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Harvest Party Entertaining Tips

Make it Authentic:

  • For centuries, vineyards and wineries have opened their gates to share the "blessing of winegrapes" with wine novices, connoisseurs, family and friends. Use this age-old tradition to kick off your own wine and food pairing celebration.
  • Grape stomping, immortalized by Hollywood in a 1956 “I Love Lucy” episode, dates back hundreds of years. Invite guests to take off their shoes, roll up their pants and stage an “I Love Lucy” look-alike contest.
  • Invite guests to create and model their own interpretation of classic harvest couture from a favorite vintage (year).

    Celebrate Good Food, Good Wine - Great Variety
  • Celebrate the wide variety of wines produced in California by assigning each of your friends a wine region and asking them to bring some wine from there.
  • To showcase the breadth and diversity of California wine, place a card with the name of the grape variety, pronunciation and region it is grown from beside it.
  • Then ask each friend to bring along a dish that pairs well with the wine they brought. "We really love potlucks," says Bruce Fry, a 5th-generation grower whose family throws a huge annual harvest party. "The more variety of food we have, the more variety of wine we can serve!"

    Dress it up!
  • Make sure you have enough glasses. Provide at least two wine glasses per person, one for white and the other for red.
  • Autumn is still a great time to take advantage of the outdoors. Move your party outside in your own backyard or to a local park and enjoy the company of your friends and family as well as the beautiful autumn weather. The open space will also enable the guest list to linger longer.
  • Find a rustic picnic table reminiscent of wine country and place a large dark-hued and colorful tablecloth over it. That way, predictable spills will not be as noticeable.
  • Give your guests wine charms with their glasses. This helps eliminate the guesswork of deciding which glass belongs to you after you’ve put it down for a moment.
  • Decorate with large bunches of both red and green grapes, colorful autumn fruit, flowers and leaves.
  • As a take-home gift make some individual wine tags, or give each guest a special wine glass.


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