How to Build a Wine Flight
By Laura Fagan Published January 2022
Wine flights are a fantastic option for sampling multiple bottles in one sitting. For wine industry professionals and enthusiasts alike - flights are a functional way to compare and explore new wines side-by-side. Flights also create an opportunity to sip, connect and share dialogue about wine. For that reason, they have become extremely popular in wine bars, restaurants, tasting rooms, in home kitchens and dining rooms. If you’re ready to build your own wine flight and host a tasting, ABC’s Indy shares her steps to build a taster along with some helpful tips for hosting.
Where do you start?
Before you start browsing the wine aisles at ABC, you’ll want to develop a theme to help frame or group your wine selections. The goal is to be able to compare and converse about several wines that can fly your tasting around the world – hence the name. What’s fun about flights is that the options are limitless. Your flight can feature different vintages, varietals, or regions. Sparkling wines in different styles or oaked versus unoaked chardonnays are just two examples. Indy uses an Old World and New World wine grouping as an illustration for bottle selections. New World wines are those that are made outside of Europe’s traditional winemaking regions – California, Australia, Argentina and Chile for example. Old World wines refer to wines made in Europe – from France, Italy, Germany and Spain, the mother-countries of winemaking.
How do you select wines?
Once you have a theme, the next step is to shop. You will want to select wines that offer a range and different drinking experiences through the flight. Strive to select and build wines strategically in your theme. The tasting order is very important and should always be organized from the lightest to the boldest wine. Indy’s flight leads with a Chablis, to a chardonnay, an Old World red and finishes with a bold cabernet sauvignon.
Indy’s suggested New and Old World flight selections:
Old World White
New World White
Old World Red
New World Red
How many wines should be included?
Indy advises no more than six wines to any flight. You’ll want to give each glass protected time for tasting, and you want to avoid waste. Or – you can invest in a preservation tool, like the Coravin Wine System, and then waste will never be a worry.
How do you pour, prepare and serve the flight?
When it comes to pouring and serving – Indy offers some practiced tips to prepare your wine flight, the tasting and the fun.
Label your wines – As guests taste, they will want to know details about each wine which is important for conversation. You can create labels or simply leave the bottles visible for tasters to browse.
Pour sample sizes – One-to-three-ounce sample pours work best; you will not want full pours for a wine flight. Remind guests to smell and observe the color of each pour as well.
Serve water – Having drinking water available is important to allow for palate cleansing during the tasting. The goal is to be able to detect and enjoy differences in each wine. Without water, flavors or unique subtle characteristics of each wine may become blurred.
Have questions ready – Conversation starters and questions are great to have at the ready when hosting. Where the wine is from, its style, flavor profile, aroma, body, alcohol percentage, or vintage are all great speaking points to propose to tasters.
Now that you’ve got the steps and tips – it’s time to design and drink! If you need help selecting the right wines for your flight, stop into your local ABC store and enlist the help of one of our expert wine consultants.
Ready to build your own wine flight? Shop all our wine selections here or snag Indy’s flight selections above!