The Best Way to Figure Out How Much Wine You Need for a Party


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There’s a good chance you were gifted a number of wine bottles over the holidays. There’s a greater chance that you’ve already worked your way through them, and it’s time to hit the wine store for your next event. Whether you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or you’ve been assigned “wine duty” for a casual get-together, the pressure is on. You want to select something classy yet affordableand more importantly, you want to make sure you bring enough wine for everyone in attendance.

Of course your party doesn’t need wine to enjoy each other’s company, but nothing kills the mood quite like reaching the bottom of the last bottle far too soon. Luckily, we have a simple formula for figuring out how to estimate the perfect amount of wine so that no one is left wanting. Here are some helpful guidelines to always tell exactly how much wine you’ll need for any kind of party.

Wine math basics

The amount of wine you pour on your own time is none of my business. A typical, restaurant-standard serving of wine, however, is between four and five ounces. A standard-sized bottle of wine is 750 milliliters (or 25 ounces). This means you’ll get approximately six four-once glasses or five five-ounce glasses out of a bottle, the latter being more common. And when split between friends, it’s even safer to say that one bottle of wine turns into four glasses over five, since your party-goers will likely have a more liberal pour than trained servers at a restaurant.

Calculating how much wine you’ll need

You may have heard that you should bring one wine bottle per person, especially if you figure that everyone is drinking around four glasses total by the end of the night. That’s usually works out pretty well. However, since that “bottle per person” rule doesn’t factor in the type of night you’re having, we propose a more specific rule of thumb (found on Love to Know): Calculate one bottle of wine per two people for every two hours of merriment.

Let’s do some math

Let’s say you’re having a four-hour party for 10 people. You’ll need one bottle of wine for every two guests, twice over. This equals 10 bottles of wine, which follows the “one bottle per person” rule.

In another instance, maybe you’re having a two-hour “book club.” If you have 10 book club members, you should grab at least five bottles of wine (at least).

Better safe than sorry

It’s always better to err on the side of having extra wine over running out. First calculate how much you’ll need, and then buy an additional bottle or two, so you don’t spend the night worrying about anyone drinking slightly more than their share.

For more details about the types of wine you should get for different kinds of parties, check out this post on Love to Know. Oh, and if you’re on wine duty not for a classy dinner party, but for a friend who just got laid off/dumped/rejected? Go ahead and forget our math, and bring as much wine as you can carry.