a summer picnic with francis ford coppola winery | recipes for travel-ready hummus + pesto

With the summer season here at the vineyard in full-swing, it has been a little challenging to take a break, let alone plan a getaway. This past week has entailed thinning excess shoots within the vines, repairing a downed fence post, untangling stray guide wires, and getting the house ready for a visit from a close Denver friend. Even these exciting moments, albeit invigorating ones, can prove a little taxing.

I’ve partnered with Drizly, the online beer, wine, and spirits marketplace, and the Francis Ford Coppola Winery to share with you one of my favorite wines from their new premium wine series, Diamond Collection Cans, along with two wine-friendly, travel-ready recipes I routinely make over the summer that are the perfect complement to an impromptu picnic, afternoon hike, or camping excursion.

Steve and I decided to come in a little early one afternoon and pack a quick picnic to catch the sunset. Instead of scouting out a new hiking spot, we chose to simply drive over to the west side of our property, open the newly installed back gate, and just enjoy the gorgeous western Colorado scenery already around us. We chilled down the wine, made our go-to pesto recipe, whipped up a batch of hummus, and packed up the necessities into the back of the Gator.

Work was happily set aside for the next few hours.

I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of wineries packaging their wines into a canned format. In fact, the very first canned wine I tried was Coppola’s canned Sofia Blanc de Blancs. At the Coppola swimming pool there at the winery.The same bubbly version I enjoyed out of a bottle was available in a single-serving, recyclable preparation that wouldn’t shatter to pieces if dropped.

Steve was attending the Alexander Valley Cabernet Academy, and I flew out with him to enjoy the region at my own pace and direction. If you’re ever in the Alexander Valley area, book a reservation at the Coppola pool, bring a good book, grab a chilled can, and order a poolside snack. The setting is serene, and you get a good glimpse at the surrounding vineyards within the area.

How do you pack up for adventures or outdoor activities? Is canned wine in your arsenal?

I’ll be trying to take more time for mini-excursions like this one. They’re soul-replenishing and necessary for sanity, which is a commodity around these parts this time of year. The pack-in-pack-out aspect of Coppola’s Diamond Collection Cans is perfect for situations where glass bottles aren’t an option. Just crush them down once you’re finished, and you can easily recycle them once you’re back from adventuring. Add the convenience of shopping online with Drizly and having your cans delivered to your door, and you’re all set for a quick getaway.

I tasted through three varieties of the Coppola Diamond Collection canned wines — Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Steve and I both thought they were all solid wines: a classic, mineral-driven Pinot Grigio, a slightly grassy Sauvignon Blanc, and a medium-toasty, tropical Chardonnay. We conveniently took the Chardonnay with us on the picnic and thought it paired perfectly with the fresh vegetables, cheeses, and sourdough bread we brought along.

coppola diamond collection, chardonnay, monterey, 2016

  • on the eyes — pale gold
  • on the nose — tropical notes of pineapple, supported by ripe, golden apple, lemon curd, with a hint of butterscotch
  • on the palate — silky texture, balanced and not overtly oaky, with notes of baked apples, vanilla, and just the right touch of acidity to cleanse the palate and support the fruit
  • in the glass — 13.5% alcohol, .58 g/100mL total acidity, 3.35 pH, crafted by winemaker, Corey Beck
  • on the {picnic} table — pairs well alone as a superb summer sipper or with fresh vegetables and hummus, grilled chicken, cornmeal-battered fish, or grilled portobello mushrooms
  • in the cooler — convenient, safe, recyclable, pack-in-pack-out can
  • on the shelf via Drizly, about $18 for a 4-pack, totaling 1 liter of wine

Steve and I rarely go out for meals anymore, now that we’ve moved to the country. We have so many nearby farms that grow amazing organic produce, bakers that craft the most delicious artisinal sourdough bread, and cheese-makers who create fresh chevré from their own free-range goats. With these fresh options available, cooking at home is something that brings us together, makes us better cooks, and lets us taste the local land’s abundance.

Making our own hummus has become an almost weekly habit for our household. Not only does it taste better than the store-bought versions, it is super easy to make. I used to buy canned chickpeas, but ever since I tried Alton Brown’s version of hummus, where he uses a slow cooker to cook the chickpeas, canned chickpeas haven’t made it into my grocery cart.

classic, slow-cooked hummus

  • 1/2 pound slow-cooked chickpeas {see technique below in recipe notes}
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 3 to 4 good pinches of kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini, stirred well
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • additional olive oil, for garnish
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • salt and pepper, for garnish
  1. In a food processor, combine the drained, slow-cooked chickpeas, garlic cloves, and salt.
  2. Pulse the mixture for about 20 seconds, scraping down the chickpeas from the sides of the processor. Pulse again for another 20 seconds.
  3. Add the lemon juice, water, tahini, and olive oil.
  4. Purée until the mixture is super smooth.
  5. Serve in a festive bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, toasted sesame seeds, a little extra salt, and a few cracks of black pepper
  • This recipe yields about 3 cups of hummus. I adapted this recipe from Alton Brown’s Hummus for Real recipe, via Food Network and basically halved Brown’s ingredients.
  • For the slow-cooked chickpeas, simply fill a slow-cooker with 1/2 pound dried chickpeas, 3 1/2 cups water, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. Cover and cook on the high setting for 4 hours until tender. Strain and let cool.
  • Add in some interesting modifications to this basic hummus recipe, like roasted carrots or roasted beets. I tend to make a large batch of hummus at the beginning of the week and slowly make different iterations throughout the following days.

Pesto is something that truly doesn’t need an actual recipe. It’s basically a blend of fresh greens, balanced with some acid, a nutty and rich texture imparted by cheese or actual nuts, a little salt, and some olive oil. Making homemade pesto is that easy. If you accidentally add a little too much garlic, just blend in a few more greens or add some extra cheese. Once you make it a couple of times, you won’t even need to look at a recipe again.

I chose to use a few garlic scapes instead of garlic cloves, since they’ve been popping up at our local markets. Scapes are the unopened flower of the garlic plant, and their texture is similar to asparagus, yet their flavor is decidedly pungent and garlicky. We’ve been sautéeing them and grilling them over the past couple of weeks. Their season is short, so catch them when you can. If you’re like me, you’ll be dreaming of them throughout the year and awaiting their early summer arrival like a kid on Christmas morning.

parsley, basil + garlic scape pesto

  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 1 cup packed parsley
  • 1 cup packed basil
  • 2 to 3 ounces finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish
  1. In a food processor, pulse the garlic scapes until well chopped.
  2. Add in the parsley and basil.
  3. Give a few good pulses to break down the leaves.
  4. Add the cheese and pine nuts, incorporating well.
  5. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and add the olive oil and lemon juice.
  6. Add some salt and pepper, taste for balance, adding in a little more olive oil, lemon juice, or seasoning to get it just right.
  • I like replacing the basil or parsley with other greens like carrot tops or arugula. Try tossing in a little dill or fennel fronds for a pop of flavor.
  • Add in a handful of roasted red bell pepper slices, artichoke hearts, or something spicy, like a seeded jalapeño or a roasted poblano. The flavor combinations are endless and really help you stretch your creativity.
  • If garlic scapes aren’t in season, just substitute a clove or two of peeled, fresh garlic.
  • I like to make pesto a day ahead. It gives the pesto time to integrate with the acid from the lemon juice. Of course, it’s delicious served right away, but it is similar to how soup tastes better after it has a little extra time to come together in the fridge.
  • If you don’t finish enjoying your batch of pesto, or you have an abundance of fresh greens, make and freeze “pesto cubes”, so that you can enjoy that fresh taste of summer over the cold, winter months ahead!

Wish us well as we begin to set out the bird netting and continue on the thinning process. And don’t judge if I crack one of these cans of Chardonnay a little before 5:00 sometime this week. Work hard, play hard. Right?!



8 thoughts on “a summer picnic with francis ford coppola winery | recipes for travel-ready hummus + pesto

  1. karenamagner

    I’m ready to emulate your picnic right now–wishing I could do it while gazing upon grape vines! I love the portability of canned wines (so much easier to fit into a backpack), and I’m intrigued by the slow-cooked chick peas and garlic scapes. Here’s to many more gorgeous picnics for you at the end of a hard day’s work in the vineyard!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Karen, thank you for the well wishes!! It’s full-speed ahead from now until the juice is in the tanks. We will be donning the vines with bird netting in just two weeks, and then it’s the waiting game for ripening. I had caught myself wishing for December more than a few times!! The next trip we take to Denver (we have one more to go to pick up some tanks), we’ll drop you off a bottle! Cheers to enjoying these last gorgeous weeks of summer! XO!!


  2. stevesteese

    I love these photos Jayme!!! You really captured a magical afternoon! The lighting was so wild that day because of all the smoke from the wildfires west of us. And I loved that picnic, ants and all!! ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Yeah, the ants were an unexpected event! I’m happy we were able to appreciate the beauty of the evening in the midst of the aftermath of the fires. And we need to make that pesto again. Like, today.


  3. Gail Henderson

    What a gorgeous scene for a picnic, and right on your property, too! The photos were excellent, as always, Jayme. Thanks for the hummus and pesto recipes; I’m looking forward to trying them soon.


  4. Joan Steese

    I truly have been slack in responding to your amazing post and the great photos. I would have LOVED to be there enjoying the picnic with you and Steve. Cox did something to my computer so I wasn’t able to send any messages. But, thanks to our church secretary (Jack) I am now catching up!!! Hugs to you and Steve!!! Mom Steese


  5. Laurie

    Hi there lady…..long time no talk to! Boy, picnics and hummus and my man are coming soon to a Kansas prairie road near us! I’m pretty sure that hummus could easily make it into my all time favorite foods and be in the top three! I’ve retired from the soul blasting job and been approved for disability from my work which my boss hated! Rofl! It’s been cooler here than normal kfor this time of year and we’ve had our share of rain which is also rare! Been missing nyou on IG…….I can’t go on there anymore, makes me too sad that my photos were stolen….hope you are doing awesome!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person


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