It’s that time of year again. The leaves are starting to crunch slightly underfoot, the scent of pumpkin and spice fills your favorite coffee shop, and the weather in the early evening is just cool enough to take your sweaters out of hibernation. September 22nd may be the first official day of the 2014 fall season, but we all know that autumn really began on that long-awaited day, at the kick-off to NFL Regular Season football. Wine will help you get into the pigskin spirit, and it’s the perfect thing to serve for a viewing party or a large crowd.

As football season heats up, baseball season is racing to the finish line. Why not set up a simple wine bar for World Series viewing? It allows friends to get into the team spirit and serve themselves. Whatever sport you prefer, watch the game in style with family and friends and share in the bounty of nature’s greatest sporting event – the sheer enjoyment of food & wine.

Here are our Top 5 ideas to kick-off the fall sporting season:

  1. 1. Wine Glasses:
    Keep it simple and set all wine stems on a large tray for serve-it-yourself ease. Make sure glasses are absolutely spotless. Wipe them with a clean cloth to remove any water spots left from the dishwasher. Festive ribbons – in team colors – can be tied to the stems to add a sense of spirit and fun.
  2. 2. Simple Appetizers Plus One Make-Ahead Dish:
    No one wants to spend time before a party hovering over a hot stove creating the perfect dish. Keep your appetizers simple – think cheeses, olives, dried fruits, nuts, breadsticks and toasted slices of baguette. Plate them the night before and store them in the fridge. To satisfy the hungriest of sports fans, make one stick-to-your-ribs dish the day before, such as a big crock of chili or gumbo. See recipe below for a great make-ahead chili dish.
  3. 3. A Simple Wine Bar:
    Start with a good selection of both reds and whites. Line them up on a table runner on a table, kitchen island, or coffee table. Be sure to chill your whites before guests arrive, and wipe off any condensation before placing on your table.
  4. 4. Your Favorite Team on Your Favorite Wine:
    You sport your team colors, so why shouldn’t your wine? With our Personalized Wines, you’re able to show your fan loyalty in a fun, unique way. Serve them during your party and let each guest take home a bottle to keep.
    *Please Note: Official team logos are prohibited from printing on labels. Team colors, with your custom personalized text or personal photo, is allowed.
  5. 5. Break Out the Bubbly:
    Whether your team wins or loses, pop open some Sparkling Wines and celebrate a hard-fought game. Keep some chilled and on hand for the last minutes of the game.