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What could be better than entertaining at home with wine in the fall? The days are still warm but not unbearably hot, and the evenings are cool but still pleasant enough for alfresco reveling. Whether you’re throwing a full dinner party showcasing prized bottles or just hosting a gathering of friends on the patio with a few easy-drinking pours, it’s a great time to bring your love of wine and food to the home front.

This month, we’re dedicated to the art of home entertaining, with Lifestyle and Entertaining Editors Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen’s feature on creating a harvest-style party, giving you step-by-step pointers on how to celebrate in style. Tapping top wine, food and farm-to-table stars in New York’s Hudson Valley, we outline delicious recipes, great bottles and show beautiful table settings that perfectly capture the mood of autumn.

Want to make a splash at your next house party? Tell your guests you’re serving them a grand cru white and pull out a Chardonnay from California. Our California editors identify the best Chardonnay vineyards in the Golden State. From Anderson Valley to Santa Barbara, there’s no shortage of great wines, but these are the sites that are truly worthy of grand cru status. Wines from any of them would be worthy additions to your table.

Another conversation starter: amphora wines. A small but growing number of Italian producers have adopted amphorae of varying sizes and origins, as Italian Editor Kerin O’Keefe explains in this in depth piece. From honeyed whites to earthy reds boasting radiant fruit purity, you and your guests will never forget a wine vinified in amphora. We tell you what to drink now.

Parties in the past weren’t complete without a round (or two) of colorful and playful cocktails, and Spirits Editor Kara Newman rediscovers five famous cocktails with the help of the best bartenders in the country. Midori sours, grasshoppers and amaretto sours (among others) get serious upgrades and are bound to be a hit for guests with a taste for fun—and delicious—libations.

Also this month: Dive into Germany for some of the best (and most food friendly) wines on the planet; Lodi brings it back home with native varieties and a delicious porchetta dish from Rome paired with Pinot Noir.