Wine Tasting Party On Our New Terrace

Mar 3, 2018

I've been calling our latest project of turning a retaining wall into a balcony, but it doesn't really seem tall enough to be considered a balcony. Terrace is a more accurate description. Doesn't terrace sound better anyway? It immediately puts me in vacation mode. In my last post I showed you the before pics, the plan and the work just starting to begin. It is semi-complete at this point. It looks great from a distance, but there are a ton of touch-ups that need to be done to the stone and railings. I'm waiting for those to be finished hopefully by next week before I add planters to the tops of the pillars for reveal pics. I was so excited that we could move a wine party we had been planning for months outdoors. The weather was amazing and the contractor was hurrying to clean up the space so we could set up the tables by the pool.

That's our wine host in the photo above, Chiara, from Tenuto Torciano winery in Tuscany. My husband and I visited the winery last summer and were told they travel to the U.S. for private in-home wine tastings every spring. The best is they are completely free! Of course they would like our guests to buy wine. I knew that wouldn't be an issue with my crowd of friends!

Ciara set up the wine and oils on the new stone pillars. I thought that was a brilliant idea! Here is my husband and I before the party. Sorry, it was hard to get a good photo with the sun setting behind us. We were also careful not to touch the railings because there was black paint in some spots that hadn't dried. The contractor was leaving as Ciara pulled up to our house. The timing was crazy! You might notice the stone is a bit different from the pool wall. I'm actually okay with it since I haven't ever been a fan of the brown stone in the pool wall. I was worried that it wouldn't look right since it didn't match, but there is enough brown in the stone to blend with it.

This pic shows the brown in the stone a bit better since some of the others haven't been cleaned of the dust yet. Again, sorry for the poor quality pics! I did a screenshot from my IG stories since I hadn't thought to take blog pics.

One day I'd like to continue the stone on the facing of the retaining wall and stairs. You might also notice the solar lights on the wall. We installed those an hour before the party started. I bought them yesterday and let them sit in the sun so they would charge up. It was great having that bit of extra lighting by the tables.

I rented cocktail tables instead of regular tables because when we were planning the party for indoors there wouldn't have been enough room for chairs. The flowers are from Trader Joe's and I put those together the day before so the prep would be minimal. I already had the candleholders, and I found the glass vases at Target for $2.99. I should probably let people think I had a florist, but you know I have to share a deal!

Also, I had looked up pricing at local Italian restaurants for to go food. I was thinking that I would make some of the easier dishes and pick up the more complicated ones. After talking to the catering manager at a local restaurant I realized I couldn't cook for cheaper than what she was offering me. She even included a server at a minimal cost. I was so surprised by the cost of catering and party supply rentals. I would have done this years ago, but I just assumed it would be too expensive. You really just never know until you ask! The best part is since we had a waitress we could have her serve small plates to pair with the wines instead of one big dinner.

All of that planning paid off! Once Ciara started her presentation from the balcony with the string lights behind her while we were at the cocktail tables below by the pool, I just smiled so big. It was honestly magical! It felt like we were in the middle of Italy with the cypress trees behind the pool. I heard similar comments from my guests. I'm so glad I was able to take a little bit of the magic of Tuscany home to them. I'm guessing they loved it by the massive amounts of wine they ordered!

This was so much fun! It's nights like these that break up the mundane of daily life with a little something special. I'm getting better at planning events, whether it's a party or a new activity with a friend (tennis for the first time as an adult this week, wish me luck). I have asked myself many times why I do these things up until the day of the event, but I never regret it in the end!

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