Picture of Blind tasting bottle bags
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filled bags.JPG
It’s fun to taste wine blind with friends.  Can you tell Romanian pinot noir from Burgundy when you haven’t had sight of the label or even the shape of the bottle?  Here’s how to make numbered bags to hide the bottle - much less hassle than wrapping them in paper or decanting the contents.  Make as many as you need, but 2 is a good number to start with.

The bags have a drawstring which can be tied in a bow at the back (or secured with an anorak-type cord toggle/grip) either to cover the whole bottle or, when it’s time to pour, to leave the top of the neck poking out while keeping any neck label hidden. 

Full credit to MD Haworth who published a similar Wine Bags I'ble some years ago.  My version is a little simpler, using only one piece of fabric for each bag.

What you will need (per bag)

  1. A 13” x 18” piece of dark coloured lightweight fabric – buy a fat quarter (18” x 22” approx.) for one bag or 3/8 yd of 36” wide fabric will just make two
  2. A scrap of plain or patterned fabric in a contrasting colour
  3. Matching thread
  4. Fabric glue, bonding powder or fusible webbing (such as Vilene Bondaweb)
  5. An 18” shoelace or a similar length of cord or narrow tape, in a colour to match 1 or 2 above
  6. A small piece of tracing paper (greaseproof paper) and a pencil
  7. Tailor’s chalk or a water soluble crayon that will show up on 1 above
  8. A sewing machine with a zigzag stitch (although you could do it by hand instead)
  9. The usual sewing kit: pins, needles, tape measure, small scissors, etc
  10. A pair of dressmaking scissors or a roller cutter, cutting mat and long straight edge
  11. A computer (or some other source of large numerals)
  12. An iron
  13. A cord toggle (optional)
  14. A small safety pin (may not be required)

The bag fabric (1. above) should be washable but it still needs to be black or another dark colour so that red wine stains don’t show.  The bottom of the bag is “bagged out” by sewing across the corners (see Step 4), which means that the fabric shouldn’t be too thick or the bottom will be bulky and unstable when a wine bottle is standing upright in the bag.  A fine, tightly woven cotton lawn is ideal.  Shrink it by washing it in hottish water before cutting out, and shrink the scrap fabric that will be used for the appliqued numbers too, to prevent any differential shrinkage afterwards that might make the numbers wrinkle. 

You could use the same fabric for the appliqued numbers on all the bags you make, but as I was only making two I chose a black and white fabric for bag no.1 and a predominantly red fabric for no.2.  That way I can easily remember that no.1 contains a white wine and no.2 a red one.
Mielameri1 year ago
Ooo what a good idea!
Jayefuu1 year ago

Great idea!