Take a look at your wine rack or cellar at any given time. More than likely, there are at least a few bottles that are not your taste. Maybe just the thought of a big Cabernet’s tannins makes your mouth pucker, but you received several from well-meaning dinner guests. Perhaps you bought one too many bottles of that “slightly oaky” Chardonnay, which turned out to be anything but, and you prefer crisp whites. While you could uncork a bottle, grin and bear it, why should you have to? Life is too short to drink wine you’re not crazy about. Instead, get some friends together and host a wine swap. This spin-off of the wine club lets you and your wine buddies pawn off your least favorite offerings, while giving you the chance to discover some gems.
Invite guests, and ask them to bring bottles they would like to trade. For a great conversation starter, have them tag the wines ahead of time with their name, where and when they got the wine, and why they want to trade it. Keep refreshments simple—cheese, crackers, olives, nuts and some smoked or cured sausages should be enough. Serve a versatile white and a red wine, like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc and a fruity Rioja.
Have a large table available for wine bottles as guests arrive. Give each person one raffle ticket per bottle of wine they brought to swap, and put the other portion of the raffle tickets into a large bowl. Allow guests some time to mingle, enjoy some food and drink, and peruse the wine selections.
Pull a raffle ticket out of the bowl—the lucky winner gets first dibs on the wine. Continue until all raffle tickets have been called and all wines have been swapped. Afterwards, your guests can compare their finds, and compliment you on a fun and unique wine party!
Kelly Magyarics is a wine writer and educator in the D.C. metro area. Kelly can be reached through her website, which is www.trywine.net.