Most times, if you say "WTF" about a wine, it's not a good thing. But the cheeky acronym behind Heather Hudson's brand stands for Wine That's Fun—and it lives up to its name.
Hudson, based in San Diego, works with a hired winemaker in Napa to get the results she wants for her brand. Her endeavor is unique in that her wines are available exclusively through in-home tasting parties where guests place orders or join the wine club. Three bottles for the party come for $19.99 plus tax and shipping, and the format works well for groups of about 10.
As host I received a guide ahead of time with party suggestions, including ideas for snacks to serve. Lazy as I am, I opted to buy cheese and salumi trays from Venissimo—a knockout success, from presentation to flavor. My guests and I got to work dismantling them as Hudson, who arrived with everything from a display table to stemware, gave us an introduction to her product.
After some back-story and a couple of party games, it was time for the best part—the tasting.
Along with a small pour of wine, we were each given tasting notes and an information sheet about the process. For newbies, it offered a chance to learn about wine, and for us winos, it was a reminder that, sometimes, sipping is as good as gulping. When we were through looking, sniffing and tasting, we got to finish the bottles.
Hudson explained that with each wine, she's hoping to appeal to a wide range of wine-drinkers—easily accessible, with nothing too bold. Take, for example, the 2011 Chardonnay, which I found appealing for its light body and citrus notes. Of the wines sampled, I chose to buy the lightly fruity Zinfandel, which is easily paired with food. I have since enjoyed it with pizza—a good option when cheese trays are scarce.
The wine party was a neat introduction to the WTF brand and a great excuse to gather friends, and there was no high-pressure sales pitch. Of course, after a little liquid lubrication, most guests chose to place an order anyway.