Al Fresco Sonoma-Style Wine and Cheese Backyard Party

My family and I are a longtime fans of the cheese and wine duo. Last month, we decided to host a dinner party with close friends that captured the beauty and laid-back lifestyle of California’s Sonoma County.

Held at the backyard of my parents’ home, we displayed an ultimate romantic, Sonoma-feel event using braided placemats, lush garlands of olive and eucalyptus branches, clear glass wine bottles with long taper candles and linen napkins with sprigs of rosemary tied with a soft velvet ribbon. Our al fresco dinner soirée was definitely an evening that felt as if we escaped to a vineyard somewhere in Napa.

To continue the rustic vineyard theme, we rented long farm tables, vineyard chairs, and wine barrels.

The menu boasted local Northern Californian fare that whet our guests’ appetites as they tasted red, white, and rose wines from Napa. As a non-alcoholic option, we had a refreshing lemonade mixed with fresh mint and plump blueberries.

An assortment of cheeses, sultana grapes, figs and dried fruits was displayed on a wine barrel for a vineyard-inspired look.

Plated with brie, manchego, sharp cheddar, parmesan, and gouda, our station took our guests on a journey through the world of cheese. For something sweet and salty, we added almonds, figs, dried apricots, crackers, and cranberries on a marbled platter.

As every host knows, the secret to a great party is plenty of good food. Cheese and wine were the star attractions, of course, but we also offered a selection of fresh and comforting meals that took our event to the next level. These included refreshing salads, couscous, roasted vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes, and tender hanger steak, all prepped by Joan’s on Third.

We spent the rest of the evening enjoying delicious food and our friends’ company in a gorgeous setting under the stars.

Captured By: Steve Steinhardt

The Wines:
Pomponette Rose
La Crema 2014 Pinot Noir
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonney
2012 Duckhorn Vineyards Howell Mountain Napa Valley Red Wine

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