Expecting visitors over the holidays? Consider hosting a chic wine tasting party like the one thrown by Hope at Home. Beyond the truly dazzling design choices, we couldn't help but be enamored by the event's food- and drink-related ideas. Here are three takeaways we'll be stealing for our next wine and cheese party.
Enlist a Chalkboard Table Runner
Protect your table and identify wines, cheeses, and other accouterments by writing in chalk on a black canvas table runner. Anthropologie has a disposable chalkboard table runner ($46) that covers the whole table. For some, simply naming the varietal doesn't help to understand the flavors inside the bottle. Take it a step further by writing out key wine descriptors ("dry and crisp" or "sweet and fruity") next to each wine.
Label Your Cheeses — With Wine Pairings
Most cheesemongers can help you choose the right cheeses for your bottle of wine, but when in doubt, turn to this handy Wine and Cheese Pairing Swatchbook ($15). Then, write out the name of each cheese along with its appropriate wine pairing on ceramic tags ($4 for four).
Bring Back the Wine Spritzer
Most pop a cork, pour the contents, and end things right there, but wine can and should be used in cocktails and spritzers. Create a bar complete with lots of ice; white and sparkling wine; juices like apple and orange; liqueurs like Grand Marnier and St. Germain; fresh, seasonal fruit like apple and pear slices; and herbs like thyme, mint, and rosemary. Offer some suggestions, but let guests mix, match, and doctor to their liking.