The White Nights Ladies Only Dinner Party – 1st in our series of six #YouKnowJLohr party posts!
Disclosure: Party Bluprints Inc. has proudly partnered with J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines and the #YouKnowJLohr campaign to bring you these tips. The opinions within this post are expressly our own.
Summer not only offers daylight that stretches into the nighttime hours, but it’s also a season that carries a spirit of free and easy living. The weeks leading up to the Summer Solstice and those that follow are the longest nights of the year. Take advantage of these “white nights” and invite the ladies over to connect in a relaxed atmosphere before the busy summer schedule gets underway. Consider it a little time for yourself that you carve out to celebrate the season on your terms with just the ladies.
Mother Nature is the inspiration for this outdoor white dinner party for the ladies. The vibe is light and easy, which is reflected in the white palette, accented by summer’s lush landscape and hints of gold as the sun starts to drop against the backdrop of a summer sky.
Invite the ladies to wear white and celebrate the white nights of summer’s longest days. Share time over wine and a delicious meal under the open sky and breathe the spirit of summer as conversation (and wine) flows light and easy throughout the evening. Take advantage of the extended daylight dinner hour and plan your party from 6pm – 9pm.
The inspiration for your dinner party table is an all-white foundation with pops of fresh summer greens provided by flowers and fresh herbs and accented by touches of gold supplied by gold chargers, chardonnay and candlelight. Your table basics are your white elements: a bright white tablecloth and cloth napkins and white dishes.
Once you’ve built your foundation with these elements, it’s time to accessorize. Add a gold glass charger to each place setting to add substance and a touch of contrast to set off your white plates against the white tablecloth. To add some further interest to your place setting, dress up your white napkins with fresh rosemary and a simple white tag with the handwritten names of your guests. Simply fold your pressed square (approx. 20” x 20”) cloth napkin in half and then in fours so you have roughly a 5” x 10” folded napkin. Thread each tag onto a 10” piece of decorative twine and tie around the center of napkin, cinching it in the middle so the top and bottom fan out and a channel is created that runs down the length of the napkin. Then, insert two sprigs of fresh rosemary and you have a simple and fresh place card that personalizes each place setting.
The centerpiece is overflowing with summer lushness. Hydrangeas are some of summer’s most precious bounty, so we made them the focal point of this White Nights dinner table. Use a low white ceramic bowl, secure a large oasis in the middle and fill it with white hydrangea so that it is overflowing, just as you would see them in a summer landscape and then add pops of green hydrangea. Tip: If you aren’t so handy with floral arrangements, bring your bowl to your florist along with this picture of the arrangement.
We intentionally kept the table simple so there was room to breathe, adding in candles and stemless wine glasses, while leaving room so the first course could be served from the table as well as the wine. This night is all about relaxing and connecting with the ladies, so keep it simple and special. Tip: Keep a supply of water and chardonnay on ice within arm’s reach from your seat either on a side table or in a wine bucket stand.
To welcome your guests, prepare your table with the perfect “White Nights” welcome starter for the ladies: Fresh Ricotta served on golden grilled bread, topped with drizzled honey, garnished with a large sprig of fresh rosemary and paired with 2014 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay.
Here are a few menu inspirations to get you started:
- Your favorite green salad garnished with fresh herbs
- Simple Roasted Chicken with Mushroom Risotto
- Grilled peaches served with a dollop of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and garnished with mint
Note: 2014 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay wine list description: A fresh, youthful and rich Chardonnay with flavors of nectarine, apple, citrus and honey.
As a keepsake of the special time you shared, send the ladies home with a bottle of rosemary infused olive oil.
DIY Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil:
- Thoroughly dry the rosemary to remove all water, leaving the essential oils. You can use a food dehydrator if you have one or just leave the herbs in the sun. You need to be careful about adding fresh herbs that may contain water, as these may cause bacteria to grow in your bottle.
- After the rosemary is dry, insert a generous sprig into your bottle, add olive oil and cork it.
- Decorate as you like and gift it to your guests.
As the meal comes to an end, nature provides a spectacular show in the sky as the sun starts to set casting a golden light over your table and guests, picking up the golden accents on your table. Leave your guests glowing from a special night with the ladies, where the look, feel and vibe were created to capture and celebrate a woman’s summer spirit. Send the ladies home with a beautiful white candle accented with fresh herbs, lavender is a beautiful choice, as a keepsake of the special time you shared.
WINEMAKER’S COMMENTS: The 2014 Riverstone Chardonnay has a youthful, brassy yellow color of medium depth. The aromas are fresh and reminiscent of ripe nectarine, apple and strawberry combined with honey, grilled hazelnuts and toasty oak from the barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. The palate weight is plump and rich, with flavors echoing the aromas with a delicate balance of acidity, buttery length and sophisticated elegance. —Jeff Meier, winemaker
WINE LIST DESCRIPTION: A fresh, youthful and rich Chardonnay with flavors of nectarine, apple, citrus and honey.
About J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines: Founded four decades ago by Jerry Lohr, and still family-owned and operated today, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines makes a full line of internationally recognized wines from its 3,700 acres of sustainably-farmed, estate vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations, and St. Helena in the Napa Valley. Offering an expressive range of styles, J. Lohr produces four tiers of signature wines showcasing its estate grapes – J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Cuvée Series and J. Lohr Gesture.