Looking for an easy but elegant way to entertain? A summer wine and cheese party is the perfect way to host friends or family, and it’s casual chic vibe is the essence of the season!
As my friends will tell you, a charcuterie plate is my favorite dinner on the planet! Not only is it one of my favorite meals, but it’s also one of my favorite ways to entertain.
Is there anything more perfect than a wine and cheese party on the patio on a warm summer night?! No cooking, delectable nibbles, and some delicious wine makes for an easy but elegant evening.
In today’s post I’m sharing some tips for throwing your own summer wine and cheese party!
For this setup I used a drop cloth as a tablecloth – one of my favorite tips for a casual chic look. I love that the tablecloth makes it feel more special than the average BBQ, but because the fabric is so casual, it keeps it from feeling too formal.
A few tips for arranging the perfect cheese plate:
- Allow about 1-2 ounces of each cheese per person, with at least 5 total.
- Let the cheese sit at room temp for at least a half hour before serving. Cheese is at its full flavor at room temperature.
- Include a mix of both soft and hard cheeses, as well as different types such as goat, cow’s milk, and sheep’s milk.
- Add a selection of meats such as prosciutto or salami, as well as nuts and olives for a variety of flavors.
- Fresh and dried fruit such as grapes, figs, dried apricots or dates add sweetness and they’re so yummy with wine!
- Toppings like honey or jam are wonderful with softer cheeses.
- Offer a variety of breads and crackers. Personally, I don’t think anything beats a fresh baguette but I like to offer a selection of crackers, too.
- Chill the wines for at least a couple of hours but remember to take them out of the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before guests arrive.
When it comes to place settings, I think the simpler the better, especially during the dog days of summer.
We used our wine barrel as an extra table on the side. It was perfect for stashing extra wine, corkscrews, and dish cloths, but any portable table will work. I also usually have some bottles of water there as well for hydrating in between drinking.
I wanted the flowers to be simple yet elegant, with a California vibe. But also easy! Believe it or not these were all grocery store flowers. I purchased a mixed bunch with some lavender and purple florals along with one bunch of white hydrangeas.
After removing a few bits from the mixed bunch that I didn’t like, I simply mixed the rest with the hydrangeas in my favorite French mason jar. They’re pretty and add interest to the table, without competing with the food. Another tip? Skip the roses or any flower that might overpower sniffing and sipping the wine. 😉
I love to use vintage bread boards – they have such a great patina. Also, I scatter a few different, smaller charcuterie platters scattered around the table. This way each guest can easily get to a cheese board without the need to constantly pass the cheese back and forth.
It’s fun to try different flavors – salty prosciutto or sweet honey on some blue cheese – and see how they taste with the wine. This exploration is what makes this such a fun event!
For this party I wanted lighter wines that are perfect for summer, and Chalk Hill is one of our favorite wineries! I knew their Sonoma Coast Chardonnay would be the star of the party. We love the hints of apple pie, as well as the fact that it’s a perfect balance of acidity and minerality. And it’s delicious with cheese!
We also offered their Chalk Hill Pinot Noir as an option for those who wanted a bit of red. It’s fruit forward and approachable, and another delicious option. Both of these can usually be found in supermarkets and they have a very reasonable price point.
In fact, all of their wines are delicious, and their property in Healdsburg is gorgeous. Their 1300-acre property features over 300 acres of vineyards, as well as wilderness areas, the winery, a culinary garden, and more. If you’re ever in Sonoma County be sure to schedule a visit!
Easy, simple and low-key, a summer wine and cheese party is one of the best parts of summer!
Here’s to a gathering that is the very essence of the season. This summer wine and cheese party is all about great wine, delicious food and making memories with friends and family! I hope this inspires you to host one of your own. 🙂
*This post is sponsored by Chalk Hill, but all thoughts, opinions and love of wine are my own.*
If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out some of my other spring entertaining ideas below: