As the weather warms, we’re looking forward to entertaining both indoors and outside. We sat down with Sophie Gray to talk about her favorite tips on creating an inviting atmosphere for both you and your guests.
What’re three tips or tricks you can share when setting a dinner table?
- I just love using edible flowers to bring the beauty of Mother Nature into your guests' experiences. It’s so easy to just add a few chamomile flowers into your coupe wine glasses. Loria Stern has the most beautiful dried/edible flowers that you can add to your cheese board or meals… On my IG there’s lots of inspiration there too.
- I usually stick with a really neutral color palette with the tablecloth and napkins and then bring pops of color in with my floral arrangements.
- I love adding open fruits and vegetables to the table. This is something I learned from my forever inspiration and styling master—Kendra Smoot—just having a plate of strawberries (or whatever is in season) and opening some up so you can see inside adds so much beauty… Also if you have a veggie plate or cheese platter, always leave in sign of mother nature—like greenery at the top of carrots or leaves on a bunch of grapes or leaves on some tangerines… It makes things look so much more wild, inspiring and beautiful.
Are any of these tricks inherited from your parents or grandparents? If so, how did their entertaining style influence yours?
I love incorporating family heirlooms into entertaining—whether it is your grandmother's china, inherited flatware or a vintage vase that your parents handed down to you—these elements bring soul to a table and you can feel that.
What trends within table decorating or entertaining are you enjoying right now?
I love, love, love the idea of sitting at a low table on pillows on the ground. I created this dining experience for our wine club member dinners before the pandemic and I see similar looks popping up a lot now. For me when I originally envisioned this I wanted our members to feel connected to the land so by sitting on cushions I felt like it literally ground you and connected you with Mother Nature and the land more. I also feel like by sitting on cushions it’s a really intimate way to gather with friends and family. I wanted people to have a novel dining experience that was unlike anything else they have ever experienced before—I wanted it to be unforgettable and I really think it was.
How do you make a dinner table feel personal and inviting?
I feel like flowers and elements from Mother Nature do all the work for me—they create a warm and inviting atmosphere and spark joy. Also, as I said above I love creating novel dining experiences—our low table is really fun because you can kind of cozy up with friends and family and it’s just different and different is always good! These are a few I created recently here here here and here.
What’s your go-to entertaining recipe and wine pairing for a dinner party?
Oh it’s so tough to choose just one! During the pandemic I created Sundays with Sophie which highlights my favorite recipes and design tips. In general I am a pasta lover so a lot of my favorite meals include a decadent pasta with a simple salad and bbq'd fish—all paired to perfection with our organically-farmed wines.
As the weather warms, we’d love to know your approach on an outdoor table. Does it change from indoors to outdoors?
Not all—but one thing I have learned is to invest in some beautiful blankets to give your guests while they are dining outside. I feel like especially in these spring months it can be warm and then cool down after the sun goes down so having a beautiful, cozy and washable blanket to offer your guests while they’re dining outside is a wonderful gesture.
Talk to us about floral arrangements.
Well I have to say that flowers really are my favorite thing. I am deeply inspired by the wildflowers that explode in our vineyard and really all over our property every Spring so I try to incorporate that beauty in my entertaining and also into our brand. In all our member wine shipments we add beautiful dried flowers to all the gift boxes to bring beauty into our members lives, but also as a symbol of our commitment to organic farming and to honoring Mother Earth.
For flowers on a table I always go for really light and feminie colors—no matter what time of year. I like light pinks, purples, peaches and a little white and green. My dear friends who own Marigold flowers help me all the time on special occasions with sourcing flowers.
I also just love adding a wild branch from the property to a vase for a centerpiece and calling it a day—our cherry blossom tree is in full bloom and just clipping one of those branches and adding it to a tall thin vase is so pretty.
“It’s never too late to rewrite the story of your life.”
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
“You have to see it to be it.”
The last mantra is a huge reason why I share my story with our community. I am on a mission to show other women that we can follow your dreams, change careers and be trailblazers in male-domiated fields all while being amazing mamas to our children. It is never easy but it is worth it. I hope that other women and our daughters might see my story and journey and also take a leap of faith and follow their dreams.
Go-to entertaining outfit?
Doen dress (always a dress in general btw) and the new white Libby sneakers!
I am wearing the new libby non-stop these days. They allow me to look cute while being practical too. Whether I’m carrying wine boxes around or chasing my kids or wearing my baby I am comfy! I also live in the Brooke boots when I’m out on our property and in our vineyard.
Must-have table item?
Flowers, flowers, and more flowers. Flowers on the table. Edible flowers in your wine. Flowers on your napkins… Oh and I am obsessed with Heather Taylor Home tablecloths—they are timeless and beautiful.
Go-to home stores for table setting accessories/essentials?
Well Amber Interiors is pretty amazing… Also, just anything Heather Taylor Home.
Biggest entertaining inspiration?
I think Loria Stern and EyeSwoon for very different reasons though. I love how Loria Stern incorporates edible flowers into everything and I love how Athena from EyeSwoon brings in elements from nature to decorate a table so effortly.
When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?
Being out in nature with James and our 3 daughters is my happy place. My daughters love fishing with their daddy on our Mountaintop property and I love sitting with my sweet baby and watching them :) I’ve found that I really love slowing down and enjoying the simple things… We have fun exploring Sonoma Mountain—whether we are picking blackberries during blackberry season, picking wildflowers in spring and making little bouquets or just hiking as a family.
*** I want to reiterate that we feel extremely lucky that we have had the opportunity and privilege to farm organically and support farmers that farm organically. I feel grateful that I have been able to build a community of like-minded people using social media—especially via instagram to not only share our story but also to share our mission and values. Historically wineries had to have a full staff and tasting room to be able to build a community and wine club like we have. We are doing it with one full time team member, the best winemakers around, and an allstar organic farming program.