Posted by: Alycia Nichols | March 13, 2012

Taste of Wine Buffet

No matter what time the clock says, it’s always 5:00 somewhere! ;-)

Even before ABC’s “Cougar Town” became so popular, I knew that enjoying a glass of good wine was a popular American pasttime. We may not all look like Courtney Cox (seriously…this woman is 47 years old with upper arms and stomach muscles that tight?!?!!), but we can sure put on a wine tasting party to rival any neighborly fete her character, Jules, could.

Spring is the perfect time to try new wines that will accompany your warm weather meals and desserts. A wine tasting party needn’t run you to the poor house, either. Ask your guests to bring along a bottle of their favorite, put some good cheese, breads, fruits, olives and desserts out for them to sample, and you’ve got yourself a smashing springtime soirée.
(Click on any photo to enlarge!)

This is buffetscape #2 created for my first “Art of Tablescaping – Buffet Styling” class back on March 6. I started with a full-length white linen topped with a deep yellow bird & branch covered topper placed on the diagonal. (See the topper used on a dining table for a sit-down meal HERE.)

The 2-tier wrought iron and wood stand is great for displaying whole fruits for guests’ enjoyment. An assortment of cheeses and olives are presented on a wine barrel Lazy Susan from Pottery Barn. Olives are scooped into Pier 1 white poppy serving bowls, and varietal breads are piled into a long linen-lined basket.

I like to add fun little items to buffet tables like this wine placard.

A 2-tiered wrought iron stand from Traditions in downtown Lee’s Summit, Mo., balances out the tall fruit display on the opposite end of the buffet table. Displaying the plates here puts them up high where guests can easily access them. The bird on top peeks out through branches of apple blossoms casually arranged in a white ceramic cylinder.

That takes care of the food, so let’s move on to the real star of the evening: the wine! It’s set up on the bar just beyond the food station.

A wine tasting should always include lots of glasses. (Aw, quit your whining…no pun intended. That’s why dishwashers were invented!) Not only does it look really cool to display lots and lots of stemware, but it provides an opportunity for guests to use a different glass to enjoy the full flavor of each wine. Here, the wines are displayed in the recommended order for tasting starting with the light Pinot grigio, moving on to the heavier, more full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, and finishing with sweet dessert wines. Appropriately sized and shaped glasses are used for each.

I was so lucky to get these fun wine butlers from Bombay Company just before they closed their storefronts. They are a terrific way to showcase the wines up for tasting. Even though Bombay Company is no longer around, try places like Kirkland’s or specialty wine shops for something similar.

Be sure to include a few bite-sized desserts when offering champagne or sherry for tasting. You can’t go wrong with strawberries and chocolates!

Thirsty yet?

Other wine tasting posts on this site:
September Wine
Brilliant Italian

Please be sure to join me again this week for Tablescape Thursday starting at 9:00am (CDT)! Ooohhh…and don’t forget that many of my fellow bloggers from around the world are showing off their most festive Irish tablescapes at Cuisine Kathleen’s 4th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Blog Crawl starting March 13! You won’t want to miss either of these great blog parties!


Responses

  1. What a wonderful idea for a get together ! Who doesn’t like some sort of wine ?

  2. Oh my Alycia! You are an inspiration! I have seen all sorts of ideas for wine tasting parties but wasn’t ever brave enough to try any of them! I love the idea of how you displayed all the different wine glasses and the the best way to stage the wine! Your different ways of presenting the food look awesome too! If I lived close by I’d be making you throw more parties just so I could come!! I can see that your students are going to learn a lot- I know I am!

  3. I’ve been lusting after one of those lazy susans for well over a year.
    I just couldn’t justify it.
    Now I can: “Honey, why don’t we give a wine tasting party as soon as the weather looks like it going to hold?”

    Oooo. i can buy more stemware too!

    Alycia, you’re a genius.

  4. Your students had to love every moment of your presentation. It’s got to be a good class when you feel like you’re a guest at a great party. I adore the Dijon toile tablecloth. My eye kt strolling back to it. Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

  5. A beautiful easy get-together Alycia. The table is lovely and I love how you added height to the table with the tiered stand. I love the color and pattern in the table topper cloth. The bar area looks great the way you display the wine glasses. Fruit add so much color. I’m booking marking this post for future use. Great post.

    ~Emily
    The French Hutch

  6. I definitely want to be a guest at this one! You offer some great advice. Even though I am a major wine-lover, I have never really done this. Now, I think I might.

  7. What wonderful timing! All my tablescaping supplies are still packed in the garage. But I have been spending time learning about wines. Sweet reds are my fave. Your wine butlers are wonderful. Here’s a great winery near me http://www.holyfieldwinery.com where do you shop for wine? Look forward to your posts!

  8. WOW! This was a huge undertaking and every detail is beautiful! You really put a lot of thought and time into this wonderful event! I might have to have a wine tasting party. You have so many great ideas here and give such good advice!

    I LOVE the idea of putting out all the wine glasses… and serving little bites of dessert with champagne and dessert wines!

    I am bookmarking this post as a reference.

    Your out-did yourself!!!! Kudos to you!!!!!!
    Yvonne

  9. Wonderful! I love buffet tablescapes, because that’s usually the way we entertain, and I’m always looking for inspiration. Love the tiered stands and the wine barrel Lazy Susan. Love the olives in the bowls. I usually just use Cosmo glasses. Thanks for all the great ideas. Love the table cloth, too.
    Babs

  10. WOW Alycia! All the details one would need to host a successful wine tasting. I’ve been to a few, and boy are they FUN!! I love the idea of putting all the wine glasses out too. How is the class going? xxoo Debbie

  11. You’re singing my song here! Mr. Pressed Pants and I were recently invited to join a wine group. Last Saturday night was only our second month to attend. I was asked to take an appetizer, so I chose a delicious one with asparagus, puffed pastry, herbed cheese, and prosciutto. I’m actually going to do a post on it, it was so good. I took it on a beautiful platter that goes into a metal stand embellished with metal birds. Get the picture? Good food, beautiful presentation. As soon as I arrived, as I was taking the foil off of it, one of the women informed me that “asparagus doesn’t ever go with wine. Who knew? Did you? I felt a little like an idiot, but at the end of the evening, my platter was totally empty and her’s was far from it. Enough said.

  12. Alycia! Now you’re gonna make me buy the glass it’s 5 o’clock sowewhere. Gettimg close to organizing time.

  13. Hi Alycia~ The only thing better than attending your class would be enjoying a wine tasting with you! I remember this patterned bird & branch cloth~ it’s a beauty! I bet your students are having a blast & learning a lot at the same time~
    I think buffetscapes are so much more fun & you have the freedom to be more creative! I’m looking forward to a peak at your next class :)

  14. The butler and I would be standing guard at the dessert display. Lovely table dear, when is your book coming out?

  15. What a lovely display for a get together. Love all the fruit. I really realized that it was 5:00 somewhere when my daughter was traveling in Australia. 16 hours ahead of our time ;-)

  16. Terrific, but I’ve come to expect no less from you. I had to laugh at the “it’s got to be 5:00 somewhere”. Whenever the hubby has something to drink other than water before 5, he always says that. Some people just look for any excuse to start the good times early. Just wondering, did you sweat as much at your second class?

  17. This looks wonderful as usual, Alycia. So original! What a great idea!…Christine

  18. Great as usual! Love all if the details…the wine butlers are darling.
    You were very lucky to grab these guys from Bombay before they closed.
    The vino sign is perfect. Grapes…wonderful addition and panty of wine glasses. I despise using paper cups.
    I am sure your students are really enjoying your classes.
    I just returned from my cousin’s house and posted photos of the bridal shower.

  19. I agree with Cherry Kay … LOVE that tablecloth! What a fun class to teach!

  20. Love your table cloth! Looks like a fun time and a enjoyable class.Joann

  21. What a fun party this would make! Love your tiered fruit stand.

  22. I have always wanted to do a wine tasting…I’ve even saved magazine articles, telling which wines to serve with what kind of cheeses, etc. I even have the cutest invitations to send, bought years ago. Now you beautiful & instructive tablescape has pushed me to get busy & DO IT!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cute wine butler & all your pretty plate displays. Lots of different heights & textures to make my eyes dance.
    Well done, as always!! ~~clap, clap~~ Now, pass me a strawberry, please?

    Hugs,
    Rett

  23. This is so much fun!!! I will be right over.

  24. Hello Sweet Missy…
    Wow… that’s an awesome evening. Food & wine? What can anybody ask for more? This is a magnificent gathering. Good food, good drinks and a good company.

    Hope you enjoyed your time and happy blessed w/end to come.

    Hugs,
    /C

  25. My invite must have gotten lost in the mail or I would have been there!

    - The Tablescaper

  26. I just scrolled down through this SO SLOWLY and then scrolled back up to catch your detail and the way you accomplished all the height in just the right places. I love the way this looks! (And that’s not just the wine talking,,, I haven’t been tasting any. ha!)

  27. Oh such a fun parade of wine stewards! Love your pretty cloth topper. I will have a glass of light white please…….no make that merlot…….or perhaps dessert……what the heck…..as I always say, “my favorite wine is the bottle you just opened!”

  28. Wow, I bet your students were absolutely blown away! I know I am! What an inviting display! I’m read to sample that pinot grigio with a bit of cheese and bread. Beautiful!

  29. All lovely (of course), but that picture of the plates with a single shiny green apple is gorgeous! I’d love to be a fly on the wall to see what your students have to say when they see these beautiful things you create! ~Zuni

  30. Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove the wine tasting and SO WISH I WAS YOUR NEIGHBOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, yes, Courtney Cox defies gravity and aging and….
    This is fabulous as always!!!! Have a blessed weekend!!!

    Love/hugs/blessings,
    Lana

  31. What a lovely table full of food! I don’t drink wine but all those fruits were yummy looking and gave me great ideas!

  32. Okay so I’m late.. and later still cause I just dug out the printer tray that was hidden away and is now going to reside in my kitchen! Thank you for that idea.. Loving that idea. We are having our annual wine and cheese party this coming saturday (am I busy yes) and I love getting everything set up.. lots of glasses, cut fruit, grapes, and i’ve gleaned some more ideas from you. woohoo! Our party is simple.. everybody brings some wine and cheese (soo little prep on my part) and everyone has fun fun fun.. You’ve set this up so pretty again.. I’m inspired and wishing I was at your wine tasting.. xo marlis

  33. This is amazing. I love the table cloth turned whack-a-doo on top of the white table cloth. (and yes, spell check just looooved the word whack-a-doo). Now I will have to think twice when I see an awesome pattern but it is in the wrong size…turn it wacky and I’m set! I love all of the height you added to this table. Everything looks wonderful! And the little wine butlers are a riot! Love them…I can hear them now, speaking with a funny accent… How much fun are you going to have at this party!

    Have a great weekend!

  34. Another great buffet! All the elements are so appropriate for a wine tasting with a little surprise from the fabric topper to keep it from being too serious. That Lazy Susan is just tooooo good. You’ve inspired me to give more tips and advice in my posts. It make me feel like I’m doing a service to all the tablescpaing challenged readers I may have.

    Robin
    Robin Flies South

  35. We have several wineries her on the East End of Long Island. Lots of people go to the wine tastings. I wonder what I would do, I don’t drink!
    But I could do a tasting of all your food!

    Your buffet set up looks wonderful, and I see Palmer. Is it from Palmer here in NY or is it a French wine?
    You do a great job, now lay off the wine! :)

  36. Hi, I have been out of town a few days and just got back and can now reply on your Wine Tasting Buffet. It looks like a fun party is just about to begin, the time must be right for a glass of wine. Love the 2 tiered stand with the fruit, then the cheese, and of course the chocolate for the sweet wine. Love the tablecloth turned on the diagonal too. I would probably go for the chocolate and sweet wine to satisfy my taste but my husband would go for everything but sweet. Lovely job and well planned, I used to have Christmas parties for my about 50 people and loved to plan different buffet tables.

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