Yes, even on a tight budget you can afford to have a cheap chic wine tasting party! It's a wonderful way to celebrate any occasion and can be adapted to any taste and budget.
Okay, here's the plan.... invite about 8 to 10 people (4-5 couples) or more, or less. Ask each person/couple to bring a bottle of wine according to the type of wine and price range that you've designated. For example... a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for under $10.00. Or, you could choose all Chardonneys or Merlots, etc... depending on your taste. Designate an amount per bottle ($7.00 or less, $10.00 or less, $15.00 or less, etc...). Have each person/couple bring a favorite hors d'oeuvre (appetizer) and their own wine glass to use during the party. You can make little name tags for each glass using a small piece of paper and punching a hole in the corner. Then use a piece of string, yarn or ribbon to tie the tag to the stem of each wine glass and have the person write their name on it. This insures being able to keep track of one's own glass. After five or six tastes of wine a person can get confused and possibly loose their glass, ha ha!
As each person arrives at the party place the bottle of wine they've brought into a brown paper lunch sack. Tie a piece of string, yarn or ribbon around the top of the sack, or put a piece of tape around it. Using a marker pen, write an assigned number on each sack beginning with the number 1, for the first bottle that arrives, etc.... Give each person a piece of paper and a pen . Instruct them that while tasting a particular bottle to write down the corresponding number of the bag and any tasting notes about that wine next to the number. Then give that wine a rating between 1 and 5 (5 being best, 1 being worst). After everyone has tasted and rated all of the wines, gather all of the papers and add up the scores to determine the best and worst rated bottles. Then announce the scores and unveil the bottles to reveal each wine and how it was rated! It is fun to have a small prize for the person that brought the top rated wine. This could be a bottle of wine, a corkscrew or a small candle, etc... It is also fun to have a "booby prize" for the worst rated wine. This could be something like a silly candy from the Dollar Store or a second hand book or funny candle, etc... from the thrift store. Use your imagination!
If you want to something extra for your party, you could make a big pot of soup and serve it in mugs with warm french bread after the appetizers and the wine tastings are finished. My "Rainy Day Chicken Soup" is perfect for this! The recipe is on this blog under the title "Chicken Soup for the Anxiety Ridden Soul". I will be posting a recipe for Albondigas (meatball soup) here very soon. This would be great to serve with red wines. If you are having a party during the spring or summer you could make a chicken salad or pasta salad and serve it with bread. See my "cheap chic pasta salad" on this blog under the title "Too Hot to Cook".
Now for a dessert idea.... make cupcakes (from a cake mix) and frost with a can of frosting. Make a fresh pot of coffee (Folgers is cheap) and/or some herbal tea (Dollar Store) with honey, lemon and milk!
Wow, you really can have a chic wine tasting party for very cheap!!!