20 Wine Party Starters to Serve

Smoked Salmon and Caviar Gougeres
Photo: Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

Though wine and cheese are a natural match, wine party fare needn't be relegated to cheese boards alone. This selection of small bites features recipes to accentuate the variety of wines you may be serving and tasting. From herb-roasted olives to creative crostini, these are the hors d'oeuvres that will elevate your next wine party.

01 of 20

Onion Jam and Goat Cheese Rugelach

Onion Jam and Goat Cheese Rugelach
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Rugelach are typically layered with jam and chopped nuts and topped with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, but the dough makes a surprisingly compatible home for savory fillings. These are spread with a thick homemade onion jam flavored with balsamic vinegar, sumac, and coriander. Serve them as an hors d'oeuvre with a glass of sparkling wine.

02 of 20

Lemon Curd Toasts with Coconut

Lemon Curd Toasts with Coconut
© John Kernick

Olive oil and cocoa butter make this lemony curd extraordinarily creamy and luscious. Spread on baguette toasts, it doubles as a fantastic dessert.

03 of 20

Zucchini and Pepper Gratin with Herbs and Cheese

Zucchini-and-Pepper Gratin with Herbs and Cheese
© James Merrell

Chef Daniel Humm uses pleasantly salty Sbrinz cheese to top his gratin made with a ratatouille-like mix of sautéed zucchini strips, bell peppers, and tomato. Parmigiano-Reggiano, another hard, aged cow's milk cheese, is a fine substitute. Pair this with a crisp, full-bodied white such as Swiss Chasselas or a northern Italian Pinot Bianco.

04 of 20

Popcorn with Sesame-Glazed Pistachios

Popcorn with Sesame-Glazed Pistachios
© John Kernick

Mixing popcorn with glazed pistachios creates a sweet-salty snack that's equally fantastic with cocktails, beer, or wine.

05 of 20

Ricotta and Roasted Grape Crostini

Ricotta and Roasted Grape Crostini
© Fredrika Stjärne

Designer and blogger Athena Calderone’s signature aesthetic comes through in this striking appetizer. Roasting the grapes concentrates and deepens their sweetness.

06 of 20

Crudités and Fermented Soybean Dip

Crudites and Fermented Soy Bean Dip
Greg DuPree

For her Crudités and Fermented Soybean Dip, 2018 F&W Best New Chef Katianna Hong keeps it simple, pairing just-picked vegetables with a thick, tangy soy dip. This dip is the perfect way to show off whatever fresh vegetables you can get your hands on.

07 of 20

Rosemary, Almond, and Parmesan Cocktail Cookies

Rosemary, Almond and Parmesan Cocktail Cookies
© Quentin Bacon

To bring out the flavor of the rosemary in these barely sweet cookies, expert baker Dorie Greenspan first rubs the leaves with granulated sugar — a technique she learned from renowned French pastry chef Pierre Hermé.

08 of 20

Prosciutto, Tomato, and Olive Bruschetta

Prosciutto, Tomato and Olive Bruschetta
© Maura McEvoy

Salty and savory appetizers, like this prosciutto and bruschetta combination, pair well with a variety of wines and cocktails, making your gathering a flavorful and inspiring evening.

09 of 20

Pimiento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers

Pimento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers

Chef Carla Hall makes her own crunchy crackers to serve with this cheese spread, a riff on a Southern classic.

10 of 20

Black Olive Tapenade with Figs and Mint

Black Olive Tapanade with Figs and Mint
© David Malosh

What makes this tapenade special is the clever mix of oil- and brine-cured olives and the surprise of sweet, fresh, and tangy notes from the dried figs, mint, and capers.

11 of 20

Garlic-Butter Steak Bites

Garlic Butter Steak Bites
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford

These quickly stir-fried beef bites deliver all the savory luxury of a steakhouse-caliber steak, without the stress of cooking one at home. The buttery, velvety sauce coats every piece nicely, and the vermouth's herbal richness pairs nicely with the savory Worcestershire. Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks.

12 of 20

Mushroom Conserva

mushroom conservation on toast
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Marinated in a blend of Champagne vinegar, olive oil, toasted fennel seeds, garlic, and thyme, these tender mushrooms are a winning appetizer waiting to happen. Spoon them over ricotta-topped toast or gooey baked Brie, or add them to a cheese board with plenty of crusty bread for sopping.

13 of 20

Aged Gouda Fondue with Caraway Croutons

Aged Gouda Fondue with Caraway Croutons
© Ryan Robert Miller

"My friend Natalie's mother, who lives in Amsterdam, brings me aged Gouda each year," chef Barbara Lynch says. "I wanted to serve it as a fondue instead of on its own as an hors d'oeuvre." For those without an overseas cheese connection, Lynch suggests buying an eight-month-aged Gouda — "Nothing too smoky; just a beautiful, salty Gouda."

14 of 20

Herb-Roasted Olives

Herb-Roasted Olives
© Edward Pond

These herb-roasted olives are an elegant, simple hors d'oeuvre that's easy to prepare and even easier to snack on. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

15 of 20

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Abby Hocking

A perfect cocktail party snack, bacon-wrapped dates are chewy, crispy, sweet, savory, and smoky all at once. Plump and tender Medjool dates are stuffed with a mixture of blue cheese and cream cheese, and a toasted walnut stands in for the pit. Fresh goat cheese could easily be swapped for the blue cheese, and roasted salted almonds can replace the walnuts.

16 of 20

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbreads

Fig-and-Prosciutto Flatbread
© Quentin Bacon

This flatbread is topped with sticky-sweet fig jam, pungent Gorgonzola cheese, and salty prosciutto, then garnished with sliced scallion. 

17 of 20

Wine Bar Nut Mix

Wine Bar Nut Mix.
© Tina Rupp

This fantastic sweet-savory mix of pecans, almonds, and walnuts from The Casual Vineyard Table, by Carolyn Wente and Kimball Jones, makes a great gift or party snack.

18 of 20

Fig Bars with Red Wine and Anise Seeds

Fig Bars with Red Wine and Anise Seeds
© Andrew Purcell

This delicious homemade grown-up version of Fig Newtons calls for adding red wine and anise seeds to the jammy fig filling. The crust gets even more tender the day after baking.

19 of 20

Gougères with Smoked Salmon, Caviar, and Prosciutto

Smoked Salmon and Caviar Gougeres
Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

These cheesy puffs look fancy, but come together in minutes to make any snack feel like an occasion. We topped ours with slivers of prosciutto and smoked salmon and dollops of caviar and crème fraîche, but any toppings will do. Or, simply eat them plain — they shine on their own. 

20 of 20

Two-Bite Parmesan Biscuits

Two-Bite Parmesan Biscuits
Caitlin Bensel

These biscuits are baked on a bed of grated Parmesan cheese, resulting in a crispy, cheesy crust around the bottom of each biscuit. Perfect on their own, try them drizzled with a bit of honey, or improvise by tossing a few handfuls of fresh thyme or chives into the dough to take them over the top. 

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles