Pour a glass and prep for the big day.
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For many soon-to-be married couples, the rehearsal dinner is the second-most exciting event of the wedding weekend. The intimate gathering of close family members and friends offers the opportunity to toast the upcoming festivities. It's also typically a more casual affair, especially when compared to the wedding itself, meaning you're more likely to get away with being creative with the menu. While unique food options (think: lobster bakes, pizza trucks, and more) often make their way into rehearsal dinners, unique drinks can be a part of yours, too. One of our favorite ways to share your love of vino (or even your favorite bottles!) with your guests? By hosting your pre-wedding celebration at a wine-centric spot.
If you're on the hunt for a rehearsal dinner venue that houses all of your favorite varietals and imported classics, you're in luck. We've compiled a list of great locations that are great for wine lovers. If you're getting married in or nearby one of the following cities or regions, we've provided our recommendations for where to host your bash. Our list includes destinations in the U.S. and abroad, which makes it even easier to find a spot that's right for you. And if you're still choosing a wedding venue, these may even inspire that search. Once you hear what these places have to offer, you'll want to book a trip! Click through for great ideas from coast to coast and beyond.
Photography: Courtesy of Southeast Wine Collective2 of 12
There's no shortage of wineries in the great state of Oregon, especially if you're centered around Portland. Oregon's famed Pinot Noir region, Willamette Valley, is just under an hour's drive away. Make Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland your destination, which works with 117 local wineries to create their award-worthy wine list. The brick walls of the historic building are lined with wine storage and barrels, giving the space an authentic winery feel without the remote location.
If you're trying to stay within the city's borders, consider Southeast Wine Collective, a unique, multi-faceted urban winery, wine bar, event space, and bottle shop located on the trendy SE Division Street. Sip flights and tastings from wine made in the Pacific Northwest region and afar.
Photography: Courtesy of Estates Wine Room3 of 12
You'll find The Estates Wine Room, a gorgeous tasting room that balances historic bricks with a modern feel, deep within the city's historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. You can expect a curated selection of wine from iconic Pacific Northwestern wineries (like Archery Summit, Seven Hills, and Double Canyon) and a perfectly-paired meal courtesy of the venue's partners at The London Plane, a nearby Seattle restaurant.
If you want to move slightly outside the city's borders, head about 30 minutes north to DeLille Cellars, a boutique winery in Woodinville, Washington. Founded in 1992, the winery churns out Bordeaux-style blends. Their Chateau offers an elegant and rustic environment to host your rehearsal dinner, with its sparkling chandeliers and firelight to the 10-acre estate's gardens and ponds.
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Sonoma County is waiting for you just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. A wine lover's dream, Sonoma is arguably the home of the best varietals in the U.S. (okay, next to its neighbor Napa Valley). Catelli's restaurant is conveniently located in the very heart of it all, and the historic restaurant, which has been around since 1936, has the largest selection of exclusively local wines in the area. Their unique rehearsal dinner space boasts Italian marble floors and an estate garden for an Instagram-worthy cocktail hour.
You could also head to Napa Valley. If you're looking for award-winning cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, settle on Odette Estate Winery, a modern, elegant location with a stunning tasting lounge that can hold up to 100 guests. Your loved ones will be impressed by the walnut wood tasting bars and cozy black velvet sofas.
Photography: Courtesy of Yvonne's5 of 12
If you're hosting your rehearsal dinner in Beantown and want to choose a restaurant with an impressive wine list, you're in luck. While there are tons to choose from, the first that comes to mind is Yvonne's, a modern reinterpretation of the supper club that sits just next to the beautiful Boston Common (a great location for a photo-op!). Sommelier Nick Morisi heads the restaurant's wine program and travels the globe to bring back the best pours, so you can expect to choose from an exciting variety of options.
Just a block away is another ideal spot—this one with Peruvian flair. RUKA produces an eclectic menu of diverse and bold flavors, and has a wine list that pairs effortlessly. The earthy décor, featuring live-edge wood tables and shou-sugi ban charred wood, is also a plus.
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Photography: Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Lodge6 of 12
If you've been hunting for winter wedding ideas, this picture-perfect ski town would certainly be a worthy destination. But few realize how stunning the state of Vermont is throughout the year—especially during the fall (hello, foliage!) and summer. No matter the season, if top-notch wines are a must on your menu, you'll find everything you're looking for at Stowe Mountain Lodge. Their gifted team, lead by Court of Master-certified sommelier Karl McElligott, pairs old and new world wines that blend perfectly with the tastes of every menu choice imaginable. They also have a wine wagon (yes, you read that right), that's used as part of a fun game you can play with your bridal party or wedding guests that involves selecting the right geographical region and varietal of a wine of your choosing. Where to host your dinner is the fun part. In addition to their four full-service restaurants, Stowe Mountain Lodge also has a secret prohibition speakeasy venue called The Linehouse, where you can expect cheese tastings galore, among many other delicious delicacies.
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If Texas had a Napa, it would almost definitely be Hill Country, which is located just outside the state's capital. There, you can find Duchman Family Winery, a top destination for wine lovers and couples in search of a romantic, vino-filled spot for a rehearsal dinner. The Italianate villa overlooks an expansive vineyard and hosts events in a private tasting room that's ideal for a small gathering. Plus, Duchman is one of the leading producers of local Texan wine, made from grapes grown in the state's High Plains. Their lead chef, Joseph Bannister lends his expertise and helps in the selection of the wine and food pairing menu.
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Arrington Vineyards, located about 30 minutes from Nashville center, is the largest vineyard in Middle Tennessee. Since the city is known for its live music, it only makes sense that it's owned by country music star Kix Brooks. But the owner's fame isn't the only thing that's impressive about this vineyard: Its wine has won prizes at the NY International Wine Festival. You can rent out their private wine loft for an intimate rehearsal dinner and opt for your guests to get a private tour of the barrel house and wine production facility. If you happen to be dining on the weekends, you might be lucky enough to catch their live music series, "Music in the Vines."
Photography: Courtesy of The Fig Tree Restaurant9 of 12
Charlotte, North Carolina
If you're getting married in the heart of this North Carolina city, you'd be wise to choose The Fig Tree Restaurant as a venue for your wine-infused rehearsal dinner. Owner and head chef Greg Zanitsch is on a first-name basis with some of Napa Valley's top winemakers, and he selects some of the rarest wine finds for his restaurant. (Seriously. At times, his wine list hovers around 1,000 labels!) The restaurant is a unique setting in and of itself, located in a 104-year-old bungalow in Charlotte's historic Elizabeth neighborhood. Plus, you can choose from one of five dining rooms for your location, each offering its own unique décor.
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The only thing better than having your rehearsal dinner in the heart of Manhattan is hosting your event just outside of the island's borders so you can enjoy a spectacular view of the skyline. That's what you'll get at The River Café in downtown Brooklyn. The restaurant's wine program has been run by respected sommelier Joseph DeLissio since 1977 and their list boasts over 50 varieties, including some of the best international wines to be found anywhere.
In Brooklyn's neighboring borough, Queens, you can find Oro, a modern Italian restaurant offering an expansive wine program and a private event space perfectly designed for an elegant, lively rehearsal dinner. Bottles of their wine selection are mounted and displayed on a wood-paneled wall as pieces of art. Their wide selection features imported favorited from the world's wine capitals, Italy, France, and California.
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Photography: Courtesy of Stone Tower Winery11 of 12
In the nation's capital, oenophiles will find unlimited options for a wine-centric rehearsal dinner. The innovative wine cube at Charlie Palmer Steak Washington D.C. is overseen by Nadine Brown and features 3,500 bottles of exclusively American wine—including many hard-to-find varieties from lesser-known boutique winemakers. The steakhouse offers American culinary classics that pair effortlessly with the wine list.
Just an hour outside of D.C. you'll find Stone Tower Winery. Here, you can sip a bevy of award-winning varieties while surveying 306 acres of rolling hills atop Hogback Mountain. This rustic event space is ideal for everything from cocktail parties and private tastings to rehearsal dinners. Their Harvest Barn offers space for up to 250 guests and shows off stunning view of the vineyard.
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If your passion for vino brings you and your wedding guests to central Italy, look no further than Tuscany's Castello di Casole for your rehearsal dinner. This castle-turned-boutique hotel boasts more than 100 acres of vineyards and features an estate-grown wine blend in its namesake. After your guests enjoy a cocktail hour in the form of a wine tour and tasting, settle yourselves at Ristorante Rosca where a large wall displays hundreds of vintages from leading wineries around the world. An on-site sommelier will help assist you in creating special food and wine pairings for a truly unforgettable dining experience.
If a castle doesn't quite cut it for your big evening, how about an 800-year-old Tuscan Medieval estate and former home to Italy's Medici family: Toscana Resort Castelfalfi. This gorgeous estate sits upon a hill surrounded by the 2,700-acre estate, offers panoramic views of Tuscany, and is just 40 minutes from Pisa and about 50 minutes from Florence. Dine at Castelfafi's fine restaurant, La Via del Sale, which features authentic Italian cuisine and, of course, wine pairings to go with it.