Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Five Fresh Ideas for Fall Fêtes

Our September 22nd Harvest Party is rapidly approaching, so pick up your tickets while they're still available! Our annual Harvest Party is one of the best seasonal events in Sonoma and features an inspirational tasting experience with our award-winning wines and seasonal hors d’oeuvres prepared by the J Culinary Team.

Some of our favorite locale food purveyors will be sharing their goods, too, including WholeVine Products, Jimtown Store, Friend in Cheeses Jam Company, Merchants & Millers, Bernier Farms and more. Exciting.

If you can't make it out to Healdsburg that day, though, consider throwing your own harvest party this year.  Here are five on-trend ideas to inspire your fall fêtes.

1. Go Mediterranean. Mediterranean influences have been popping up on menus all over the country lately. Dishes like grilled flatbreads and lamb chops with lemon pair beautifully with our Pinot Noirs, so look to countries like Morocco, Greece, and Turkey for culinary inspiration.

2. Mix it up. Plain white porcelain is increasingly giving way to ceramic and stone plates with interesting textures and patterns. Try a more eclectic, textural table setting to create visual interest.

3. Use unexpected seasonal touches. Instead of gourds or pumpkins, use another fall crop — grapes — to bring a luxurious, jewel-toned sense of abundance to your table. Cascade differently colored clusters from the sides of a decorative bowl. Include a pillar candle on one side of the bowl, so the grapes will glisten during dinner.

4. Leverage the local. According to a recent poll by the National Restaurant Association, 72 percent of adults say they’re more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally sourced food, so pick up speciality items from nearby vendors to add interest to your gathering. You’ll create a more memorable experience and support your local economy, too. Visit localharvest.org for ideas, or, if you live in Northern California, just check the list of our favorite local food purveyors above!

5. Offer tasting notes. A few well-chosen words about the aroma, flavors, and texture of a wine can dramatically enhance your guests’ experience of drinking it, allowing them to pick out individual notes and identify favorites. Heighten their appreciation by creating a one-page guide. 

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