Holiday Entertaining, California Style

Dec 12, 2011, 05:20 ET from Wine Institute

Take California's relaxed approach to life and savor the holidays!

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California is known for its cool vibe, healthy cuisine, great wines and above all, laid back approach to life. To Californians, it's all about the attitude, which to them means living life to the fullest. The holidays are a time of stress for many harried hosts and hostesses but with a few hassle-free tips, you can breeze through a holiday dinner, California-style!

  • Californians are relaxed, so don't sweat over the small stuff! Who cares if all the plates match or Aunt Sally is late?
  • The best thing about the holidays is spending time together. Leave an hour or more at the start of the meal for just relaxing with some California wine and appetizers while the guests gather. That leaves plenty of room to allow for latecomers or sending your best friend on a last-minute trip to the store.
  • We're a friendly, open-minded bunch in California! Placing food and drinks at various locations around the room helps guests relax and mingle with each other.
  • Use the freshest ingredients, sustainably grown when possible. California's farmers, including winegrowers, lead the nation in commitment to sustainable practices.
  • Make it a healthy menu: skip the mayo-loaded artichoke dip for a blend of feta, white bean & sun dried tomatoes. For recipes and wine suggestions, click here.
  • Put pleasure first this holiday and really savor the experience. Eat slowly and leave time for talking—it's all about enjoying the company.  
  • Dress festively but don't be afraid to be casual and comfortable—Californians have a fun, free-spirited sense of style. Save those high heels for a big night out.
  • With so many different dishes on the table, don't worry too much about wine pairing. Trust your own taste buds! Have a red and a white wine: try California Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc for white, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel for red.
  • Enjoying a glass of California wine is easy to do, but there are a few tips that will enhance your experience! has a simple, one-page online guide to selecting, tasting and serving wine: click here.
  • Keep table arrangements fresh & simple too: try small pots of kale, cabbage or fresh herbs, pretty bowls of clementines, or harvest bouquets.
  • Californians love the outdoors and being active—if weather permits, take a leisurely walk between dinner and dessert. Even modest exercise is a great stress reliever!
  • Don't stand on formalities: put company to work! Guests always ask, "What can I do?" Many hands make light work of stirring, carving, serving, clearing the dishes or tidying up.
  • At the end of the night, kick off your shoes and drink a toast to yourself for pulling it all off in California style!

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SOURCE Wine Institute