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How Much Wine Should You Bring to a Dinner Party?

How Much Wine Should You Bring to a Dinner Party?

You’re invited to a dinner party but are in a last-minute scramble to figure out what to bring the host. You might decide on wine, but you don’t know if you’ll bring enough wine or even the right kind. How much wine should you bring to a dinner party?

When bringing wine to a dinner party, bring at least one bottle per person you’re bringing with you. If you feel that one bottle is insufficient between you and the host, an additional bottle is also great. They might not open it during your stay, but it is still essential to bring it along.

At the end of the day, bringing at least one bottle is customary and will show your gratitude towards the invite. After all, if more guests show up, they will likely bring a bottle along too. Below, we will highlight what kind of wine, how much to bring, and how much you should spend. 

Visiting Friends? Here’s Your Wine Buying Guide!

When it comes time to purchase a gift for your host, don’t despair. If your host drinks alcohol, wine is a great choice and can be simple and cheap. Each situation is different, but as long as you bring something along for your host, you should be in great shape.

Bring One Bottle Of Wine Per Guest 

When going to a dinner party, you should bring at least one bottle of wine. If you’re coming to the dinner party alone, one bottle should be enough unless you expect to open the wine and drink with the host. 

In this case, a second bottle might be good.

If you’re bringing a plus one or partner, consider bringing a bottle of wine per person coming along with you. If your plus one is not much of a drinker, or you’re sure you won’t be drinking the wine that night, you can bring along a secondary gift of chocolates or flowers.

When you bring wine as a gift, don’t expect it to be consumed that night unless otherwise specified. 

It’s the host’s bottle to keep if it goes unused throughout the night. If the dinner party is significant, it’s unlikely your bottle of wine is being used to serve all guests, so keep that in mind when making your selections. 

The Label Does Matter…Kind Of 

Consider spending at least $20 per bottle when bringing wine for a gift if you know the party is on the fancier side. You don’t have to purchase anything fancy, but staying away from the cheap stuff can show you put thought and care into your gift choice. 

If you believe the food at the dinner party is expensive and takes a lot of time to prepare, you can always purchase a bottle that you believe will add up to about ⅕ of the cost of preparing the meal. 

There are plenty of wines in all price ranges, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed. 

If you need suggestions in a specific price range, you can always ask someone in the store for help. Stay away from anything boxed or known to be a cheaper brand of wine. 

Reminder: Your host is not only spending the money on all the ingredients for the food they’re crafting to feed you but also spending all the time getting everything prepped. For this, they deserve a little something, even if $20 seems steep. 

Pick Wine Based on the Menu 

If you believe you’ll be drinking the wine on the night of the dinner party, you can call aheadand politely ask the host what they will be making so you can choose a wine that goes with your meal. 

If you have time, bringing the wine chilled is an excellent touch so you can open the bottle to immediately enjoy. When pairing wine, you will want to match the wine to the most significant flavor profile of the dish. 

Below is a simple guide to choosing which wines pair best with which meals: 

  • Chardonnay goes great with fish.
  • Cabernet and red meat pair well. 
  • Pinot Noir pairs well with earthy flavors, such as mushrooms.
  • Pinot Grigio goes well with most seafood.
  • Sauvignon Blanc is great with tart foods, such as a tart salad dressing.
  • Rosé is great with cheese.
  • Riesling and spicy flavors go well together.
  • Zinfandel is excellent for rich plates, such as mousse. 

Many bottles of wine also have pairing recommendations on the back, so if you have a general idea of what is being made, this can be a helpful guide.

If you don’t expect to open the wine on the night of the dinner party or are unsure, you can bring something you think the host will like or hasn’t tried. Don’t worry too much about the type because if you’re unsure, you can always bring along something you recommend. 

If you want to know what wine the host likes, don’t hesitate to ask them if you are close. 

A bottle of red wine is always a safe bet if you don’t want to ask the host about their wine preference. You can learn more great tips like this in the Dinner Party Ebook, which covers dinner party etiquette, how to prepare, table settings, and so much more. 

It also has plenty of great recipes if you’re thinking about hosting a dinner party. 

What If My Host Doesn’t Drink? 

Sobriety and an alcohol-free lifestyle are trending across the board, but you may also be in a situation where your host is alcohol-free because they are pregnant or because of religious reasons.

If your host doesn’t drink, wine might not be a good gift option. However, in most cases, it’s okay to ask your host, as others may be drinking. There are still plenty of ways you can show your gratitude. 

Some gift ideas include:

  • Olive Oil
  • Flowers in a vase
  • Sea salt or other fancy seasonings
  • Seltzer or other non-alcoholic drink
  • Chocolates
  • A game to play at the party
  • A thoughtful card with a homemade treat  

If you know your host well, you can bring something meaningful to them which is not too expensive. A gift worth at least $20 will do. You can use whatever you would spend on wine on this gift instead. 

Now, if you aren’t sure, a safer approach would be to ask the host what they might like and bring that. However, it can sometimes get awkward. Check my guide on how to ask what to bring to a dinner party to get an idea of how to approach this conversation. 


Bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party is a thoughtful way to thank the host for their hospitality. It’s also a great way to add flavor and atmosphere to the gathering.

It's important to remember that not everyone enjoys the same type of wine, so it's best to bring at least one bottle that can appeal to various tastes. Bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party is a great way to show appreciation and ensure that the evening is a success.