If you're having a party, there's bound to be wine, which means you're bound to have questions.
How much do you need? Will red or white go better with your food? What kind of glasses should you use? Fear not! Leslie Sbrocco, author of Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Sharing and Pairing Wine, has answers.
How many bottles do you buy for a party?
Figure that one bottle of wine will fill five to six glasses.
At a party where people drink mostly wine, plan on about three glasses per person.
Always keep some extra bottles on hand.
What do you serve as guests arrive?
Sparkling wine is festive and can be found in all price ranges.
Prosecco, a great sparkling wine from Italy, costs about $10 and is slightly sweet, making it a great aperitif.
Other great domestic sparkling wines hail from California, Washington State and Long Island, and cost $10 to $25.
Pinot Grigio is perfect for everything from brunch to a formal dinner and is usually inexpensive.
A French Pinot Gris will be more expensive, but one from Oregon will only be around $15
Champagne (the real stuff, from France) will cost at least $20 per bottle.
Recommended Champagnes from $25 to $30:
Pommery Brut Royal
Möet & Chandon White Star
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Yellow Label
Can you offer both red and white regardless of the food?
Because you can't predict what people prefer, choose wines that won't overwhelm the food.
Recommended white wines:
Recommended red wines:
Washington State Merlots
Pinot Noir from Burgundy, California or Oregon
Syrahs from Chile and Australia
Cabernet Sauvignons from France, Chile and California
What type of glasses do you use?
For a formal situation, if you have both red and white, use them. But don't get too hung up on glasses.
Red wines take a bigger bowl to give more aeration and swirling space.
White wines use a smaller bowl to keep the wine cooler.
It's certainly all right to use one glass for both.
What about dessert wines?
The wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert or it will taste thin.
Vin de Glaciere from Bonny Doon Vineyard has a rich, sugary flavor and costs about $17 for a half bottle.
A tawny Port has a lovely nutty flavor, so it's fantastic with nuts, caramels, apple tarts or pumpkin pie.
Sparkling wines that say "demi–sec" on the label are sweeter. Schramsberg has a good one.
What wine makes a good hostess gift? And how much should you spend?
You can always find a good bottle of wine for about $15. Look for an attractive label and a heavy bottle.
Don't spend money on a bag—buy a bottle collar to prevent drips and spills for about $2 to $5.
To give your gift a little flair, tie a recipe for your favorite dish onto the bottle.
Pinot Gris from Oregon or California, or Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir are all nice choices.