Grape Expectations

We’ve been Celebrating the Grape and enjoying Bottled Sunshine during September in observance of North Carolina’s Wine Appreciation Month.

Harvest festivals with serenades, grape stomps, and harvest-to-barrel celebrations are abundant with October’s arrival.


Taking my cue from the harvest events at North Carolina wineries this month, I pulled out my grandmother’s dishes~ Harvest Time by Johnson Brothers~ to enjoy with some wine we purchased during our tasting visits.

I harvested some Goldenrod along with clippings from some shrubs for filler~ grasses in bloom, Loropetalum and Abelia for a centerpiece.

Mums for some seasonal color and produce from the grocery store~ artichokes, apples & grapes~ are paired to fill my urn for a full-bodied arrangement for the table.

I fitted a wine bottle with a candelabra insert ~ a fun addition for the table & a keepsake bottle after the contents are gone.

Cradling a bottle from RayLen Vineyards & Winery~ this little bird told about the upcoming mini-release party of RayLen’s newest vintage of Carolinius~ a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

 Ripe for the picking, I found a grape-producing tablecloth & napkins ~a Ralph Lauren varietal~ at HomeGoods a couple of weeks ago.

I found a cheese pairing suggestion for one of our wines~ a Childress Barrel Select Barbera~ since I had ricotta on hand, it was a natural choice and was simple & delicious~

Ricotta with Blackberries & Lime~

Serves 4


  • 3 cups fresh blackberries

  • 2 – 3 tablespoons sugar, depending on sweetness of berries

  • Zest & juice of 1 lime

  • 8 ounces whole milk ricotta


  1.  Place 1 ½ cups of the blackberries in a blender and puree with the sugar. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Add half of the zest and lime juice, stir & refrigeration a minimum of 20 minutes

  2. Reserve the remaining blackberries and lime zest in the refrigerator.

  3. Using a small 1- ounce ice-cream scoop, place 2 tablespoons of the ricotta in the middle of each of 4 small dessert plates or bowls. Toss the blackberry sauce with the remaining berries and spoon a quarter of the sauce around the outside of the ricotta on each plate.

  4. Garnish with blackberries & lime zest.


Harvest Table details:

Tablecloth, Napkins & Bird Wine Caddy/HomeGoods

Dishes/Harvest Time by Johnson Brothers

Goblets/Mikasa French Countryside- Tuesday Morning

Chargers/ Pier 1

Flatware/World Market

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

 Metamorphosis Monday,

The Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysTablescape Thursday,

 Home Sweet Home,  Feathered Nest Friday

Foodie Friday

  43 comments for “Grape Expectations

  1. October 5, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Simply S P E C T A C U L A R! Photos, colors, ideas…GREAT!:)

  2. October 5, 2011 at 6:42 am

    And yet again, I’m left feeling wowed and inspired to get busy with some table fun. This is just beautiful! I love the candelabra in the wine bottle. What a great way to use a special keepsake bottle. I have one from Germany that would be the perfect application for that.

    Those dishes with the grapes next to them are so lovely to me. This whole table just speaks of the harvest of abundance. I love it.

  3. October 5, 2011 at 7:59 am

    You’ve done the grape and harvest proud! I had some table fun this week too, and used a different type of grape. Thank you for the eye candy to get this beautiful day started.

  4. October 5, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I forgot to say how beautiful the centerpiece is! Stunning!!

  5. October 5, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Gorgeous celebration of the grape. It makes me want to take a drive down Missouri’s Wine Road, which is very near our town.

    I need to to buy one of the wine bottle candleholders. Wanted one for years.

    Spectacular post, Mary.

  6. October 5, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Just fabulous! Your book on flower arranging is coming out when? Seriously you should. I too have one of the wine bottle converter candleholder thingies.. Every element on your table is perfect..Love the wine corks and the tablecloth – wow so pretty. Thanks for sharing. xo marlis

  7. Carolyn
    October 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Stunning colors and combination of fruits in the centerpiece. I have enjoyed the info on Carolina Wineries. Carolyn NC

  8. October 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

    another beautiful presentation, so rich in colors… what i love most about you is that you always use natural elements, you speak fresh… well and fabulous, fantastic, fun, and dang feverishly good. love all the blends of autumn…

    everytime i see childress i think of the author, have you read him? southern books too, i wonder?

  9. Jackie
    October 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Wine in North Carolina. Who knew?? They do now with your spectacular post(s).

  10. October 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Mary, I’m running out of superlatives now….;-) Can’t find words adequate enough to express my admiration yet once again for your stunning tables. You have (again!) woven such a rich tapestry of colors and textures….Every single detail blends it all into a rich, luscious and opulent feast for the eye, the mind and the soul.

  11. October 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Beautiful Table! Love your plates! Thanks for sharing,JoAnn

  12. October 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Gorgeous setting and beautiful shots! Love each and every single picture here. Everything looks so perfect. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  13. October 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    All I can say is lush, lush, lush!!!! Such a beautiful floral you have created! It is out of this world and I know how hard it is to photograph something that tall, yet you did a fabulous job! Wish I were there seated in the gorgeous weather and nibbling with you! The dessert looks so simple yet so wonderful too. Once again, wow!!!!!!!!

  14. October 6, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Every inch of this tablescape is amazing. I can’t get enough! The photography really captures the beauty of it all!

  15. October 6, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I want to plan an autumn picnic for tomorrow! Beautiful Mary! Absolutely stunning! I just adore Fall!

  16. October 6, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Mary, you’ve captured the flavour with this table setting. And I love everything. A wonderful spread of goodies and colours.Inspirational!

  17. October 6, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Your images are gorgeous! Have loved my visit here for Tablescape Thursday and learning about SC wine – who knew?

  18. Betsy at A Perfect Setting
    October 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Fabulous! Your centerpiece is soooo gorgeous. I love the way you mixed the produce with grasses and flowers and the colors are so rich! You have such a creative flair! Very professional! The tablecloth brings everything together and I love the choice of china. I always learn something here~ thanks for your efforts, I really appreciate the time you put into these lovely tables!!

  19. October 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Hi Mary,

    This is just beautiful and so perfect for fall!! Your centerpiece is just spectacular and I love the RL linens. They tie everything together so perfectly. I’ve never seen these Johnson Brothers dishes, but they are lovely. I’ve been so distracted lately, I haven’t been able to read your posts as thoroughly as I would like. You always do such a great job.

    I mentioned your blog and put a link to it in my post yesterday. Being North Carolina natives, my husband and I really enjoy visiting all the wonderful wineries nearby. I still haven’t been to Childress, but am anxious to tour the inside. I’ve only seen it in passing.

    Thanks again for sharing your wonderful creativity.

    Denise at Forest Manor

  20. October 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Beautiful table, Mary…love the gorgeous centerpiece. Johnson Bros. have the best dishes…

  21. Liz
    October 6, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    AN AMAZING arrangement! Such a pretty setting. Your tables are always so lovely!! :) Thank you for sharing it at FCF! :)


  22. October 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    A friend recently gave me a wine bottle votive topper but I LOVE your wine bottle candelabra topper even more. Your grandmother had great taste in dishes – they’re beautiful. The ricotta with berries sounds delicious!

  23. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    October 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Gorgeous table Mary! Love the deep wonderful colors of the tablecloth and the candelabra is just too fun! I’ve yet to see a J-Bro dish I don’t like-enjoy:@)

  24. Pondside
    October 9, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Beautiful. I wonder how long we’ll be treated to your outdoor settings? This one was perfect for a sunny fall day – so rich and layered. I enjoyed it.

  25. October 9, 2011 at 11:36 am

    This is drop dead gorgeous, It is magazine worthy.

  26. October 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Once again you have graced us with another stunning post! I love the rich colors that show so much depth of the autumnal season. Your tablescape is both charming and exquisite. I so enjoyed all the information about the Carolina wine world you have shared in this and your previous post. Gorgeous!
    PS, I just finished The Peach Keeper which you recommended. Thank you!

  27. October 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Love your grandmother’s Johnson Bros. dishes. The wine bottle candelabra is so much fun. Thanks for the link.
    Gorgeous table and centerpiece. I always love your arrangements. Keep enjoying wine month.

  28. October 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Great to have you a part of Seasonl Sundays.

    – The Tablescaper

  29. October 10, 2011 at 10:25 am

    It all looks so lovely! Your arrangement is fabulous! You definately have a knack girl! Love your grandmothers dishes. The corks in the bottle is one of my favorite touches. The ricotta sounds and looks so yummy. thanks for sharing

  30. October 10, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    So many beautiful things to love here…my favorite is the bird wine caddy…so special. I adore that you have your grandmother’s Johnson Brothers to use. Family treasures are always the very best! Thank you for sharing another gorgeous design. Cherry Kay

  31. October 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Oh Mary, I am enthralled as usual with your beautiful table. The flower and fruit arrangement is superb! I had a glitch in my email service and missed some posts that usually come in so I am glad I could view your post from Seasonal Sundays.

  32. September 12, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I WANT/NEED one of those candelabra. I am ordering one today! Love your Grandmother’s dishes, how nice that you have them. Love the arrangement, we could be quite a floral team! Love the bird wine holder too. Every post you do makes me smile. Thank you. XO

  33. September 26, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I am compelled to comment again, on this post, Mary. Incredible!!

    I found a wine bottle candle holder this year. It is a double. Found it at a resale shop.
    You inspire me!!

  34. Bev
    October 9, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Lovely…the plates and tablecloth are divine.

  35. October 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Wonderful table…your vintage plates are lovely, Mary. You always have such interesting centerpieces!
    Have a great weekend.

  36. October 9, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    “Bottled Sunshine”!!! I love that expression! I’m going to have to remember that!

    My Lord, what an exquisite table!!! The centerpiece is magnificent! So lush and luxurious…the abundance is just amazing! I love the fabulous rush of color and pattern on the table. It’s got the elements of fall that one comes to expect and appreciate about the season.

    This is 100% top of the line, Mary! Beautiful! Enjoy your weekend and a little more of that bottled sunshine!

  37. October 10, 2014 at 1:37 am

    Okay missy, this just takes things to a whole other level! Absolutely gorgeous! Are you going to post a lesson on putting together that centerpiece? More is more! Love it all!

  38. October 10, 2014 at 6:01 am

    That centerpiece took my breath away! I too have one of the wine bottle candleholder things and love it. Your grandmother’s plates are wonderful! Have a nice weekend.

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