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Last Updated on October 12, 2021 by Diane Hoffmaster
These tips for hosting a wine and cheese party have been sponsored but all opinions expressed here are my own.
How do you host a perfect wine and cheese party? The first step in planning your party is to do a bit of research. Even if you don't know much about wine or cheese, you can have fun and learn with family and friends.
Learn a few wine pairing tips to get started but don't fret too much. Pair Camembert with Champagne, Gouda with Merlot, and Sharp Cheddar with Cabernet Sauvignon. But if that's not your thing, just wing it and see what you like. There are no rules for what goes on your cheese platter.
Hosting a wine and cheese party may sound fancy but it can be a great way to entertain without a lot of work. No big meals to plan and not a lot of cleanups. Just an assortment of wine and a charcuterie board full of tasty nibbles.
Here are a few cheese and wine party tips to get you started.
Table of Contents
What is a Wine and Cheese Party?
A wine and cheese party is exactly what it sounds like. Bottles of wine and different types of cheese. However, there is a little bit more to it than that.
Encourage your guests to drink certain wines while sampling certain types of cheese. There should be other little 'nibbles' available for snacking that will compliment both the wine AND the cheese.
This type of home entertaining requires zero cooking, which I love. And with a little bit of planning, you can offer a complete meal full of protein, fruit and more! It's easy to arrange food on a platter and making it look elegant.
It doesn't have to be complicated, however, a little bit of planning will help make the experience more enjoyable.
Cheese and Wine Party Tips
These easy wine and cheese party tips will make your get-together a deliciously fun event. Remember to plan ahead. Cut the cheese into different shapes to give the plate variety. For wines that need to be chilled, take them out at least 15 minutes ahead of serving them.
Your wine and cheese tasting at home can be simple or choose a theme for a bit more fun. Keep your menu limited to reduce the amount of work involved. Choose a few simple dessert ideas to finish up the evening.
Learn how to host a cheese and wine party and you are one step closer to being the cool kid on the block (check out my list of bar essentials before you make your guest list!)!
What to serve with wine and cheese
When hosting a wine and cheese party, offer a wide variety of flavors and foods. Nuts and olives for something salty, dark chocolate for something sweet, and maybe spicy chorizo for a bit of heat.
You don't need to whip up a bunch of appetizers but consider the flavor profile of the foods you are serving. Here are a ideas for what to serve with wine and cheese:
- Small sweet pickles like gherkins. These are usually a simple finger food that can be eaten in one bite.
- An array of savory crackers. For people with allergies, serve some that are gluten-free
- Trail mix. This can be salty, unsalted, or sweet depending on your preferences
- An assortment of nuts. Choose a wide variety, from walnuts and almonds to hazelnuts and filberts.
- Fresh fruit. Grapes and apples are often served with wine and cheese but so are figs and strawberries.
- Dried fruit like apricots and dates.
- Marinated olives. Both black and green go well with wine.
Best cheeses for wine pairings
You don't want to go overboard with the number of cheese varieties you offer. 6 kinds of cheese will be plenty for you to offer a wide variety of goat, sheep, or cows milk cheese in varieties that range from soft to semi-soft to hard.
Red wines pair well with bold aged cheeses like cheddar. Serve white wine with the more mild cheeses like brie or mozzarella.
- Gruyere pairs well with a fruity Pino Noir.
- Blue cheese needs and bold flavor, like an aged Port.
- Brie is very mild and needs something like and airy like good Champagne.
- Goat Cheese pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc
- Aged Cheddar should be paired with Cabernet Sauvignon
- Havarti is very mild and is easily overwhelmed with a strong pairing. Serve it with a light Rose for variety.
Sample before you buy
Don't buy cheese before sampling it. Many upscale grocery stores offer samples of cheese that you can try before purchasing. Ask at your local store if they can cut the cheese for you to try. If you are a novice and hosting a wine and cheese party for the first time, do some research before you shop.
For a list of cheese by type, texture, color, milk, or country, check out Cheese.com. You can also find the proper storage and easy serving tips for each type of cheese.
Depending on where you live, some liquor stores and restaurants allow you to purchase small amounts of wine for a tasting before you invest in a whole bottle.
Where to buy wine for your party
If you are looking for a wide variety of wines, you may need to travel farther than your local grocery store. Many liquor stores carry a nice selection of wines and depending on where you live, you can sometimes find specialty wine shops.
One great source of fine wines delivered right to your door is the California Wine Club. Here are just a few things you can expect to find with this subscription wine club:
- A great selection of Wines from "Mom & Pop" Wineries.
- Wine Club Gift Certificates to send as gifts for friends and family.
- A selection of international wines from The California Wine Club's International Wine Club for a global wine experience.
If getting wine delivered to your door sounds appealing, I encourage you to check out the California Wine Club.
Start shopping now through this link to Save 10% sitewide with code YES10! It would make a great holiday gift, too! (Not valid on Case Club, cases during $1 shipping sales, or on discounted skus.)
Keep wines and cheese grouped together
When hosting a wine and cheese party, set up your home with 'tasting stations' to encourage guests to drink certain wines with particular cheeses and snacks.
In the kitchen, you may stash a Merlot with a semi-soft Gouda and in the living room you can set up a Reisling with some blue cheese. For a full list of wine and cheese pairings go to The Wine Enthusiast.
Stock up on basic supplies
Part of the fun of hosting a wine and cheese party is that it is just a tad bit elegant. That means you probably don't want to serve wine in paper cups or eat your cheese off styrofoam. You don't have to spend a fortune but a few simple purchases will really lend a touch of elegance to your party.
If you can't afford a slate cheese board for your cheese offerings, consider getting a roll of black bulletin board paper instead. Write on it with white chalk and your guests will be impressed, even if you didn't spend a fortune.
You may also want to get some reusable plastic wine glasses and small plastic plates. I am not generally a huge fan of plasticware for eating but you can't really buy nice ceramic and glass dinnerware to serve a bunch of party guests. You can wash and save it for your next wine and cheese party.
Choose a wide variety of wines and cheeses
While you want to keep your selection fairly small, choose wines and cheeses with very different flavor profiles. Select wines from a number of different regions and make sure to offer both reds and whites.
Offer cheese that ranges from the bold and sharp flavors of Cheddar and Blue cheese to the more mild Gouda and Brie. That way, you are sure to appeal to a number of different pallets and everyone will find something they enjoy.
You really don't need to buy so much cheese that you are eating it for the next month. When shopping, purchase approximately 2 to 4 ounces of cheese per person. Combine that with a few sliced types of sliced meat, some figs or apricots, and a selection of nuts and you will have plenty of snacks for your guests to enjoy.
If entertaining stresses you out, you should definitely consider hosting a wine and cheese party. You could even ask each of your friends to bring a bottle of wine from a certain region to make less work for yourself. And when the party is over, check out my post about ways to reuse empty wine bottles.)
Have any other tips for hosting a wine and cheese party? I would love for you to share them. If you want a few easy cheese recipes for that leftover cheese, try these:
- Rosemary and Cheddar Cheese Straws
- Cheddar Cheese Cookie Recipe
- Prosciutto Fig Pizza with Blue cheese
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.