ENTERTAINING ON THE EASY

HIP HOSTESS ILANA ECK TELLS YOU HOW TO THROW A DINNER PARTY WITH GRAPE EXPECTATIONS

VINEYARD THEME PARTY

You don’t need to live in wine country to host a vineyard theme party. Simply look to California’s Napa Valley for inspiration and use your own space to create a relaxed vineyard vibe. You’ll need little more than good friends and good wine to make the party a success.

SETTING THE SCENE

To evoke the colors of a vineyard, use the grapevines as inspiration for your color scheme. Burgundy or dark purple work well when paired with a shade of light green, such as lime or sage.

Cascading Centerpiece

Stack a small cake stand on a larger version and pile each layer with large bunches of dark red grapes for a cost-efficient centerpiece. For added interest, use either mini champagne grapes, large globe grapes or another variety for your centerpiece. Tuck green leaves or branches around the outside of the centerpieces to add a little color and texture.

Recycled Cork Place Card Holders

Looking for a craft project for those wine corks you’ve been saving all these years? Turn them into place card holders for your vineyard party! Using a sharp knife, slice a small piece off of the cork so the cork will lay flat. On the opposite side, slice a long slit in the cork lengthwise and tuck a place card into the slit for a wine-themed place card holder.

Wine Cork Candles

Use candles made to look like wine corks to add a warm glow to your table. The faux cork candles will fit into empty wine bottles, so no candlesticks are needed. Wine cork candles are available from many online retailers and at several wineshops.

Hip Tips

  • Instead of wine charms, use wide rubber bands to keep track of wineglasses. Write each guest’s name on a rubber band using permanent marker. Place the rubber band around the widest part of the wineglass. Use purple or green rubber bands, if available.

  • Use wine as decoration by displaying it on a mantel, sideboard or down the middle of a long table. Put the wine in order of lightest to darkest.

  • Hang artificial grapes from your chandelier or sconces.

MENU

A wonderfully satisfying meal could be made out of cheese, cured meats, olives, crusty bread and fresh vegetables. If you are inspired by California cuisine and are up for preparing a full dinner, the vineyard menu below is both straightforward and spectacular.

Vineyard Menu

Goat cheese, arugula and fig jam crostini*

Heirloom tomato salad with fresh basil oil*

Grilled lamb chops with eggplant caponata*

Balsamic-glazed roasted potatoes*

Red wine poached pears with vanilla bean ice cream*

Hip Tips

  • Serve wine in juice glasses or tumblers for a rustic feel.

  • Have guests bring a bottle of their favorite California red or white wine; it will be fun to see which varieties and flavors appeal to each of your guests.

  • Provide plenty of crusty bread early on so your guests can enjoy plenty of wine throughout the night.

*Recipes available at www.hiphostessblog.com.

Ilana Eck is an attorney by day and the Hip Hostess by night. She writes a food and entertaining blog, www.hiphostessblog.com, offering recipes, tips and ideas for hosting with style. Ilana lives in New York City with her husband, Etienne, and doesn’t let her small space stop her from entertaining at home.



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