Phil and I were at a dinner party a few weeks ago and the host shared how he remembers his first bottle of wine. While it was not expensive or of high caliber, to this day he can recall the moment the wine touched his lips and the aroma from the bottle. The moral of his story was not about the power of the alcohol, but rather who we share a bottle with and the experience. I love hearing his stories about previous dinner parties he has hosted, the places he has traveled to for tastings, and everything in-between.

After learning about his latest trip to France, the stories reminded me of a shoot Phil and I coordinated a while back for a magazine where we set out to create a moment that could someday be a dinner party story. When planning the shoot, I found myself sitting in the office and thinking about the idea- about the best wine night. What exactly does this mean? What does it look like? Most importantly, what does it feel like? I not only wanted the photos to look inviting and showcase everything I had in mind, I wanted to take the experience we were shooting and put it into words. We headed to Pinterest for inspiration, spent quite a few late nights dreaming up what this project would be and shared the names of companies we thought would be amazing to partner with. Piece by piece our version of the best wine night came to life.

The Secret To Having The Best Wine Night

The secret is this- there isn’t one thing to do, but rather a collection of things making up the “best” wine night. Continue reading to find out what those things are!

The Secret To Having The Best Wine Night
  1. Pick a location

We chose the rooftop of FLATS. My friend Courtney lives in one of their buildings and I fell in love with her community space/ rooftop. I saw online they have other locations around the city and the “Ardus” perfectly encompassed the vibes I was going for plus what I thought Phil would like- so I reached out and booked the space. Now, in order to have the best wine night you don’t need to venture to a luxury location. For me it’s all about the vibes. Find someplace meaningful to you and where you truly enjoy spending time. Nothing is worse than being in a building that makes your skin crawl. Comfort is key. If you can relax and picture yourself having fun there, you’ve found your spot. Stumped on ideas? Use your home: gather around the dining room table, the sitting room, or take the party outside to your backyard, patio, deck, rooftop- or if you live close to a beach, pack up a few glasses and a blanket and sip your wine as you watch the waves roll in.

2. great company

Whether it is your family members, significant other, a group of friends or co-workers, wine is always the most enjoyable when you can share the moment with someone else. The best bottles not only hold wine, but memories.

Wine Glass Photography

FLATS Chicago Apartment and Wine

3. The Best wine glass

CJF Selections (aka our favorite wine glass company) has a saying: “great wine demands a great glass”. I couldn’t agree more. I love Grassl glass and the way the stemware fits into my hand. All of the glasses and decanter in this pos are from Grassl’s Vigneron series. Be sure to select the right glass for the type of wine you are drinking. I used this guide on the Grassl website to help me. CJF Selections is currently the only North American Grassl glass distributor, so be sure to visit their website to bring home your glass!

Cheese Plate

Grassl Wine Glasses

Grassl Wine Glass

The Best Wine Glass

Top Wine Glass

4. the wine

This one is pretty straight forward- grab your favorite wine and get pouring! Looking for new wine? Check out this guide released by Wine Enthusiast.

Ridge Wine Photography

Ridge Monte Bello Wine Photography

Wine Photography

Wine Photos

Grassl Decanter

4. cheese + Charcuterie board

Phil suggested we pick up a board from Marché and honestly, I think this was his best idea yet… and he always has the best ideas. But, what can I say- I really like cheese, dried fruits, etc 😉 Having never been to Marché I wan’t sure what to expect. I love how easy it was to request a board ahead of time and also how they have an option to eat and drink in. I ordered the plate and since we were on location the next day, the woman and I decided it would be best to assemble the board myself. The cheese and charcuterie were easy to style. They provided a photo to replicate via their Instagram and also gave verbal instructions on how to slice the cheese the day of. I also ended up purchasing crackers they sold as an add on and they really tied everything together taste wise. I think Phil did an amazing job of assembling this board and love the way it turned out in the photos! Phil based the board on their suggestion but ultimately created his own display and it turned out beautifully.

Styling a Cheese Board

Wine and Cheese Photos

Chicago Wine Night

Wine Glasses and Cheese Plate

5. The outfit

Last but not least, the outfit. Sometimes all it takes is a killer outfit to make an evening. Audrey Hepburn said it best. “Life is a party. Dress like one”.

Enzee Boutique in Elmhurst

as seen in this post:

Thank you to FLATS and Enzee boutique for contributing to this shoot.
LOCATION: FLATS at the Ardus

How To Have The Best Wine Night

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