We joined Kara Groom of Kara Marie Wines for a glass of wine in her gorgeous backyard for a chat about all things hosting. Kara is a winemaker + Healdsburg local. After the debut of her first wine, The Ra Ra Rosé, Kara went on to create a Dry Riesling, Nouveau Pinot Noir, and Pét Nat of Riesling. Not only can you shop all of Kara’s wines on her website, but she also has an amazing page full of recipes. If roasted delicata squash with curried coconut cream or strawberries + whipped ricotta toast with rosé infused honey sounds good to you… be sure to check out her site!
How did Kara Marie Wines start?
Kara Marie Wines started as a little passion project, and it still is! After working 6 harvests across 3 continents I was ready to return home and though relatively unplanned, Kara Marie Wines started later that year with 100 cases of rose. What started as a hobby has slowly turned into a real business! While my business has grown over the last 4 years, I am still very much a boutique producer, producing Rose of Grenache, Dry Riesling, Nouveau Pinot Noir, and Pet Nat of Riesling. I love this little business and everything is hands on, from the making to the selling!
What are some of your hosting essentials?
Hosting is my favorite pastime. What is better than sharing your home with friends and enjoying a glass of wine and great food while you’re at it? Wine is definitely my hosting essential, you won’t make it through the door for long in my house without the offer of a glass of wine! After wine, a great appetizer is a must for me! I love showcasing seasonal ingredients. If it came straight out of my garden, that’s a plus!
If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
Strategically, I would pick Grenache. It makes an absolutely killer Rosé (I know this first hand!) but also makes a great red so I can have the best of both worlds for the rest of my life! If I wasn’t allowed to pick a varietal and had to pick one wine, I couldn’t not pick Riesling, the queen of heart!
You decided last minute to have people over, what’s in your fridge right now that you’re serving?
WINE! I never seem to have one thing in my fridge but I always try to showcase what's in season as well as what's in my garden! Even if it's just edible flowers to garnish a dish. I love showcasing what nature is giving! I also love preserving, fermenting, etc, my passion of fermenting in the cellar very much translates to my kitchen!
Okay this is a hard one… would you rather never be able to drink again, or never be able to eat again?
YOU ARE CRUEL! My lawyer advises that I should decline to answer this question lol. But I mean probably never drink again although this pains me and we can’t be friends now for putting me in a Sophie’s choice position.
When you get to be a guest, do you have any go-to host gifts?
Wine, duh! If I really like you, expect a magnum!
What’s up next for Kara Marie Wines?
More fun, more wines, more mischief! Stick around for the ride!
Kara did us the honor of creating a recipe for us to share (and we got to try it!)
Kara's Crostini with Goat Cheese and Cherry ‘Bruschetta’
• 1 baguette
• olive oil
• kosher salt
• 3 cups pitted and roughly chopped cherries
• 1 cup finely chopped fennel, fronds reserved for garnish
• 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• black pepper
• 8 ounces fresh goat cheese
• salted and roasted pistachios, roughly chopped, for garnish
• edible flowers, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400F. Slice the baguette on the diagonal into ¼ inch slices. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake on a sheet tray until just beginning to color on top and golden brown on bottom, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, mix cherries, fennel, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spread crostini with goat cheese and top with cherry mixture. Garnish with pistachios, fennel fronds, and edible flowers.
Yields: 3 dozen crostini
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes