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Three Ways to Make Dinner at Home Special

Wed, Mar 01, 23  |  wine blog

Dining at home has always been a great way to avoid crowds. Although, in the past, we did it to make the evening special, not to ensure our safety. Here are three ways you can make your next dinner-at-home experience a celebration.

1. Set the Scene

A centerpiece ties the whole table together. But you don’t have to buy an elaborate arrangement. Here are a few ideas that can help make your dining table feel special.


Dining by candlelight amplifies the romance considerably. Whether you choose a few tall tapers or an array of votive candles, the beautiful glow sets the mood. We recommend unscented candles so they don’t take away from the fragrance of your meal or wine.

Decorate with Wine Bottles

We’re a bit biased, but there are some beautiful wine (and spirits) bottles out there that can be ideal centerpieces. Attach a floral wet foam brick to the neck of a wine bottle and place flowers in it. Secure the flowers with floral wire, if necessary. 

Proper Place Settings

Paper plates have been a practical choice for many during this time of social distancing. But that seems drab. Why not bring out actual dishes and set the table? Get the restaurant experience you crave, at home.                                                             

2. Food and Wine Pairing

We believe in recommendations rather than rules when it comes to wine pairing. Yes, there are certain duos that better complement each other and bring out delicious flavors. But if you are partial to red wine (even with white meat) or consider yourself a “Rosé All Day” type of person, go for it and drink what you like. If you’re curious about suggested wines, check out our chart below.

3. The Perfect Pour

The wonderful thing about wine is that it is an organic experience refined by time and the elements—the result of select grapes growing in fertile soil in an ideal climate and fermenting for just the right amount of time. Time continues to be a factor even after you open it.

Young white wines are ready to drink upon opening. Whites that you’ve properly stored over a few years may benefit from brief (20 minutes) decanting. Softer reds, like Gamay and Rosé wines, are ready to drink upon release and require no decanting.


Red wines, young Cabernet Sauvignons and older wines with bright and pronounced tannin will benefit from decanting. I recommend 45 minutes to an hour. Decant aged red wines for a much shorter period than the young ones, not more than 30 minutes. This is because aged wines already benefit from years spent in the bottle. Their tannin are softened and their flavors tend to be more forward on the palate. Decanting young, tannic reds speeds up the smoothing process by allowing a large surface air-to-wine ratio, resulting in softer tannin and more forward flavor.

We Americans also tend to drink our white wine too cold and our red wine too warm. This common error masks important aromas and flavors of the wine. To fully unleash wine’s flavor potential, I use a 20-minute rule. Place red wines in the refrigerator for twenty minutes prior to opening and serving. Do the opposite for whites—take them out of the refrigerator twenty minutes before opening and serving. I always set a timer to keep from over chilling the reds and overheating the whites. The 20-minute rule is really effective in serving wines, red and white, at the appropriate temperature. 

Remember, the term 'room temperature' can be misleading. It’s better to use a term like cellar temperature, which refers to an underground cellar that maintains 50 – 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you don’t have a collection of different sized wine glasses for red, white, sparkling, etc. it’s best to use a universal size with a stem. Stemless glasses can affect the wine by transferring your body heat to it. Also, remember not to overfill your glass. The recommended serving is 5 ounces. This allows room for the wine to be properly swirled, releasing even more aroma and flavor.

By Clark Trim

Tags: wine