Wine has been a big part of my life since before I was 21. Cool your jets. I'm not talking drinking wine as a toddler. Some of my earlier memories involve the September grape harvest at my grandparent's vineyard. At the crack of dawn, Chardonnay grapes were clipped and dropped into big lugs to be sent to the winery. Large post-harvest lunch ensued with, what else, wine. These days, I'm still surrounded by vineyards. Virginia has definitely made it's mark in the wine world. And I certainly can't complain there. 



How to throw party that isn't a tasting.  

While wine tastings are very popular right now, but sometimes a get together needs to be a little more free in structure. And sometimes you just want to drink the wine, not analyze it like a slide under a microscope. If that's you're deal right now, this is the party for you. 

  • Decorate with grapes. Pull the wild grapes creeping up your backyard and use to drape over a gate or down the center of the table. No grapes on the vine? Buy beautiful varieties like this shot from Style Me Pretty and place in a bowl...think still life painting. 
  • For the menu, make it part of the decor! Unroll a long sheet of brown butcher's paper and write up the menu with a sharpie. It gives a nice rustic, laid back feel with minimal effort. 
  • Hosting the party outside is a must. This scene from Bite by Bite is gorgeous.  A table with a sophisticated white table cloth and edging in a different color let's the grapes do the talking with just the right about of accent. Find wooden chairs that are easy to move and store, so they'll last you many years. 
  • For the menu, start with  wine stained cheddar and toast from Food and Femininity. Wine and cheese in a bite.
  • Salad course: black grapes, mixed greens and pecorino.  
  • Pick an easy to manage main course like roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary or rustic pizzas. Want a guide to figuring out what cheeses go with whatever wine you're serving? Done. Wine paired with food? Also done. 
  • Dessert should be done in multiples. Plum wine pops (FYI, use google translate) or a simple white cake with figs, apricots and grapes are both winners.  
  • And now to dress yourself. Summer whites, all the way! Play with texture to make it interesting and pair with gold. 

What wines would you serve? Do you have a favorite grape dish?

Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.