How Much Wine Do I Need Per Person?

Kate Miller-Wilson
wine at party

When you're planning a dinner party or a wine tasting get-together, knowing how much wine to have on hand is an important part of hosting. Whether you're having an intimate dinner with one other person or a huge party with all your friends, these guidelines can help you determine how much wine to buy.

Typical Wine Serving and Bottle Size

A typical serving of wine is between four and five ounces; however the size of your wine glass may influence this amount. Unlike a water glass, you don't fill a wine glass all the way. Instead, you leave some space at the top to allow the wine to breathe. To get an idea of how much space to leave, use a measuring cup to pour four or five ounces of wine into your glasses before your event.

A standard-sized bottle of wine is 750 milliliters or about 25 ounces. This means you'll get approximately six four-once glasses or five five-ounce glasses out of a bottle.

Planning for a Get-Together

How much wine you buy will depend on the type of party you're having and the number of guests. This chart can help you purchase wine for a 10-person gathering:

Type of Party Bottles of White Wine Bottles of Red Wine
Dinner party Four Four
Wine and cheese party Four, two each of two varieties Four, two each of two varieties
Wine tasting party Five to seven, one bottle of each variety Five to seven, one bottle of each variety
Cocktail party Three Four

Dinner Party

During a dinner party, the food is the focus. However, you'll also need to consider wine and food pairings. Choose a good wine for the main course, as well as a nice dessert wine and possibly a wine to serve before dinner. It's also a good idea to have two wines for the dinner: one red and one white. That way, guests can choose the type they prefer.

For a dinner party, you'll need the following amounts of wine per person:

  • Pre-dinner wine - one to two servings
  • White wine with dinner - two servings
  • Red wine with dinner - two servings
  • Dessert wine - one serving

Even though some people may choose to drink only red or white, you'll need to have enough of both on hand in case everyone gravitates toward one or the other.

Wine and Cheese Party

By its nature a wine and cheese party focuses very heavily on the wine itself. This means you'll need several different varieties, each designed to go with one of the cheeses you're serving. At these parties, most people serve at least four different types of wine, ranging from dry to sweet. Be sure to include both red and white varieties. Plan on a four-ounce serving or smaller, since sampling different wines is part of the fun.

For a wine and cheese party, you should plan on each person drinking one serving of each wine. If you are serving fewer than four varieties, plan on at least two glasses per person.

Wine Tasting Party

A wine tasting party is all about the wine, but servings are much smaller than they would be at a different type of gathering. In fact, you can easily serve two ounces of wine at a time, allowing guests to try lots of different varieties. Expect to pour about 12 two-ounce servings from each bottle.

A typical wine tasting party will have five to seven different white wines and five to seven different red wines, although you can use more or fewer wines according to your preference and budget.

Cocktail Party

If you're having a cocktail party and serving wine in addition to other drinks and canapés, planning can be a bit challenging. It can be difficult to determine how many people will choose wine versus mixed drinks or beer. According to Food and Wine Magazine, a good guideline is to plan for three glasses of wine for each person for a three-hour cocktail party.

If you are serving both red and white wine, you'll need to split your purchasing. According to Kendall-Jackson, guests tend to drink about 40% white wine and 60% red wine at events held after five o'clock.

Never Worry About Running Out

No matter what kind of party you're having, it's always a good idea to get one extra bottle of wine. That way, if guests drink a bit more than you expected, you'll never have to worry about running out.

How Much Wine Do I Need Per Person?