Planning a dinner for clients and employees is never an easy task. These personal events can and should create lasting memories for all guests. That’s a lot of pressure! So take the time to create an evening no one will forget. A sophisticated wine paired meal with an elegant atmosphere, adventurous food, and good fun to be had by all.

Ask a Professional for Planning Help

Wine is a little world for a huge topic! Sommelier’s train for years and there is always more to learn. No one expects you to know it all right away. So, ask for help when planning a wine-centric event. Caterers, wine merchants, websites, wine forums online, the sommelier organization are all great resources for guidance in the planning stages.

Treat All Guests Like VIPs

Modern entertaining is certainly more relaxed than it used to be, but there are a few hosting rules that never go out of style. The most important entertaining ‘rule’ is that it’s the host’s job to make every guest feel special and welcome.

Be available when a guest arrives to welcome them and make sure they are comfortable right from the get go. If your event has a theme or is organized in a specific way, make sure your guests are aware and excited so that they are never lost or unsure as the evening progresses.

Some people are uncomfortable mixing socially with colleagues and clients, so make sure everyone is comfortable throughout the evening.

Some people are uncomfortable mixing socially and it’s up to the host to make sure everyone is comfortable throughout the evening. Introduce nervous guests to those you know will be welcoming, and encourage conversation about the wine and food to get your guests to relax.

Start With A Bang

Set the tone for your event by wowing your guests right out of the gate. Have a special cocktail, champagne, or apéritif ready for your guests to enjoy. Pair it with small but elegant bite-sized snacks to whet appetites and set the tone for the meal to come.

Think luxury and comfort for these initial snacks – creamy truffle mac and cheese bites, velvety smoked salmon and whipped mascarpone on a pumpernickel crouton, caviar deviled eggs. Yummy!

Take Care of the Wine

When wine is the centerpiece of your evening it’s vital that it is presented at it’s best. For both red and white wines this means paying attention to temperature. Serving white wine at too low a temperature deadens its subtle aromatics. Pull your white wines out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before they will be served.

Offering options in this way will inspire your guests to try new things and talk about the wine with fellow guests.

Inversely, refrigerate red wine for about 20 minutes prior to serving. This removes the harsh edge or finish found in improperly tempered red wine. The proper temperature for whites is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit and about 65 degrees Fahrenheit for reds.

Encourage Your Guests to Have Fun

The best way to do this is to both pair wine and food and serve them in pairs. For example, serve different vintages of the same wine with differently aged cheeses. Or a New Zealand wine and a French wine of the same grape at the same time. Or even pair both a red and a white with one dish to highlight different aspects of the same ingredients.

Pair both a red and a white with one dish to highlight different aspects of the same ingredients.

Offering options in this way will inspire your guests to try new things and talk about the wine with fellow guests. Depending on your food progression you may want to offer multiple wines with each course, each one displaying intriguing differences between vintage, grape, price, location, brand, and more.

End the Evening With Thanks

Hosting a business wine dinner is so much more than event planning. It is a strategic marketing move and brand awareness tactic that presents your brand in a sophisticated and open way. Hopefully, events like these will be the beginning of strong client relationships and strengthen relationships within your company.

So end your evening with thanks. Publicly thank those who helped you, tip any waitstaff or caterers, thank clients for attending. And then, end the evening with fruit, nuts, chocolate and the last of all the wine. Sometimes these final relaxed moments are when the deals are made!

But, most importantly, have fun playing host!

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