Recently, we hosted a shower for Kristian’s cousin Louise and her super fabulous fiance (now hubby) George. In addition to being absolutely adorable, the bride and groom are great lovers of wine and travel. Hence, we arrived at our Around the World Wine Tasting theme rather quickly. This event was both an honor and a pleasure to host, in turn, making this week’s tips and takeaway’s post easy and overflowing with vino joy! Enjoy…
GO WITH Wine from Around the World
If you are honoring a loved one at your event, consider showcasing food and wine from countries he/she has vacationed. For a casual cocktail party, set up 4-6 country food/beverage stations throughout your entertaining space to encourage mingling. We decided on Italy, France, Spain and Greece…mainly because the food and wine selections from these countries are plentiful and yummy!
Make it Personal
An individual’s taste in wine is very personal and your event can reflect the same customized feeling, with travel memonetos and pictures of the honoree(s) visiting the countries you are showcasing. Louise and George are very photogenic so choosing photos of their vacations on Facebook to display at the event was easy. If you are not tech savvy, consider messaging guests to bring or send in photos to display. These photos serve both as thoughtful decor and are excellent conversation starters for guests who may not know one another.
Wine Flies when you are having fun…
Make sure to invest in helpful signage and labels to ensure your guests can easily navigate your international menu and wine pairings. You don’t want useful eating and drinking time wasted on guests trying to figure out “what” they are tasting, hehehe.
My new favorite decor tool is chalkboard table runner paper! I attached it to all of my display tables and then used chalk markers (not actual chalk ) to write notes and label the wines. You can find this paper online on Amazon, in most craft stores or even at Target.
Guests were asked to get a little crafty and label their personal wine glasses with sticker mustaches and erasable wine markers. This cut down on the amount of glasses lost or unclaimed throughout the evening.
Cork Decor and Candlelight
If you are a wine cork collector like I am…great news, with a little DIY gusto, clear vases and tea candles, you can easily add wine themed decor to your event. A simple how-to for the pictured cork candle centerpiece can be found on a crafty blog called Two Twenty One.
Look it’s Wine O’clock…time for a Culinary adventure!
Along with cheese, fruit and crackers, we wanted to serve some hearty appetizers to balance out all the vino. For party menus, I am usually in favor of a hybrid approach…a little homemade (to make it personal), a little pre-prepared frozen appetizers (to stay on budget) and finally one or two catered platters or desserts (to save time and your sanity).
Here are some of the menu highlights and recipes:
- Homemade Spanish Meatballs – these can be made the day before and the warmed on low in your crock pot throughout the party. Here is a great recipe from Martha Stewart.
- A variety of French, Greek, Spanish and Italian cheeses, meats and garnishes were purchased at Wegmans grocery store and we put together the cheese display trays the afternoon of the event and kept them covered and refrigerated before showtime. Note, here is a great tutorial on putting together your own cheese trays.
- French Quiche & Greek Spanikopita were purchased from Wegmans frozen section, and warmed just before guests arrived 😉
- Farm Grill & Rotisserie supplied us with the most delicious Greek party platter, complete with grape leaves, tabouleh and homemade humus.
- Italian Cannoli, Tiramisu and French Macroons served as our superstar desserts and were all purchased from our neighborhood favorite, Joseph’s bakery
Whether you are hosting a shower, engagement party of just a night with friends, a wine tasting is a festive, inclusive way to celebrate your loved ones.
With Celebration and Vino,
PS – Find more wine themed event ideas and recipes here on my Wine O’clock pinboard.