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Winter Entertaining

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The holiday season has come and gone and now we begin the long winter months. I was never a winter person, give me sun and warm weather and I am happy. Well maybe a snow storm around Christmas that melts away and is gone in two weeks, but otherwise that is enough for me. Here in New Jersey that is not about to happen, we can get some real wintery weather with bitter cold, wind and yes, a lot of snow. So if you are not a winter person how do you get through the long dreary months? My way of dealing with it is to always have some kind of entertainment planned ahead so I have something to look forward to. My wine hobby gives me great enjoyment, I did say hobby as it is not just about drinking wine for me. It involves everything from collecting, reading and learning everything I can to expand my knowledge, of course this web site, and also introducing new comers to the wonderful world of wine. My wife and I love entertaining from dinners, picnics, parties and so on. Gathering friends, family and new guests together always gives us great enjoyment. As you can guess wine is most always an important part of those events. While we do slow down during the winter months it is always fun to plan a get together with friends who tend to go into lock down inside their homes from January to March.
Entertaining can vary from the big dinner party, small gatherings or just a quick evening with another couple. We are always looking for new ideas for entertaining and for New Years Eve we celebrated with my brother and sister in law who came up with an excellent idea for some entertainment, a blind wine tasting. While blind tasting wine is not a new idea, their plan added some fun competition to it. There were only four of us so our tasting was only two bottles. The great part about it is you can expand to as many as you want depending on group size. Our blind tasting requirements were that each couple had to purchase a bottle of red that none of us had ever tried. The cost range was from $40 to $60. The bottle had to be covered prior to the tasting so we used foil bags. A wine tasting scoring sheet was provided by one of their local wine shops so we could score the wine also. Now the fun part, they set up a sheet for each of us listing ten questions with a score for the correct answer on each. The harder the question the more points you received for a correct answer. Our questions were Country of origin, Major Region (i.e. Napa) Sub-Region (i.e. Howell Mtn.) Major Varietal, Minor Varietal, Vintage, Winery, Brand, and Wine Maker. They were some tough questions and you have to know your wines to have success. You can see though there is a lot of potential for modifying the tasting for big or small groups, experienced or new wine lovers and so on. How about offering a wine related prize for the winner you can really make it a lot of fun and personalize it however you wish. It doesn’t have to be a complicated dinner, just serve some quick appetizers along with the wine. You will see that entertaining can be simple, fun and it will help you through those long winter months.

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