Wine is an incredibly popular beverage option – especially when it comes to holding a special event! Whether it’s a company outing, celebration or special event, having a great menu includes having wonderful wines to go with it. Swank Events recently sat down with Kim Simone of Vinitas WineWorks to talk about some frequently asked questions when it comes to wine and event planning. Kim is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a French Wine Scholar who brings her knowledge of wine to groups and consumers through events and courses.

Vinitas WineWorks Kim Simone

Kim Simone Photo Credit Verdi Studio

Swank: What are some of the most frequently asked questions you get when it comes to wine and events?

Kim: Quantity! How much should you have on-hand based on the number of people you are expecting. The rule of thumb is 1 drink per person, per hour. From there you would evaluate your wine types based on the menu you are planning to serve. If you weare holding a tasting as part of your corporate event, then you generally only offer an ounce of each wine, so the quantity will go down significantly.

Swank: You mentioned menu planning, so that brings us to our next question: what wines should we be looking to serve?

Kim: Traditionally, you should have at least one red and one white but the key is to offer varieties that are going to be “flexible” with your food choices – meaning they pair well with many different types of food. My go-to types are Pinot Noir, light Chardonnays (ones that are “unoaked”), and Rieslings that are not overly sweet.

Swank: Nowadays, wine drinking seems to be more popular than ever; and as a result, there is an increased focus on food and wine pairings. We want to know – how does one make sure they are pairing correctly?

Kim: When pairing with food, focus on what the wine does in your mouth, how it feels. What’s important is the weight of the wine in relation to the weight of your dishes. Is it sweet or tart, heavy or light vs. just the flavor profile. This will really help you focus on what you like and how it goes with your food. A great example is off-dry Riesling – which might have a bad “rap” out there, but you should give it a try with spicy food like Thai, Indian dishes or sushi, as it creates a great balance of sweet and tart with the spicy – which goes back to what you are experiencing in your mouth.

Swank: Tell us more about some of the popular seasonal wines out there right now like Rosé.

Kim: It is a great gateway wine and Rosé is NOT your mom’s White Zinfandel! It’s grown in popularity over the past 3 years and for good reason, as it pairs wonderfully with summer seafood favorites like fish, seasonal veggies and shrimp! Even though it’s made from red grapes, there are a lot of fruit notes in the different varieties and styles – from strawberry, to raspberry and watermelon. If you are going to be circulating appetizers or have a varied buffet – Rosé is a great choice.

Swank: What’s another factor people need to keep in mind when planning an event with wine?

Kim: Serving temperature! Most people serve their reds too warm and whites too cold! Reds should be chilled a little before serving and white wine should be out of the fridge or cooler 20-30 minutes before serving. If you are having an outdoor event then you should chill both and protect against the wines getting hot.

Our thanks to Kim of Vinitas WineWorks for these amazing points of advice when serving wine at an event!