No, it’s not New Math which is very complicated and completely unnecessary. It’s Old Math where we use addition, multiplication and a very small amount of division. All you need are some numbers to start.

Wine math is just that simple. First you have to know how many glasses are in a bottle. Then you need to figure out the kind of party you’re having, how long it will last, the number of people that are coming, and exactly who you’ve invited (meaning what type of wine drinkers they are). Once you figure all of that out, it’s a very quick calculation.

Of course, if you’re having a break-up pity party with just you and a friend then who cares about math at all? Important fact:  two very large mason jars will hold about a bottle of wine.  Simply add your favorite chick flick and you’re good to go!

Let’s get back to the very important wine math. A standard bottle of wine is 750 ml which is approximately 25 ounces.  You will find that the suggested serving of a glass of wine is 5 ounces so that would mean that each bottle would pour about 5 glasses.  However, I don’t think anyone pours exactly 5 ounces of wine – it usually ends up closer to 6 ounces – which means that, on average, a bottle of wine will hold about 4 glasses of wine.  Use that as your ‘rule of thumb’.

So, think about how your guests will drink.  You will pour one glass before dinner, a couple more will be consumed during the meal, and probably one more after dinner.  That means, assuming that there are 4 glasses in a bottle, that you would need about one bottle per guest.  But, as I’ve said above, you also need to consider a couple of other variables before you hit the wine store.

Guest Count – hopefully your friends are the type that will actually RSVP and not just show up unannounced.  Always add two more people to the count because someone will bring a random extra that they ‘forgot’ to tell you about or you have that one friend who never RSVPs and never shows but who will decide to come to your fabulous event.

Here’s where you pull out the calculator for the wine math:

Multiply the number of guests times the number of estimated glasses filled per guest.
THEN divide that number by 4 (approximate glasses per bottle) and that equals the number of bottles needed.

How much wine will they drink? Nobody can perfectly predict this but there are a couple of ‘rules’ that you can always depend on.  If your guests at least like wine they will drink one glass in the first hour but if they enjoy wine or even love it the number will be closer to 2 glasses in that first hour.  For each hour after that add one more glass to the count.  Following this logic – if your party will last about 4 hours most will drink close to 5 glasses of wine. You will need both a red and a white and enough of each in case most of your guests want to drink one or the other.

Now, if you’re like me and you are pouring Champagne, the whole calculation goes out the window because a bottle of bubbles will pour approximately 8 champagne flutes.  Unless, however, you’re at my house then a bottle will only hold 6-7 flutes because I have really large champagne glasses!

See? “Wine math” made easy. Now go and enjoy your party!

Wines in the picture:

Tips on Storing and Serving Wine

storing and serving wine

How do you know if you’re doing it right?

Picture it:  You’re at a good restaurant with friends and one of them is a self-proclaimed wine snob so you hand him the wine list.  He chooses what he says will be an amazing wine.  You take a sip and you are seriously underwhelmed.  What happened?  There could be several reasons – you don’t enjoy the same wine profile (but you could swear that this was a wine you loved the last time!), the bottle is ‘corked’ (i.e. the wine has been contaminated by a fungi from the cork and it smells like wet dog!) in which case it won’t hurt you but it does indeed stink and affect the taste of the wine, or it wasn’t stored or served properly.

This can happen at home even easier than at a good restaurant but here are some easy tips to avoid it.

First, all wines, red and white, should be stored in a cool (heat is the biggest enemy for wine), dry, dark place.  That means no sunlight, on their side so the cork stays moist, away from heat and ideally at approximately 55° Fahrenheit.  Temperatures higher than 70ºF will age wine more quickly and any warmer than that and you will have ‘cooked’ your wine.  On the other hand, don’t keep wine in a place where it can come close to freezing either.

Now for the fun part – serving and drinking the wine.

Everyone has heard that red wines should be served at room temperature but what they don’t say is that ‘room temperature’ is basically the temp of a wine cellar in Europe!  So, it’s not REALLY room temp.  When red wine is served too warm it loses its nuance, it will taste flat and very often jammy.  On the other hand, whites are often served way too cold which will mask any flavor or dimension the winemaker has worked so hard for.

So here are the serving temperature tips that will help your wine taste as wonderful as the winemaker hoped.

  1. Light bodied white wines like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling and rosé – serve them cold straight from the refrigerator. Once poured they will warm up to about 40°-50°F which is ideal.
  2. More full-bodied whites like Chardonnay, Chablis, Viognier and even light, fruity wines (think Beaujolais Nouveau) taste best between 50º-60ºF. Just take the bottle out of your refrigerator about 15-20 minutes early so that it warms up just enough before you want to serve it and you’ll be very close!
  3. If you’re like me and you love a more full-bodied red (a big Cabernet anyone?) then you want to start sipping them at about 60º-65ºF. You will notice there will be a difference in complexity.  Again, just take them out of the refrigerator about 15-20 minutes before you want to serve and you’ll be good.

Now that you know how to store and serve your wines – get creative with the bottles you pick.  Have a wine tasting party or just friends over to taste your new choices.  The more you taste the more you know.  Enjoy!

tips on storing and serving wine

Wines in the picture: