How to Plan a Fall Wine Pairing Party
Everything you need to create a meaningful Fall wine pairing party, from wine accessories to food and wine pairings and more. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our team of Sommeliers.
A wine pairing party is one of those experiences most people look forward to from the moment they realized they actually enjoy wine. With social distancing measures still in place, a Fall wine pairing party is the perfect way to set the tone for a fun, safe and memorable evening.
In the recent blog post we published, ‘ What pairs well with a pandemic, a Covid-19 lens on Winethropy in America,’ we see that the research is in, intimate events at home are here to stay. Therefore, if you are seeking to create an idyllic atmosphere in the comfort of your home, you are in the perfect space to plan your Fall wine pairing party.
You may be asking yourself, where do I begin? Here is how to pull off the perfect Fall wine pairing party from accessories to cork decor to wine friendly recipes and wines that give back to charity.
#1 SELECT A THEME FOR YOUR WINE PAIRING PARTY
Often a Fall theme consists of pumpkins, autumn leaves, burnt orange colors. However, it is your event therefore, do not be limited by your initial thoughts. Think lush wine country. Deep reds, rustic whites, white cotton stems, or this year's trend of tall grass. You can even theme your event based on a country you traveled to that captivated your heart and your palette. Afterall, it is a wine pairing party, you can theme it after anything you desire.
After deciding on either a seasonal, holiday, color or travel inspired theme, determine how many food and wine pairings you want to present to your guests. We recommend no more than five as you will overwhelm your guests palette.
Do not worry, you do not have to create a 4 or 5 course meal, you can make the menu as ambitious as you desire. Below you will find our food and wine pairings list. They are simple to make and have the appropriate ‘flight’ to the wine selection. This means that you serve the wines from the lightest to the boldest wines and the food follows accordingly.
Not only can you make an impact with your theme, you can make one with the wines you select for your event. When you purchase wine from here, you grant abandoned youth life skills, mentorships and job opportunities.
#2 SELECT THE GUEST LIST
To create a memorable and quality wine pairing party try to keep the guest list limited to no more than 8 people. The more intimate the guest list the more you can focus on the quality of the food and and wine.
Keep the invites simple. Create a free Canva account if you do not have one already and design a beautiful digital invitation that you can send out via email or text. You can customize your invitation to mimic the theme of your event.
You may be interested in attending our next Wine and Wisdom wine night to give you a unique topic of conversation during your own wine event.
FALL WORTHY WINE PAIRINGS WITH FOOD
Listed below you will find a 5 course food and wine pairing menu. This menu can be taken apart to create a simple 2 or 3 course meal of your choice or you can bookmark this blog piece to save for a date night and utilize just 1 or 2 of these recipes to create a meal that is the perfect intimate, Fall wine night.
First Course and Wine Pairing: Roasted Beets and Carrots, Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Wine Paired: Castellar Cava Brut Sparkling from Spain
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
This is a flavorful, well-rounded and crunchy salad to show how delicious and beautiful your winter vegetables can be.
Coat the beets and carrots in some olive oil, roast them, take them out of the oven and add some butter and maple syrup, pop them back in the oven for a bit, and you're done. Double the ingredients to make for a party of 8.
- 5 large carrots peeled & sliced
- 4 medium beets peeled & diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- Preheat oven to 425F and move the rack to the middle position.
- Cut the beets and carrots into pieces that are roughly the same size, and place the pieces on a large baking sheet.
- Drizzle the olive oil onto the beets and carrots and add salt & pepper. Toss until they are coated. Spread them out in an even layer.
- Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies are tender-crisp (this will vary depending how big the pieces are).
- Take the baking sheet out of the oven and add the butter and maple syrup directly to the baking sheet. Let the butter melt then toss it again until everything is coated.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Toast the walnuts in a skillet on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn!
- Let the beets, carrots and walnuts cool down
- Crumb the goat cheese onto the Arugula, drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Mix all the ingredients together and plate.
The Cava that is suggested to pair with this earthy and savory salad is clean and a refreshing Champagne alternative. Do not be surprised if your guests have more than one glass of this. Castellar Cava Brut from Catalonia, Spain
Second Course and Wine Pairing: Butternut Squash Soup
Wine Paired: Allamand Saint Jeannet from Argentina
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serve this next dish in cute small tea cups. Remember you do not need make large servings for each course. This is a wine pairing party not a dinner party. This recipe from Love and Lemons is “fall comfort food at its best” and they are not lying.
Butternut Squash Soup recipe ingredients and all you will need are 10 ingredients. You will enjoy this dish far after your guests have left. We pair this butternut squash soup with a very rare and unique white wine grape called the Saint Jeannet. Saint Jeannet also referred to as Gros Vert Blanc.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 (3-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- ½ tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped parsley
- Toasted pepitas
- Crusty bread
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper and sauté until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the squash and cook until it begins to soften, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, sage, rosemary, and ginger. Stir and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant, then add 3 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the squash is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Let cool slightly and pour the soup into a blender, working in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth. If your soup is too thick, add up to 1 cup more broth and blend. Season to taste and serve with parsley, pepitas, and crusty bread.
The Allamand Saint Jeannet can only be found here. With extremely high acidity, you will find that this white wine compliments this dish beautifully. Your guests will be wondering how you landed such a rare and unique bottle. With only 5000 bottles of this wine today, this might just be the wine that everyone dashes about.
Third Course and Wine Pairing: Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Wine Paired: Allamand Valle de Uco Pinot Noir from Argentina
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Stuffed spaghetti squash, can be created in many ways with varying sauces, add ons and fillers. However, for your Fall wine pairing party, you will want to keep it simple as the ‘stuffing’ will pack enough earthy flavors. A Sweet Pea Chef have a delicious and easy recipe. We do not dare to change it. Trust us, it comes out perfect every time.
The wine to pair with stuffed spaghetti squash is the Allamand Valle de Uco Pinot Noir. With oak and wildberry notes, this subtle, smooth red wine from Argentina is the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cremini mushrooms, diced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp plus 1/2 tsp. sea salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 2 small round spaghetti squash
- grated parmesan, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half through the stem. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard.
- Lightly drizzle olive oil over the cut-side of the spaghetti squash. Then, lightly sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. sea salt and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper until evenly coated.
- Place the squash, cut side up, on the baking sheet and place into the oven.
- Roast until a fork can easily scrape the spaghetti squash flesh away, approximately 40-45 min.
- Now, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Once cool, carefully scrape out the spaghetti squash “noodles” from the skin, taking care to keep the outer skin intact, since this will serve as the bowls.
- Heat remaining tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the ground beef to the oil and break into crumbles.
- Add the onion, shallot, garlic, and mushrooms, and cook until the meat is well-browned and the onion is tender.
- Add the seasonings (oregano, basil, thyme, remaining salt, and remaining pepper) and the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- Once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce heat to medium and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the meat sauce with the spaghetti squash noodles until everything is evenly coated.
- Carefully fill each of the squash cups with the mixture.
- Garnish with parmesan if desired.
Again, we stress, do not make one squash per two people, make 2 if you have 6 people and cut them into smaller pieces to serve. This is a 5 course meal. Your guests will have plenty of food and wine to enjoy without overfilling their plates and glasses with these delicious food and wine parings.
The great thing about pairings is that you can make these recipes on their own and enjoy a whole bottle with the one dish, a few weeks after your Fall wine pairing party. You will appreciate the food and the wine even more next time around.
Fourth Course and Wine Pairing: Greek Lamb Meatballs
Wine Paired: U-turn Uco Valley Malbec from Argentina
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
This course along with the 3rd course, stuffed spaghetti squash can all be made a day prior to your event. Lamb meat is the perfect meat to round off the course with a bold and sophisticated palette both with the food and the wine. This will be your most powerful dish and boldest wine.
When these beautiful Greek Lamb Meatballs are paired with a robust, smooth Argentine Malbec you will feel that you created a match made in heaven. The U-turn Uco Valley Malbec is a superb value and parking with this dish.
Greek lamb meatballs are a famous Greek appetizer, which is why we selected them for the 2nd to last course for your wine pairing party. They are smaller in size than the traditional often cooked for a main dish. By this time your guests will begin to feel their bellies expanding just a bit, the wine will be flowing and conversation sure to be filled with laughter and inquisition. This recipe calls for about 8 meatballs, we suggest you make them even smaller in size and can get 16 out of this recipe, better for this type of event.
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Canola oil, for greasing pan
- 2 Handfuls of Cherry Tomatoes
Cookie and Kate have an exceptional Tzatziki sauce that we recommend. Make this a few days ahead of your event and enjoy the fruits of your labor before your guests arrive. Make extra to serve with your salads, burgers or roasted veggies for the days you are working and need to make a healthy delicious meal just before your event.
- 2 cups grated cucumber (from about 1 medium 10-ounce cucumber, no need to peel or seed the cucumber first, grate on the large holes of your box grater)
- 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and/or dill
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the broiler.
- For the lamb meatballs: Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the lamb, coriander, cumin, garlic, oregano, mint, some salt and pepper, and the soaked breadcrumbs. Mix well, but do not overwork. Fold in the feta, then form the mixture into eight 2-inch meatballs.
- Place the meatballs in a large, greased pan (cast-iron preferred). Place the pan 7 to 8 inches from the heating element; broil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked through, turning once halfway through.
- For the tzatziki: Grate the cucumber into a small strainer and squeeze out excess water. Combine the grated cucumber with the yogurt, lemon zest, olive oil, dill and garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To assemble, load 3-6 meatballs onto a plate. Top them with cherry tomatoes and some tzatziki. Serve with extra tzatziki on the side.
Instructions for Tzatziki Sauce:
- Working with one big handful at a time, lightly squeeze the grated cucumber between your palms over the sink to remove excess moisture. Transfer the squeezed cucumber to a serving bowl, and repeat with the remaining cucumber.
- Add the yogurt, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to the bowl, and stir to blend. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and add additional chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, and/or salt, if necessary (I thought this batch was just right as-is).
- Serve tzatziki immediately or chill for later. Leftover tzatziki keeps well, chilled, for about 4 days.
Fifth Course and Wine Pairing: Pumpkin Pie
To complete the evening and if you are ambitious enough (you can ask one of your guests to bring this course) we recommend you create the ultimate Fall statement by ending your meal with pumpkin pie. Whether you create this from scratch or purchase one from your local baker, we believe ending your wine pairing party with a sweet dessert and wine is a great note to leave off on.
We will not attempt to give you a pumpkin pie recipe as we are sure you have your grandmother’s or a favorite shop. However, we will recommend the wine to select to pair your final course with. A port from Portugal. We currently do not carry any port in our wine shop. However, any port you select from Portugal will be a perfect wine pairing option for pumpkin pie. This will leave you with a sweet and satisfied experience.
If you are looking for more traditional Fall or Thanksgiving food and wine pairings please visit our blog post on Thanksgiving Wine Pairings.
HOW MUCH WINE SHOULD I PURCHASE?
Remember that you will not be pouring full glasses of wine for each guest. This is a wine pairing party where one is not expected to drink 4 or 5 different full glasses of wine with each course. Therefore, pour at most 3-4 ounces per glass.
Keep in mind that your guests may want to re-taste certain wines, after a course is completed, or even after the dinner. You will need 1 bottle of wine per person, perhaps even two—so plan the guest list accordingly.
Here is a guide on how to do wine tasting the right way for more details.
FALL WINE PARTY DECOR
The theme you selected will likely help you choose the kind of Fall decor you will want to go with for your wine party. We always suggest candles, to set the ambiance. However, never do you want real candles as they will interfere with the palette of the wine and make you smell or even taste things that are not actually in the wine.
We suggest you utilize battery operated candles. We have 2 cases of these and use them for every occasion.
OTHER WINE ACCESSORIES
Other wine accessories you will want to have on hand range from those obvious like glassware. We recommend a Bordeaux glass for each guest. No need for multiple glasses as you can simply rinse out the glass with room temperature water after each wine. And some not so obvious wine accessories such as a spit bucket.
Your guests may not want to finish every wine that accompanies each course. Therefore providing them a suitable instrument to dispose of their contents is highly regarded.
Don’t forget paper and pen if you do not download our Wine Tasting Notes template. And you will also want to have room temperature water on hand. Always a must when drinking wine. It helps cleans your palette, stay hydrated and of course rinse out your wine glass to make room for the next wine in the lineup.
ORDER WINE NOW FOR YOUR FALL WINE PAIRING PARTY and we will donate 50% of our net revenue to abandoned youth programs. Your party can be more than just a night to remember, let it be a gift that keeps giving for a generation of abandoned and high trauma youth. LEARN MORE NOW.
DAY OF WINE PARTY PREPARATION
The day of your Fall wine pairing party, you will want to have all wine glasses polished. We recommend this amazing glass polish rag.
Pre-make as much of your meal as possible. Set the table and select the music for the evening. We say some jazz, blues or indie always lend to a good atmospheric vibe. Open all of your red wines at least 4 hours in advance. If they are older wines open them even sooner. Put your white wines on ice and let them chill.
Enjoy an evening you will not forget. Take lots of photos and do not forget to laugh and have fun. This is a wine pairing party, not a neuroscience exam. You got this!
Please let us know if you have any questions about the wines or regarding a wine parking party. We would love to help you make the most of your Fall wine pairing party. Hello@humanitywineco.com