You can’t escape it…holiday season is here. Hard to believe with this never-ending summer we’re having out here in California, eh? Alas, it all starts with Halloween witch which is just around the corner, fiends friends. We of legal drinking age may not be able to get away with trick or treating anymore, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to still celebrate, right? Right!
Growing up, while my cousins and I would trick-or-treat around my godmother’s neighborhood, I remember the adults would hang out at the house. There was food, drink and lots of gossip. To my adolescent mind, I thought, “How boring Halloween gets when you grow up.” I shook off the thought and returned to my chocolates. In college, Halloween was just, well, a little ridiculous. You remember, don’t you? Terribly inappropriate costumes, lots of liquor, and what the heck happened to the candy? Not exactly my cup of tea. When I moved to Pittsburgh, Halloween got fun again for my adult self. I lived in a neighborhood which saw hundreds of kids in costume pass through. Instead of waiting inside for the doorbell to ring again, the adults set up camp on their stoops, buckets of candy in one hand, glasses of wine in the other. We oohed and ahhed over the cute costumes, we chatted with the parents and we drank wine! Once the kids started to dwindle down, we walked the neighborhood, greeting neighbors, sharing the last of what was in our wine bottles. It was, I don’t know, fun in a grown up sort of way. Oh yeah, we ate all the leftover candy, too. While I thought I’d outgrown Halloween forever (or at least until I had kids), I found myself looking forward to the next one. Back in the spirit again, I began making themed dinners on All Hallows Eve and shaking up spooky cocktails. Just goes to show we’re never too old to eat, drink and be a little scary.
There are tons of creative and fun ways to get your family to eat a wholesome dinner on Halloween. There’s the classic “worms and eyeballs”, aka, spaghetti and meatballs. Mom and dad will appreciate this crowd-pleaser with Ponte 2011 Sangiovese (the name refers to “blood,” hee hee).
Speaking of pasta, if you want to do something a little different, consider black and orange spaghetti. Black pasta (pasta colored with squid ink) isn’t all that difficult to find anymore. Prepared with orange ingredients like squash and orange peppers and flavored with garlic, it begs to be served on the country’s scariest holiday. We like this recipe, found here. Try it with 2014 Torrontes.
Of course, anything with lots of garlic is always appropriate…you know, to keep away the vampires. Be warned: you just might keep away everyone else so keep your mints handy. We recommend: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic with 2013 Chardonnay; Garlic Cheese Bread with 2013 Vermentino.
Any red wine, will work, of course, because you can just claim it to be “goblin blood” or some other hideous name. Mulled wine which you can call “witches brew” is always fun. Or go for a simple grown up wine punch dubbed “poisonous potion” made with red wine, brandy, orange liqueur and lemons. Serve it up over ice. If bubbles are your thing, pick up some blood orange juice and a bottle of our 2013 Moscato. Voila, you’ve got the essentials for a blood orange mimosa.
Our Wine Production Manager, Jayna, adores Halloween and goes all out for the October 31st occasion. She’s come up with 3 easy ways to decorate for the festivities and repurpose wine bottles at the same time.
First, re-label wine bottles with creepy labels. Free silhouette labels that you can print on your home computer are widely available. Once printed, cover up the existing wine label on the bottle. Serve your toxic tonics to unsuspecting guests.
Have more empty wine bottles than full? Excellent! You can turn them into sinister candle holders. Simply spray paint the bottles with matte black and place black taper candles in them. Get the kids involved by letting them draw scary eyes on them with chalk.
And finally, for a little more haunt, fill your empty bottles with tonic water, liquid laundry detergent or highlighter ink and shine a black light on the bottles for a glowing effect. Add some gummy worms or spiders to create scary specimen bottles.
We hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween this year! Yes, the winery and hotel will be open and, yes, we welcome costumes!
–Wine bottle repurposing ideas from Jayna Viereck