Sign up for the Daily Sip

Your daily dose of wine knowledge.
Fun, short emails featuring wines, winemakers, regions, gadgets and more.

Email Address

Mixing it Up: Jazzing Up Your Next Date with Wine

By Alyssa Rapp, the Founder and CEO of, the premier online wine community where wine enthusiasts come to learn about wine, share tasting notes, and buy wine. Alyssa is also the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips.

At a dinner party on Saturday night in San Francisco, I decided to shake up the wine plan. There were 6 people, 3 couples, so I ordered 3 bottles of wine, asked the server to provide us each with 3 glasses, and we created a do-it-yourself wine tasting. Each attendee naturally consumed more of the wines he/she enjoyed most, and less of the others. By the end, swaps were being made for the remaining tastes in various glasses.

It occurred to me that this strategy of creating a flight of tastings would not only be something doable and fun to jazz up a dinner party, but a perfect “ice breaker” to test how adventuresome your date, thus potential significant other, might be.

Here’s a 3-step process of how to jazz up your next date, using wine as your guide:

1) Start the evening with a glass of bubbly

It’s the perfect ice breaker- it’s festive, it’s classy, it’s fun- and a great palate awakener.

2) Pick a Glass of White Wine …to Share

Sharing a glass of wine is inherently romantic- and the beauty of sharing a glass is that if one person doesn’t enjoy it, he/she doesn’t have to finish it!

White wine that provide bright acidity are often the best pairings or complements to a salad or soup course. These types of white wines include: Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, or Chenin Blanc. If you’re wanting to play it a little safer, with a little more full and lush white wine, perhaps give Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay a try.

If you learn he/she just doesn’t do white, you can substitute a super light-bodied red (see below) for the “white” course.

3) Pick Two Glasses of Red Wine…to Share

Asking the sommelier or server for one glass each of red wine, then each for an empty glass to go alongside it, is a great way to enable each of you to have a hearty tasting of two different wines with your second course.

It’s always fun to pick wines with contrasting style profiles- a lighter-bodies, smooth and elegant Pinot or Merlot or Tempranillo for one, and an earthier, more tannic, bigger and more powerful red to taste alongside it like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvigon, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel, etc.

If you notice that your date loves one of the two reds, of course you could swoon him/her by offering up your half of that glass. That is, unless you also love it, in which case you already know you’re the perfect (wine) match.