How Much Wine Do You Need for a Party?

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A table set for dinner with cake and wine.

Whether you’re planning a quiet get-together or a large dinner party, making sure you have enough wine for guests is, if not your number one job as host, it’s way up there.

How many glasses of wine do you need for each guest?

Most guides recommend 3 glasses per person. That’s easy but it’s a recipe for disappointment. Is your party long or short? Is it a dinner event or a wine tasting? The longer it goes, the more you’ll need. But if you’re serving dinner, you won’t need as much wine since it’s not the star of the show. Also, it’s a good idea to count a few extra people in case someone brings a friend and forgets to tell you ahead of time.

How many glasses in a bottle of wine?

Many experts will say 5 glasses at 5 ounces each. That’s nuts. Four glasses in every bottle is more realistic unless you’re measuring each pour at exactly 5 ounces and if you do that, no one wants to come to your party.

How many glasses do I need?

This is not a science: it’s an art. Usually a guest will have between 1-4 glasses depending on their predilection for wine drinking. More than that and it’s a whole different kind of “event.”

How many bottles do I need?

So, you can assign each guest a number between 1-4 glasses based on how much you think they’ll drink and add up how many glasses you need. Divide that number by 4 and you’ll know how many bottles you need. Or just assume the answer is 3 glasses per person and go with that. You always want a little extra because you don’t want to be in a situation where your guests don’t drink the wine because they think there isn’t enough to go around.

What temperature should I serve wine at?
An outdoor dinner party with wine.

Serve white wine at 55°. In a refrigerator, that will take one-and-a-half hours or 40 minutes in a freezer. Serve red wine at 65°. Twenty minutes in a freezer should do it (don’t forget it in there!).

What is the fastest way to chill white wine?

Submerge the bottle in a container of ice water for 15 minutes.

What glassware should I use?

A standard wine glass works very well for both red and white wines and can even be used as a water glass. For Champagne, however, you want to go with flutes or coupe glasses.

How and what kind of food do I serve for a party?

You should aim for six hors d’oeuvres per person, per hour. Serve some hot food, some cold, some spicy, and some make-ahead dishes so you’re not doing everything at the same time. And don’t forget vegetarian options!

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