Summer Parties - Screw It Episode 6

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Confused about what wine to buy, how much to buy and how to serve it during your barbecues this summer? Mike Supple tackles those issues so you can feel confident about your decisions and just relax with all your guests.
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Mike Supple: You're watching "Screw It" on SuppleWine TV. I'm your host Mike Supple. I've gotten a lot of questions recently, now that we're getting into the nice summer season, about what to drink when it comes to barbecues, graduation parties, etc. What to drink, how to serve it and how to make sure all your guests are happy.

Let me tackle first how to serve it. If you're having 30 or 40 people over to your house, you probably don't have that many glasses. It's not really a big issue. If you invite people over for a barbecue, you're hanging out and relaxing. People aren't going to be looking to drink from their little snooty wine glasses to make sure they get the full wine experience. They're looking to hang out, have fun, maybe have a glass of wine while they have a burger and just relax. So you don't need to worry about that.

Go with plastic cups. Something easy, something you can throw away [or recycle], something nobody can break. I would stay away from those big 16oz blue and red cups traditionally for beer just because you don't really want somebody pouring half of your bottle of wine into that cup at a time. You'll be better off with the 4 - 5oz smaller clear plastic ones. That gives a more reasonable drink at a time. People can go back and forth - try a red, try a white, maybe switch to a beer or drink some water.

If you really feel bad about pouring it in a plastic cup like that, a lot of liquor stores and wine shops will carry plastic wine glasses. They usually have a separate piece for the foot of the glass that attaches to the stem. They do look more like a wine glass but the bottoms tend to fall off really easily, they're really tough to swirl in and they don't give you that much more access to the wine than a regular plastic cup would anyway. If you're going for the looks you can go with those - they won't really help you or your guests enjoy the wine that much more. Plastic cups are really the way to go.

In terms of what to pour, there are so many different wines out there and everybody likes something different, so you might think, "Hey, I'm going to appeal to everybody and have a couple of Merlots, maybe a Cabernet, get some Pinot, some Chardonnay, a Riesling and a couple of sparkling wines." That's your choice, but I would stay away from that. When it comes to a party like this, guests aren't really going to know what goes best with the food or what to drink when. It's easy to get confused. The more choices they have the more confusing it is, and the less likely it becomes that people will drink wine. If you're actually looking to save money and keep those bottles of wine for yourself, buy as many different wines as you can, because fewer people will drink.

But, if you want to please all of your guests and have everybody just enjoy themselves, it's really best to stick with one red and one white. This gives your guests fewer options, but they'll feel confident that you picked these wines for a reason, so they will go into it thinking they'll enjoy the wines. Most of the time if somebody goes into a wine thinking they're going to enjoy it, they do. When it comes to picking whites you might want to stay away from Chardonnay. I know that's kind of odd because Chardonnay is the best selling white wine in America. The reason I say that is because people are very picky about their Chardonnays. Even though everybody drinks a ton of it a lot of people really get passionate. They either hate Chardonnay with butter and oak or they love Chardonnay with butter and oak. So if you go with one of those, you risk ostracizing half of your party. It's easy to avoid that by just going with a broader appealing wine like a Sauvignon Blanc. Everybody loves those. Get something from New Zealand - it's fresh, it's crisp, it's got some nice grassiness and grapefruit flavors, it's really easy to drink and it goes well with a large variety of summer barbecue foods or just drinking by itself.

When it comes to red, just go with whatever you like. People that drink red wine are generally going to drink anything you throw out there. If you like it, they're going to try it and like it too. Whether it's Merlot, Pinot, etc., just buy something that you like.

In terms of quantity to buy for the party you definitely don't need to get a bottle of wine per person, particularly if you're going to have beer, soda and water. People aren't going to just sit down and chug your wine. When people are pouring for themselves you can generally count on getting about 4 glasses of wine per bottle. At a party like this, to make sure you have enough, estimate 2 glasses of wine per person and you should be more than covered. Some people will drink more than that, but some people won't have any wine, so this should be a safe estimate. Go out there, get a white and a red, get some plastic cups (don't even worry about it), have a lot of fun and really enjoy what you're doing this summer.

Try some dry Sherry on a hot day. (A good one, not one you get in the grocery store for cooking.)

Try some dry Sherry on a hot day. (A good one, not one you get in the grocery store for cooking.)

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