Party Tips

Entertaining Thoughts

Our employees also love to host gatherings, and over time, we have identified some tips and tools that optimize and personalize a dinner party, an outing, or just a chance to enjoy wine with friends and family.

Planning a party and serving wine over the course of the evening? Use our efficient Party Planning Calculator to determine the appropriate amount of wine to serve to your guests over the course of the evening.

And because we realize the difference a vintage makes when it comes to holding a varietal for 2, 5 or more years, we’ve prepared this useful J. Lohr Vintage Chart when scouring your home cellar for the ideal Cabernet to pair with your lavender-encrusted filet mignon!

We admit that we’ve consulted a source or two when it comes to perfecting our presentation. Food and Wine Magazine is one of our favorites for just about everything from dishwasher-safe wine glasses recommendations to party-hosting etiquette.

Our goal is to inspire creative ideas to make the most from your entertaining, and below, we feature just a few of our employees’ favorite tips and party ideas.

Favorite Tips

Use stickers to distinguish guests wine glasses.
“I like proper glassware, but don’t like to spend the entire night cleaning them. I like the stickers that say ‘My Name Is,’ and you write the guest’s name and stick it on the glass. Fewer dishes and guests know who they are talking with. Simple.”
~ Bruce Smitham, Southern California Area Sales Manager

Reward guests for staying out of the kitchen!
“Always finding my guests in the kitchen with sauce-spattered food processor in plain sight, I have decided over time to redirect my party!  Well in advance, I prepare my formal room with an ice bucket chilling Riverstone Chardonnay, an open bottle of Los Osos Merlot, glassware and a plate of hors d’oeuvres.  Now when guests arrive, they are escorted directly to the living room and we can enjoy a proper cocktail hour before we adjourn to the dining room.  Not only does my living room sofa finally get used, but my messy kitchen gets nary a glance until I’m cleaning up long after my guests are gone!”
~ Brenda Boychuck, Arizona Area Sales Manager

Don’t always assume your guests will drink what you like.
“If you enjoy red wine only, make sure to be prepared with a bottle or two of white wine so your guests will have choices.  Also, it is important to keep a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne on hand at all times because you never know when you will have a spontaneous time to celebrate. And for the designated driver or non-drinkers in your group, have a bottle of ARIEL non-alcoholic wine on hand, as you want your guests to feel welcome and invited to stay at the party.”
~ Ryan Powers, Northern California Area Sales Manager

Focus on smaller courses and high quality ingredients.
“I like to serve several courses when entertaining, starting as soon as the first guest arrives.  So, to maintain sanity, I keep the construction of each dish fairly simple; I depend on high quality ingredients to show the flavors, not arduous preparations.  And thoughtful plating takes seconds, and can really wow your guests!”
~ Mark Hess, Northern California Area Sales Manager

Dazzle a group with a large bottle of your favorite wine!
“It’s always fun to bring out a 3L of J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet or Riverstone Chardonnay for large gatherings.  It certainly is enough to serve and it’s fun to watch everyone’s eyes pop with excitement when a large format bottle contributes to the festive nature.”
~ Davis Hyde, Carolinas Area Sales Manager

Casual Entertaining
We like to keep things casual when we entertain.  One of our favorites is Mediterranean pizza cooked on a stone on the grill outside. We get fresh pizza dough and toppings from a local Italian market.  We heat the stone on the grill, prepare the dough and add tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, garlic, black olives, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and, optionally, anchovies.  After ten minutes or so on the hot stone we get a great tasting pizza with a crispy crust.  Serve with green salad and J. Lohr South Ridge Syrah and tune in Monday Night Football.
~ Chris Yandle, Southern California Area Sales Manager

Blind Wine Tasting
“Have your guests bring two bottles of the exact same vintage and varietal (i.e, a 2006 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon).  Open and ‘brown bag’ one of the bottles so your guests can’t see the label.  Have everyone try the wines and vote for their favorites.  Tally up the votes and reward the winner(s).  First place can take home half of the un-opened bottles (the reason for bringing two bottles), 2nd & 3rd place split the remaining bottles, and last place has to take his/her entry back home because it was voted worst!”
~ Ryan Powers, Northern California Area Sales Manager