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How to Host the Perfect Wine and Cheese Party

Master effortless entertaining with these tips.

How to Host the Perfect Wine and Cheese Party
How to Host the Perfect Wine and Cheese Party

Wine and cheese parties are a perfect way to spend an evening with your favorite people. Everyone loves wine and cheese, right? Plus, there are so many great types of cheese and wine to try. The possibilities for exploring new flavors, as well as enjoying old favorites, are endless.

Even with an event as fun as a wine and cheese party, hosting can be a challenge. Everyone wants to enjoy their own party, but it can be difficult to manage everything and still find time to relax and socialize. We’re here to fix that, with easy tips for planning every step of your event. Through some smart planning, you should be able to enjoy your own party as much as your guests will. Try these simple tips for planning your party, from the perfect wine and cheese pairings to smart and budget-friendly serving ideas.

Top 5 Party Tips

These five tips are an overview of how to plan your party. With these easy ideas in mind, you’ll be set up for success.

  1. Invite around 12 guests. More than that will make the party difficult to manage.

  2. Buy 3-5 types of cheese, 2-3 ounces of each type per guest.

  3. Buy 8 bottles of wine for 12 guests, 4 red and 4 white.

  4. Provide a wine glass for everyone, along with wine charms or Sharpie markers to identify each glass.

  5. Provide other snacks that will pair well with your cheese, such as nuts, olives, fresh pears or apples, crackers, and honey.

Select the Cheese

It’s good to select one cheese from each of the following categories when purchasing your 3-5 types of cheese. These categories will help you include a variety of flavors and textures, for an interesting tasting experience.

  1. Blue – A pungent and flavorful cheese that has streaks of blue mold. Examples include gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Maytag blue.

  2. Semifirm – A broad category of cheeses that are firm, but not hard, with rich flavor. Examples include Cheddar, manchego, some Goudas, Fontina, and Garrotxa.

  3. Firm – Firm cheeses that are aged for a longer period of time, such as aged Gouda, aged Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Asiago. These cheeses have a sharp and nutty flavor.

  4. Soft-ripened – These cheeses have a bloomy rind and are very soft on the inside, with a delicate flavor. Examples include Brie and Camembert.

  5. Washed Rind – These cheeses have a brown or orange rind and are usually creamy and soft in the middle. They may have a very pungent “stinky” aroma. Examples include Epoisses, Limburger, and Taleggio.

It’s also great to serve cheeses that are locally made or that have some personal significance to you. For example, a cheese that you found at your local farmer’s market would make a great addition to your wine and cheese party.

Purchase the Wine

Keep things simple by choosing one red wine and one white wine for the party. Buy four bottles of each for a party of twelve. Here are some great suggestions from our wine catalog. These wines will pair well with a variety of cheeses. For more in-depth pairings, visit our Wine Pairings section.

Set Up and Enjoy!

Plan to purchase all of your materials a few days before the party. On the day of the event, you will only have to set everything up and enjoy yourself. Follow these simple tips, beginning 1-2 hours before the party, for a no-stress hosting experience.

  1. Place 3-4 cheese trays around the room, with the cheese and snacks arranged on them. Spacing out the food keeps your guests from clustering.

  2. Match your snacks with the cheeses. For example, blue cheese is delicious with honey, so make sure they’re on the same plate for easy access.

  3. Label the cheeses and provide serving suggestions for each cheese.

  4. Provide a separate knife for each cheese.

  5. Set up the wine in its own location. If necessary, decant red wine. Keep white wine chilled. Provide a wine glass for everyone.

Genius Tips for your Party

Sometimes little things can really make your life easier. These genius tips will make your wine and cheese party less stressful and more budget-friendly. Wait until you see number three!

  1. Serve some nonalcoholic drinks. Give guests a break from the wine by serving sparkling water as an alternate beverage choice. This will be refreshing and help pace the evening.

  2. Serve cheese on slate tiles from the hardware store. These are inexpensive and look great. Plus, you can write the names of the cheeses on them with chalk!

  3. Label wine glasses with Sharpie markers. Did you know that you can write directly on the foot of your wine glass with a Sharpie marker? Guests can write their names directly on the glass, and it will wash off with soap and water after the party is over.

  4. Buy more food if your party spans typical meal times. You can either buy more cheese or provide more snacks, such as spiced Italian meats, bread, and fresh fruit.

  5. Provide “doggie bags” so that guests can take home leftover cheese. Waxed paper is perfect for this. It’s affordable and allows the cheese to breathe, keeping its flavor fresh.

What's your favorite type of cheese or snack to enjoy at a party?

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I am so down for this. Wine and cheese are my favorite food/beverage pairing ever and I know my friends would be into it too! I think it'd also be a really fun idea for a wedding cocktail hour. The wine tasting aspect would make it a fun game for the guests while they're waiting for the reception.


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