How to Host a California-Themed Wine & Cheese Tasting Party (plus win a California Wine Club Giveaway)

Are you the type of person who walks into a wine store and knows exactly what to buy? Or are you the type who walks in, roams about aimlessly for several minutes scanning the aisles, and gets overwhelmed, grabbing the most familiar bottle on the shelf? We’re closer to case #2…but it’s not for lack of wanting. Shopping at a wine store can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience, especially when you want to grab a couple of bottles for entertaining friends that you can trust will be good, unique, and interesting, without breaking the bank.

That’s where a wine club service like the California Wine Club comes into play. Every month, you get a selection of hand-picked, small-production, affordable wines from California delivered straight to your door. No wandering, no wondering. We recently had the chance to try their Premier Series, thanks to the team at Cooking with Caitlin, when two bottles of Ca’ Momi wine showed up on our door. And when wine gets delivered, it calls for a party…with cheese! (Eager to start drinking? We’ve got a giveaway of a CA Wine Club membership at the bottom of the page!)

Ca' Momi Wines from the California Wine Club

With two Italian-style, Napa Valley-made wines in hand – the Ca’ Momi 2010 Napa Valley Rosso di Napa and the 2011 Bianco de Napa – we started thinking about cheese. There are various ways to put together a cheese board – by texture, by creamery, by type of milk, by style, and more. Since we were drinking California wine, we chose to put together our cheese board based on region with 3 delicious cheeses from California. On the right, we started with a creamy chevre-like Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog goat cheese, followed by a sweet and nutty Cypress Grove Midnight Moon goat-milk gouda on the bottom, and finishing with a citrus-y, pungent Point Reyes Blue on the left. (Note: these are all cheeses that are sold widely across the U.S.) And because no cheese board is complete without some pork, a few slices of Fra’Mani salumi (also made in CA) rounded out the platter.

Cheese Board for a California Wine & Cheese Tasting Party

When you’re looking to pair wine with cheese, there are 2 approaches you can take – contrasting or complementary. This pairing has a little bit of both. The freshness of the Humboldt Fog paired perfectly with the crispness of the Bianco di Napa wine while the wine’s acidity cut the creaminess of the Midnight Moon. With the rich, full-body of the Rosso di Napa, we liked the smoothness of the Midnight Moon and the contrasting punch of the Point Reyes Blue. We could (and did) make a meal out of just this!

How to Host a California-Themed Wine & Cheese Tasting Party (plus win a California Wine Club Giveaway)

The thing we appreciate the most about the California Wine Club’s approach, other than the wondrous convenience of having wine delivered to your doorstep every month, is the thought and care that goes into every selection. These aren’t wineries, wines, or labels that you see on the shelves of your local wine store, mostly because they’re usually too small to make it this far. They’re not big box, bulk, or reject wines. They’re delicious, creative wines made by mom & pop operations who make up 70-80% of California wineries. These are the wines that are the heartbeat of the wine industry in California and unless you’re lucky enough to live there, you’re likely missing out. (FOMO, anyone?) Want to know more about their process? Check out this video.

Pam and Bruce Boring, founders of the CA Wine Club, spend a ton of time not only tasting the wine to ensure that every bottle you get is delicious, but also put in the effort to learn about the people and the stories that bring the wine from vine to bottle. With every shipment comes the Uncorked brochure that’s filled with approachable tasting notes and pairing suggestions for each wine along with a full-spread story about the winery, the winemakers, and the techniques that go into making that month’s wines specials.

Uncorked Brochure from the California Wine Club

Don’t get us wrong. There are those days when you’re ready to drink just about anything that’ll take the edge off. But if you’re curious like us, there are also those days when you get excited to learn about what’s in your glass and to share that experience with family and friends. That’s where a service like the California Wine Club comes into play. Drink well, learn a little something, and enjoy knowing that you’re helping small, artisan producers of wine grow their business.

California Wine Club

Love talking about wine or want to learn more about it? Join us on Monday 4/28 from 4-5:30pm EST for a very special Wine Tasting Edition of the #FNIchat (Foodies’ Night In) Twitter party where we’ll be talking all things wine and wine tasting.

Now after all of that, are you ready for some WINE? Thanks to the CA Wine Club, one of you lucky people will win a 3-month subscription to their Premier Edition package, with 2 bottles of wine sent right to your door, every month, for 3 months. Monthly wine tasting parties anyone? Just use the widget below to enter.

But let’s be honest. In our minds, you’re all winners so the California Wine Club has offered all of our readers two very special discount codes to use on your order (or for a gift). These are valid until May 22nd so get ’em while they’re good!

Club25Get $25 off your first box / case / gift

Club4for2Double your membership and get 4 bottles for the price of 2 (double the fun!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For 4 more chances to win a subscription to the California Wine Club, visit these great bloggers:

The Hungry Goddess


Young Married Chic

A Good Time with Wine

This post is sponsored by the California Wine Club and, as always, all opinions expressed are what our editors honestly and truly believe about this service. Thanks for supporting the partners who allows us to keep NoshOn.It running and growing.