Wondering about how many bottles of wine to serve at your next dinner party or get-together? Most hosts don’t want to be left with too many bottles of unopened wine, or worse yet to run out of wine. These estimations will help you plan.
Dinner Party: One 750 ml bottle (typical size) contains 25.4 ounces. Estimate that a glass of wine per person is 5 oz. This means that there are approximately five glasses of wine in every bottle. Count on serving at least two glasses of wine per person during a meal. Don't forget to account for if you are serving champagne or another wine as an aperitif, and also if you are serving port or a late harvest sweet wine with the dessert or cheese course. The average pour for a dessert wine or port is approximately 2-3 ounces, so you will get approximately 8 servings out of a 750 ml bottle of port or dessert wine. Many late harvest and dessert wines come in 375 ml bottles, which should yield 4-5 servings.
Cocktail Party: If you are hosting a cocktail party for two hours, estimate that each guest will consume 1-2 drinks the first hour and one drink the second hour. If the party will run longer than two hours, account for one additional glass of wine per each additional hour. Multiply your estimated amount of guests by the estimated amount of glasses per person, then divide by 5 to obtain the number of bottles you will need.
(Remember, always provide plenty of non-alcoholic drink options for guests and always drink responsibly.)
Food & Wine Pairing
The old “rule” of serving white wine with fish and red wine with meat has become obsolete. Wine is about enjoying time with friends and family, and as an enhancement to your lifestyle. That said, there are a few key tips to remember when pairing wine and food.
Food and wine work best together when their flavors complement or enhance each other. For instance, you wouldn't choose to pair a Pinot Noir, which is a lighter-bodied, delicate wine, with a rack of baby-back ribs slathered in BBQ sauce. However, a California Zinfandel could stand up to the meat's bold flavors.
Similarly, a wine’s character can enhance a dish. Fresh, briny oysters go beautifully with a crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blanc, but a fruit-forward, medium-bodied, buttery California Chardonnay would be better paired with grilled salmon in a sage buerre blanc sauce.
The structure of a wine can also play a part: young Cabernet Sauvignon full of tannins can be an excellent partner to the char of a grilled New York strip steak, while and the exotic fruit flavors and creaminess of a Chenin Blanc are a perfect match for a chicken coconut curry. Spice and heat provide unique challenges, but to cool the burn, wine does the trick. An adobo-rubbed carne asada is the perfect challenge for a Sparkling Shiraz, and the residual sugar of an off-dry Riesling can tame even the hottest of Thai chiles. Short on time, imagination or culinary inspiration? As Wine Spectator advises, "If you like a wine, drink it with food you enjoy and you're bound to be satisfied."
Trust your own palate: Wine is about discovering your own preferences. Do not be afraid to try new varietals or appellations. The unique and endless combination of styles and flavors is what makes wine so great.