Wine club release parties can be amazing, but hosting a club event while serving non-members guests can get a bit hectic. To lower the stress and increase the “club” feel, Eagle Ridge Vineyard hosted their very first wine club release dinner. Here’s how it went:
We try to attend every Eagle Ridge release party, and have been known to rearrange our calendar to make it work. For past club events, a row of wine barrels are moved forward to create a space behind for some tables for club members. As their club grew, along with their normal daily tasting traffic, everything began to get a bit frayed. Not afraid of change, owners Cheryl and Jim Perry decided to try something new: a wine club release dinner!
We drove up the ridge to the Eagle Ridge parking lot, discovering that quite a few club members had adjusted for the Friday night commute traffic on Tesla Road better than us and were already enjoying the event. Luckily, the parking area has more than adequate capacity, so finding a parking spot was not an issue. Cheryl greeted us and checked us off of the RSVP list. It was time to celebrate the new wine releases!
Although there was already a great turnout for the release party, Eagle Ridge had prepared plenty of places to sit and the buffet line was moving briskly. We grabbed a splash of their new 2018 Chardonnay as we looped around the tasting room and considered the various seating options that were open. We were about to sit down when we heard faint strains of live music coming from the side patio. That tipped the balance; we chose to sit outside. A warm summer evening paired with a crisp Chard? Perfect.
The side patio was enjoying some much-appreciated shade cast by the winery building. We surveyed the array of tables and found an open space that looked just right for us. We shared a table with two other couples. As introductions were made, we discovered that our table buddies were all from outside of the Livermore Valley! Yes, Eagle Ridge Vineyard has earned club members who take on a significant drive to attend their events. Given the traffic situation in the Bay Area, that is a very sincere compliment.
Once we had decided on our seating, it was time for some food! We went back into the winery and queued up for the Greek-inspired menu. The Cabana Dave’s menu included: Greek marinated chicken skewer with Tzatziki sauce, Saffron Basmati rice, grilled vegetables, pita bread, and Greek salad. Cheryl had added a plate of her homemade Baklava for dessert. An amazing dinner for all of the club members!
On the way back to our table, we picked up a taste of the new 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. Full of fruit, with a tart cherry finish, it played very will with the wonderful dinner. As we worked our way toward the Baklava, we enjoyed some fun live music by Rhyme & Reason and chatted with the other couples at our table. Everything in our reality was perfectly in sync.
As the sun set along the western ridge line, we thanked Cheryl and Jim, collected our wine release, and drove the few miles home. A great first dinner release party by Eagle Ridge Vineyard!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?