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cheers! how to throw a 
wine party at keg party prices 
by Jenn Hulbert 
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My roommate and I had been out of college for more than two years when we came to a humiliating realization: we had yet to throw a grown-up party. With our typical twenty-something budgets, it was far too tempting to fall back on the beer-guzzling bashes of our college days, with their cheap thirty-packs and giant bags of chips. But with the roommate's 25th looming on the horizon, we decided to plan a civilized event that traded in the collegiate keg for swanky wine -- without sending us to the poor house in the process.

Birthdays, promotions, milestones, sheer boredom: twentysomething life is full of occasions that require official celebrations. Parties are sometimes unavoidable, even when mundane matters like rent and school loan payments mean that money is tight. Not to worry, because a chi-chi wine tasting party can be easier and less taxing than you would think. Even the cheapest and laziest among us can throw one of these puppies together.

Yes, a party revolving around wine sounds sophisticated, and sophisticated sounds expensive. Don't be frightened by such words; play the traditional hoity-toity wine tasting for slightly kitschy kicks, and get your guests to help supply the featured goods. The point of this party is to explore and share the many thrills wine has to offer. In your E-vite (www.evite.com), simply ask each guest to bring a different bottle of wine. It can be their favorite wine or something they've always wanted to try. Most importantly, make sure they know that it isn't supposed to be expensive. After all, your friends are as new to this adult thing as you are, and you don't want to scare them away.

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