Host Your Own South African Wine Tasting Session

Hosting a wine tasting session can be great fun and something different to do next time you gather your friends round for the evening. Not only do you get to learn new flavours and catch up with on the latest in each other’s lives, but you get to drink wine, duh!

In this blog article from Susmans Biltong, we will talk you through everything that you will need to host your own wine tasting event. From themes, to entertainment, catering and the best South African wines to choose, we’ve got it covered!

So, have you got your notebook handy? Let’s start.

Make it themed

If there’s one thing that can make an already exciting wine tasting evening even better, then it’s a theme! This is an opportunity to set the scene and to really hype up the event by getting your guests involved in some added entertainment.

We recommend offering a South African theme, where you can ‘visit’ different areas of the country with each wine. You could ask guests to come dressed in the kit for a South African rugby team or in the colours of the South African flag (black, yellow, green, red, blue and white). You can add to the atmosphere by decorating your room with South African flags

South African Flag

Serve some snacks

Don’t let your guests go hungry! Give them something to nibble at by laying out a spread of tasty snacks that they can reach for during the wine tasting event.

To coincide with the South African wine tasting theme, we have some fantastic traditional South African snacks for your guests to enjoy. We recommend placing out a few different varieties of biltong to try, including our original Best biltong pack, garlic biltong, peri-peri biltong and biltong chilli bites. Put out a range of South African crisps brands, including Simba and Fritos.

As well as something savoury, provide some sweet treats from our selection of South African biscuits, desserts and confectionary shop.

Snacks for dinner party

Provide some fine wine

Let’s not forget the most important thing for your wine tasting event… The wine!

At Susmans Biltong, we offer a wide variety of traditional South African wines, from best-selling brands including JC La Roux wines, Bellingham wines and Graca wines. For a great wine tasting session, we recommend offering no less than five different wines to try.

Luckily for you, we have saved you the research and picked out five best South African wines for you to purchase for your event.

1. Bellingham Rose Wine

The Bellingham Rose wines are made with grapes harvested at optimum ripeness to allow full flavour development and produce the perfect wine! The grapes are crushed and fermented on the skins for 8 hours to obtain desired colour and flavour extraction. The Bellingham wine is then drawn off the skins and cold fermentation is continued until the desired sugar level is reached.

This South African wine is a brilliant clear pink in colour with an orange tinge. It has a distinct nose and is rich in freshly crushed strawberry flavours, with ripe cherry nuances and hints of Turkish delight and spice. It is delicately sweet with a refreshing crisp finish and a fruity aftertaste.

2. Tassenburg

This South African red wine is made mostly from Cinsaut and a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon plus Pinot Noir, with an alcohol content of 12.5%. It is affectionately known as ‘Good Old Tassies’ in South Africa showing the people’s fondness towards it. Tassenberg is a dry South African wine with a ruby red colour, fruity palate, and a nice light texture. It contains flavours of cherry and plum to create a succulent taste. 

3. Nederburg Rose

This South African wine is a blend of 56% Cinsaut, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 4% Pinotage, giving you plenty to discuss during your wine tasting session! This beautiful rose wine is pale orange in colour and has hints of strawberry. It is a clean, fruity and refreshing wine made from superior grapes.

The Nederburg wine farm is situated in Paarl, South Africa, one of the most premium wine producing regions. These South African wines have always been highly acclaimed, winning awards and accolades both locally and abroad since the label's inception in 1937. Nederburg grapes are sourced from a variety of the Cape's finest vineyards to ensure an ideal matching between terroir and varietal and to guarantee a steady supply of high-quality grapes.

4. Nederburg Edelrood

Another one from Nederburg, this is a South African red wine made from a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Merlot. This ruby red wine has aromas of strawberries and cherries with mocha and vanilla background nuances. In terms of taste, this traditional South African wine is soft and juicy with ripe fruit and spicy vanilla flavours and soft tannins.

To produce this stunning red wine, the fruit was crushed and fermented on the skins in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks at 25° C to 28° C for 10 to 14 days. Upon completion of malolactic fermentation the wine was matured in a combination of new-, second- and third-fill barrels for a period of 8 to 12 months.

5. JC Le Roux Sauvignon Blanc

Throw something sparkling into the mix with this JC Le Roux wine!

In South Africa, the House of J C Le Roux, under the distinguished patronage of The Bergkelder, specialises in offering wine lovers sparkling wines of varied character to suit different tastes.

This is a dry but fruity South African sparkling wine with tones of tropical fruits including lychees, pineapples and granadillas. The JC Le Roux Sauvignon Blanc wine is a refreshing and lively bubbly which is light on the palate. 

A platter of wines

Teach the wine tasting techniques

We want to keep things enjoyable, so don’t go for any over-complicated wine tasting techniques at your event. Instead, follow the 5 S’s- See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savour. We definitely aren’t recommending any spit it back into a bucket nonsense, what a waste of good wine!

  1. See- What colour is the wine? Is it clear, cloudy or dull? Judge the wines colour best by placing a white sheet of paper behind it. The colour of the wine will give a clue about the grape variety used to produce the time and whether the wine has been aged in wood at all.
  2. Swirl- Aerate the wine by swirling it a few times. You will find that sweeter wines are more likely to leave streaks inside the glass when swirled, this is because they are generally denser.
  3. Sniff- What can you smell? Consider what aroma you are smelling. Perhaps you can smell a particular fruit or spice? Discuss your opinions with the room and have a guess at what you can smell.
  4. Sip- How does it taste? Take a large sip and hold this on your tongue for 5 seconds to experience the full flavour. Can you taste sweetness, bitterness, fruitiness, acidity? How strong is the alcohol?
  5. Savour- Finish by swallowing the sip of wine and see if the taste lingers in your mouth. Is there a particular after taste that you experience?

Wine tasting event

Now that we've covered all areas, we hope that you have a fabulous, enjoyable wine tasting experience with your friends!

Whilst we picked out just five of our favourites, we have a wide variety of traditional South African wines, including reds, whites, roses and South African sparkling wines. To shop our full range of stunning South African wine brands and varieties, click here.