The Ultimate Guide to Wine Flight

Many people love how wine affects the sense of taste, sight, and smell. Many wine varietals embody different notes, flavors, and origins. An excellent way to enjoy this drink is through a wine flight. So, what are wine flights? This article can answer this question and provide tips for organizing a wine flight event.

What is a Wine Flight?


The term “wine flight” refers to a group of preselected wines offered for tasting. A host places the wine glasses on a special board or tray. These horizontal boards have shallow holes that can hold each glass securely. Usually, different types of red or white wine are served in a wine flight.

A wine flight is a unique wine tasting event for wine lovers, sommeliers, and wine business owners. It’s an opportunity to present three or more wine types that revolve around a cohesive theme.

What’s the origin of the term “wine flight”?

The origin of this unique term has many versions. Some romantics reveal that the word makes people reminisce about travel. Wines come from different regions worldwide, so tasting them brings fond memories of trips and adventures.

Another theory is that “flight” means “a group of.”It’s a collective noun that describes a group of birds, stairs, or dancers. In the case of alcohol, the term flight refers to a group of wines.

What is the history of the wine flight event?


Tasting and comparing wines have been a practice for hundreds of years. During the 14th century, people flocked to wine tasting events. A few years later, people started calling the experience “flight tasting”.

Organizers divide the tastings into sessions where a group of participants tries a wide variety of wines. The tasters rate and compare the wine based on color, smell, taste, and texture.

To check for the color, tasters place the wine glass beside a piece of wood. They base all other attributes on tasting, smelling, and swirling every glass of wine. Participants would then record their observations after the tasting phase.

Why do people hold wine-flight events?

Restaurants, bars, and wineries hold wine flight events to move excess inventory, introduce new wine options, or increase sales. It is also a venue to educate wine enthusiasts and help them identify the subtle hints of flavor.

Another goal of a wine flight is to compare two variants of the same wine type. It is an excellent way to master wine tasting methods.

What are good wine flight ideas?


A great wine flight revolves around a specific theme. Focusing on a cohesive group makes comparing and appreciating the wines easier. Four to six types of wine would be the ideal number. Going beyond that would make the tasting confusing to one’s palate.

The following are recommended groupings for your wine flight.

Young vs. Aged wines

People just starting to appreciate wines may find it hard to understand what makes aged wines valuable. Grouping aged and young wines in a flight allows your guests to identify the aromas and depth of an aged wine’s flavors. You can help cultivate wine appreciation in first-timers.

Champagne vs. Prosecco

A usual discussion in the wine world is the differences between Champagne and Prosecco. Including these two in a wine flight can be a good way of educating your guests about what makes each type unique. It would be interesting to note that these two are sparkling wines, but the similarities end there.

New World vs. Old World Wines

Your well-traveled guests would love to engage in a lively discussion about New World and Old World wines. Including them in your wine flight will open conversations about the merits of the wines from Europe or the US.

Regional Wines

Regional Wine Flights are an excellent way to showcase wine varieties from a specific region. You can include interesting geographical details about the part for a more exciting wine flight event.

Wine Suggestions for Each Flight Theme

Theme What  You Can Serve in Your Wine Flight
Young vs. Aged 10, 20,30-year-old and Late Bottle Vintage (LBV) Tawny Port
Champagne vs. Prosecco Non-vintage Brut Champagne, Brut Valdobbiadene Prosseco Superiore, Spanish Cava, or an American Sparkling Wine
New World vs. Old World New World Pinot Gris from New Zealand or Australia and Old World Pinot Gris from France, Germany, or Italy.
Regional Wines Bordeaux Blends from France and Argentina

How to Host a Wine Flight Tasting Event

Are you a wine lover and would like to share your passion with friends? Suppose you own a restaurant and would like to introduce some wines to your menu. A wine flight tasting event is a brilliant idea to realize your goals. It can be a fun, memorable, and educational experience for your guests.

Here are some tips on organizing a wine flight tasting party.

1. Prepare a wine tasting sheet


You can find ready-made printable templates and tasting guides on the internet. You may also make one for a more personalized feel. Remember to include circles on top of the sheet corresponding to the number of wines on your flight. The circles will serve as wine holders, so measure them accordingly.

Divide the column under the circles into three rows. Each section will correspond to the following wine attributes:

  • Looks
  • Smell
  • Taste

Then add another section for notes and other comments. This part will allow guests to write particular observations about the wine they want to remember.

2. Label the wines

Please make sure to label the wines before serving them. You may add some information about the wine to guide guests on their journey. It’s also best to mark the circles on the tasting sheet for a more organized program flow.

3. Pour the right amount of sample sizes


A wine flight does not require full pours. A sample of one to two ounces per glass is standard for tasting purposes. Encourage guests to observe and smell the wine in every pour.

4. Serve water

It’s best to have drinking water accessible to the guests to cleanse the palate after every glass of wine. It allows participants to savor the differences and unique characteristics of the wine flight.

5. Offer tasty snacks or pairings


Accompany your wine flight with snacks and appetizers to provide a fantastic sensory experience for your guests. The best options would be soft and hard cheeses, nuts, fresh fruit, and cold cuts.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Wine Flight

Whether you’re organizing a wine flight event or attending one, you may have some questions looming in your head. A wine flight may be an unfamiliar concept for many people. Still, it’s an excellent way to appreciate a beloved drink.

Here are some questions and answers about wine flights to help you start your journey.

What are the benefits of attending a wine flight event?


Wines can be costly, so it can be frustrating to buy varieties that you won’t find delicious. Tasting a wine flight can allow you to identify which texture, aromas, and notes are suitable for your palate.

Enjoying a wine flight with a group of wine lovers can be a great learning experience. You can use what you’ve learned in building your wine collection or use the knowledge to serve the best wine at parties.

What will I learn from a wine flight?


A wine flight allows you to compare and contrast the features of each wine within a theme. It’s also an excellent opportunity to examine each wine variety for better appreciation. It would help if you take note of the following wine attributes:

  • Looks – take note of the color, color intensity, wine sediment, and viscosity
  • Smell – sniff the wine to check if the aroma is flowery sweet, savory, spicy, or fruity.
  • Taste – carefully savor each sip and note the wine’s sapidity, sweetness, tannin, and body.

Most wine flight tasting sessions also include a history of each wine and the winery where it originated. You can learn about the manufacturing methods and the origin of each wine served at the wine flight.

Remember to note your observations and learnings on your wine tasting sheet. Maximize the session and ask questions. Every wine flight is an adventure waiting to be discovered.

What is a good wine flight?

A good wine flight has an educational component tied to it. Another notable feature of a good wine flight revolves around a cohesive theme.

Go on a Wine Flight Adventure

Now that we’ve answered your question “What are wine flights?” it’s time to organize or attend one. It’s an excellent opportunity to appreciate this well-loved beverage and share your passion with loved ones. Check out wine flight cases from your local wine shop, or build your flight using the above guide. Cheers!

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