What To Wear When Visiting The Wine Country
July 20, 2020
Hiking Napa Valley
August 1, 2020
Brown Bag wine tastings

The Ultimate Brown Bag Wine Party

We LOVE finding new adventures, places to eat, exciting things to do, and ways to share with you all the love we have for the Napa Valley and all things Napa Style. Check out our favorite finds below! We are always adding new finds so keep checking back for the latest! or subscribe to our blog and get notified every time we post something new.

(This page includes affiliate links – our full disclosure statement is available {here})

What do you think of when I say Brown Bag Wine Party? You're probably a bit perplexed. Isn't the brown bag reserved for a fifth of whiskey, gin, or vodka you just purchased the corner liquor store? That's a whole different story and one we don't wish to revisit. The Brown Bag Wine Party is a fun unique way to explore wines, your taste buds, and a few laughs with your closest friends.

Here's the concept. Invite a few friends over. Make sure they are masked and have been cleared of no COVID19 contacts within the last 10 days. Ask each of then to grab a bottle of their favorite wine and bring it in a brown bag so no one knows what it is. I am sure your mind is already racing within anticipation knowing now this is going to be a blind wine tasting party. There are a few different ways you can approach the wine selections. You can do all reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Petite Syrah, Merlot,  Zinfandel, or go white with a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, even get down and dirty with a Boones Strawberry Hill wine. I am just kidding about the Boones, If you are like me I remember the good ole's high school days and grabbing a bottle of Boones Hill and heading to the lake. It's was good times... LOL 

Ger 20% off your new wine order at wine.com use Promo Code NEW2020

 

Wine.com

Another approach is setting spending limits. One of our most favorite ways to host this event is to limit the selection to either $10.00 or a max of $20.00. This creates a really fun way to explore less expensive wines. One of the things I love most about wine is that it is so personal. What I think is amazing does not always translate to another as amazing. Wine scores are a good guide to steer your selection process but eventually, you will discover the wine tastes you desire. 

Here's an exert from a wine review "The 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is plush and inviting, with an enticing array of brambly blackberry fruit along with raspberry sorbet notes alongside nuances of lifted violet, allspice, sweet cinnamon, clove, cedar, and crushed bay leaves. On the palate, the dark berry fruits proliferate with blackberry, plum, and cassis, but there are also savory elements showcasing light herbal notes and earth, giving this Cabernet a classic depth and elegance." Sounds yummy right? 

Here's another: "Seamlessly woven in black cherry and cocoa, the flagship Cabernet is sumptuous and seductive in structure and complexity. The palate offers flavors of hazelnut, baked plum, and cloves while brilliant acidity on the finish balances the concentration of flavors and tannins."

The first wine is a Stags Leap Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 with an average wine score of 94 points and an exceptional Napa Valley wine. sells for $45.99 online

The second wine is Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 with a score of 90 points and selling for $54.95 and also in Napa Valley.  

Which would you prefer? You would most likely choose the Stags Leap because it rates higher. This does not mean you'll enjoy it more it just means the wine gurus who all have very different taste buds like you and me found the Stags Leap to be more in line with their tastes than the Frank Family Vineyards. This is the pure joy of wine. Our personal hunt for wine is to find those wines we absolutely love under $30.00 that we would give a good mid 90's score to. We have hundreds of these little gems stored in our wine cellar and love to pull them out with friends and share the experience. 

Once you have settled on the type of wines, the price, or even the region you want the theme to be it's time to get to work on planning the event.  Drinking wine is as much about pairing as it is about the wine itself. The following wine and food pairings should be avoided at all costs:

  • Caviar and Heavy Wines (Cabernet Sauvignon) ...
  • Champagne and Chocolate Cake. ...
  • Pinot Grigio and Roast Beef. ...
  • Syrah and Glazed Chicken. ...
  • Chardonnay and Goat Cheese. ...
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Fish.
  • see more here

Wine is to be enjoyed and complimented with a little charcuterie or even small bites. For this event, we are not focused on a big dinner. We want more small bites and food that will complement the wine. Here's a quick list of some of the best wine and cheese pairings…

  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Extra Sharp Cheddar. ...
  • Merlot and Garlic and Herb Cheese. ...
  • Malbec and Vintage or Reserve Cheese. ...
  • Zinfandel and Jalapeno or Hot Buffalo. ...
  • Pinot Noir and Vermont Sharp Cheddar or Gruyere. ...
  • Chianti and Tomato Basil or Tuscan. ...
  • Red Blend and Sharp or Smoked Cheese. ...
  • Syrah/Shiraz and Aged Cheese.
  • see more here

Here are some really good small bites you can order online and have delivered to your home that match well with red or white wine. each pairing as an amazing description so you can simply copy the description on a little wine tip cards and display them with the plates. This brings me to our next must-do when hosting a Brown Bag Wine tasting Party. Set the table or in this case, the sitting area, or even the backyard which is one of our favorite places to host parties. Setting the scene with the right choices in dishware, silverware, and of course you'll need just the right wine glasses to make every wine shine. 

Once you've chosen the stemware (or lack of "stem" ware) you will want to move on to the plates, mats, charcuteries boardscheese platters, cutting boards, silverware, and all the little accessories that make the party an event. Parties are more fun with decorations and attention to little details like setting the scene. You can mix and match plates and tableware, or go with a theme like all white, all red, for example. Make it fun and your guests will love you for it. You will be surprised at how inexpensive it is to go out on a limb and set the table for a special event party like this.  

The simple joy in the Brown Bag Wine Party is in the unknown and discovering wines you might not ever try. For instance, Andee admittedly hates Sauvignon Blanc from Australia. Mostly because she had a bad taste experience with a few we had chosen in the past. While I admit she is a better taster then I and given her sense of smell still works... (That's an inside reference to the decades I spent in the entertainment industry on side stage listening to music too loud which over time has not only affected my hearing but my sense of smell, at least that's the story I am sticking to.) During a recent Brown Bag Wine Party she found one of the whites was fro Australia and she loved it.  The point is to open your mind and senses and be prepared to find the unknown. Give this party a try the next time you decide to have friends over for a little wine and conversation and let us know how your party went. 

Wine.com