Stonington Vineyards – Surprise Party on a Budget

Wine and cheese plates are sort of my family’s “thing.” In a time when other families packed tuna sandwiches and PBJ’s, my parents were packing entire charcuterie boards in the picnic cooler, with multiple types of cheese, crackers, grapes and meats.

That’s why this year, when my mom turned 60 (sorry mom!), we decided to throw her a surprise bash at Stonington Vineyards, a local winery that receives nothing but rave reviews.

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Picture from Stonington Vineyards site

It was a perfect day – 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, the quintessential Rhode Island Indian Summer. Mom had no idea, either…. she thought that just our immediate family was going out to eat somewhere outdoors, and wasn’t expecting a party of 10 waiting for her around the corner!

The winery was so accommodating. We had initially booked a tasting, thinking the event would take place outside — all of the wineries I have been to (on Long Island) did outdoor tastings, so I didn’t think about it when I booked the reservation! When we found out the event would be indoors, we decided to skip at the last minute in favor of sitting with our huge wine and “nosh” spread on the porch. Cancelling so last minute wasn’t a problem at all, and we went ahead and got a big sampling of their full range of wines.

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It was a rose kind of day, but by far the favorite was the Seaport White, a reasonably priced white blend that even the non-wine-drinkers enjoyed.

I didn’t get the chance to snap a photo, but here’s what I included in my spread… a massive, high quality charcuterie spread for 11 people that cost me less than $100!


Cheeses
Trader Joe’s Toscano Cheese with Cinnamon (seasonal favorite!!)
Trader Joe’s Vanilla Goat Cheese with Blueberries
Trader Joe’s Manchego
2 Trader Joe’s New Zealand Grass Fed Sharp Cheddar
(Can you tell I love the Trader Joe’s cheese section? It’s so great!)

Crackers (1 box each)
Carr’s Water Crackers, Plain
Almond Nut Thins (for us gluten free-ers)
Trader Joe’s Social Snackers
Everything Bagel Crisps

Meats
2 Trader Joe’s Italian and Spanish Combo Packs
3 sticks of homemade sopressatta
1/2 lb Prosciutto di Parma

Other Snacks
Cut Strawberries, coated in sugar
2 Grinders from our favorite local shop, Ritacco’s, cut into strips
Popcorn, coated in olive oil and Himalayan Sea Salt
Funfetti cupcakes (is any birthday complete without funfetti?)
Fresh figs
2 cans of black olives

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Needless to say, Mom was thrilled with the day, and we all had a great time. If you’re looking for a great venue for a casual afternoon with the family or friends, I definitely recommend this location! (I’ve also heard it’s an incredible wedding venue…) There was more than enough food for everyone to stuff themselves silly, and the wine was reasonably priced as well.

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Happy, wine-and-cheese filled family at the Vineyard

Has anyone else been to Stonington Vineyards out there? I’d love to hear more about your experience!

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