Wine Tasting Birthday Party

The Occasion

For my mother’s 65th, I planned an afternoon wine tasting party. Decorations were inspired by the bold reds selected for the tasting, along with traditional wine and Tuscan decor. As part of the planning, my husband and I made the sacrifice of leaving the children with the grandparents while we went wine tasting at Jessie’s Grove, our favorite winery in the Lodi wine region, only 45 minutes from home.

The Selection

Jessie’s Grove, Chardonnay

Another surprise Chardonnay provided by my father, for contrast

Jessie’s Grove, Carignone – usually used for blended wines, but here bottled on its own

Jessie’s Grove, Earth, Fire & Zin

Jessie’s Grove, Petite Sirah

Earth, Zin & Fire Label

The Menu

IMG_6457As I typically do, I chose to use a variation of party platter recipes provided by Real Simple.

– Antipasto Party Platter with cured Italian meats, Italian bread, roasted tomatoes, three olive varieties, and a ricotta cheese spread.

– A cheese and cracker platter featuring American Blue Cheese, French Comté, Swiss Gruyere, and Irish Dubliner served with dates, figs, grapes, and ginger snaps.

For dessert, since my mother is a baker extraordinaire, I chose to take a less traditional route and serve chocolate truffles, Hazelnut cookies sandwiched around a chocolate filling, and English toffee.


Decor Details

I used wood oval tags tied with twine to an eye hook in a wine cork to create labels for the cheese. I purchased Alstroemeria, deep red roses, purple Hoary Stock and red Sweet William from Trader Joe’s. For additional filler I added olive branches from our yard.



The Main Event

Based on online templates, I created Wine Tasting Cards for guests to fill out as they sampled the wines (provided here for free download: Wine Tasting pdf).

Along with the wine, we also imported a fabulous piano and cello duet, Chase and Carol Ann Loeb, Strings Attached. For the two hours of the party they played a selection of jazz and classical musical.

Alas, because of this persistent illness, I forgot to take photos of the event once styled! With a generous, but still intimate, size room, I placed the wine pouring table in the back of the room, next to the musicians. In the center of the room, atop a round table I stacked wood wine boxes, partially draped with rustic red fabric, crowned with the main flower arrangement (in a wine ice bucket no less). Surrounding the boxes were the platters of cheese and crackers, specifically paired for the ultimate tasting experience, the antipasto platter, bread basket, fruit platters and sweet treats in various vessels including chocolate covered espresso beans in vintage silver martini coups. Smaller floral arrangements in unique vases (think vintage glass vases and brandy sniffers) graced the white table clothes on the three round tables and three cocktail tables spread throughout the room.

The party went beautifully and I really felt it was my best yet. I continue to kick myself for not taking photos. Hopefully the descriptions give you a fair idea. If you enjoyed this piece and other events under the Event Planning tab. Please keep in mind that if you are in the Turlock/Modesto area, I am available to help you style and plan your special event!

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