Star Trek: Voyager was groundbreaking in ways unimaginable. A few months ago, I binged a few episodes at the subliminal encouragement of one of my best friends and fell in love. The sass, the turbolift lizards, the First Officer face tattoos, did I mention the sass? With a female at the helm and smarts abounding, the science and humanity of the show, as well as exceptional acting on all fronts, made me a fan of this seriously underrated series. How does one show respect to such an esteemed show? Throw a party, of course.
“Seven of Wine” was a party concept devised one inebriated evening at a wine bar in Santa Monica. I love wine. I now love Star Trek: Voyager. Why not the twain meet? Feeling emblazoned, I knew my party needed a title whose play on words would be unmatched. “Seven of Wine” (playing on the name Seven of Nine, a character on the series) felt right, so it stuck.
The concept is simple: have a tasting party of seven wines and enhance the sensorial adventure by watching Star Trek: Voyager episodes. After setting up a Facebook invite with a hard RSVP deadline, I had two weeks to plan the soiree with a budget of around $200 (each of the 10 guests contributed $15 for their share of the wine). Although I predicted the event to only run for four hours, the party Caretaker made sure our course was also deviated, making the fun last seven hours, well into the early morning.
So, how hard is it to throw a Star Trek: Voyager party with nothing but your wits? Behold this, my Captain’s log, to inspire the most unsure Ensign to have their own themed party.
Ratings aren’t everything but when going blind into setting up your own wine tasting, it never hurts to start with an expert opinion. My mission was to find great wine and not break the bank. Wine.com is a straightforward website which boasts one wonderfully curated list: 90+ Point Wines Under $20. This was my go-to online source when creating the seven-bottle sampling for the evening.
What’s great about this site (and no this isn’t a paid endorsement, though I would happily accept) is its price point and selection. Outside of a mom-and-pop shop you can trust, you won’t find this caliber of wine at any store at these prices. Believe you me, I tried.
To play on theme beyond word play, I also searched for Star Trek wines. Do they exist? Yes. Where? vinport.com. Although the price point is high, these wines hit the mark on novelty. To honor my favorite half Klingon Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres, a bottle of the Klingon Bloodwine was a necessary purchase. The wine description alone is worth the website visit.
After it was determined I would be traveling with a compliment of 10, I knew I would have to ration my pours per bottle. Luckily, the disposable glasses I used were smaller, so a smaller pour would still appear sufficient. As the average wine pours around 4-5 full glasses of wine, I half poured that amount per crew member and was able to accommodate all. To span the time between official “tastings,” I made a last-minute decision to make available what I considered stand-by wines (six in total). These wines matched the varietal of the pair being sampled. Guests could nurse these bottles while watching an episodes. For future missions, I would opt to buy more of the wines being sampled, as the price points were about equal, and they would have paid for themselves in shipping. My hesitation was taste, but what’s a cruise in space without a little adventure?
Fun fact: It is nearly impossible to find anything party related that does not have to do with the new Star Trek movies or TOS. But with Janeway integrity and a penchant for all things DIY, I was determined.
I quickly decided my piece de resistance would be turning my shadowbox coffee table into a Voyager computer screen. LCARSgfx is an Etsy store that sells LCARS graphics of all the Starfleet ships, as well as other graphics used throughout the franchise. For my shadowbox effect to work, I went through Poster Print Shop and ordered a backlit film poster print out of the Voyager graphic to the exact specifications of my table. Lastly, I purchased some rechargeable LED camping lanterns off Amazon.com. The result? A reusable Voyager table facelift that I can pull out for many a party, or when I need to cruise through the cosmos from the comfort of my living room.
To keep track of wine glasses, I assigned images of each Voyager crew member to each set of attendee wine glasses. After printing out the images, I traced the base of each disposable wine glass and then taped them in. I also made sure to assign water glasses so party goers would not internally end up like the Kazon.
To allow party guests to find out more about the wines, I decided to create my own PADD (sort of future iPad to non-Trek viewers) props. After I sketched out my own PADD template, I used cardboard, duct tape, velcro, and paints. The finishing touch was finding a PADD screen template online (searching for computer wallpapers which had the necessary resolution), downloading the Okuda font, and then photo editing the image and words to create the necessary illusion of a PADD computer screen. I would print different screens per wine, rotating them per tasting pair. I made a total of two PADDs, one per wine being sampled. Guests could rotate the PADD amongst themselves freely before returning it to me, where I would switch out the information for the following wine pair.
The finishing touches were turning my dining room table into a replicator using white and grey plastic tablecloths and silver Sharpie, and the gift of prop Combadges for all guests, generously provided by my friend and prop maker Matt Hiscox [pastadud (at) gmail (dot) com if you want your own].
For food, I decided to invest in some ready-made appetizers that would complement the wines throughout the evening. (Mine were from Traders Joe’s.) For the white wines, I chose some lighter fare appetizers that were heavier on vegetables, like Spanakopita and stuffed mushrooms. For the red wines, I went with meats and heavier cheeses. For the dessert wine, I picked up a raspberry tart, as well as some cookies.
With wines, guests, and episodes at the ready, I set course for awesome.
CAPTAIN’S LOG, SUPPLEMENTAL
Planning a party can be overwhelming, especially when you have nothing to go off of except for an idea. The gift of such pop culture phenomena as Star Trek is that fans before and fans after will always find and act upon their inspiration. Through fan sites, fan friends, and my personal fandom ingenuity, I was able to pull off an amazing party in a short amount of time. Ultimately, however, it’s the memories that matter. Elaborate decorations or exceptional wine would be for nought if it weren’t for great company. To have a great group of friends that share fun times and a love for Star Trek: Voyager? To me, that is the ultimate mark of a great party.