Behind the Scenes

Grilled Flank Steak With Crispy Potatoes

Grilled Flank Steak With Crispy Potatoes 1200 750 Round Pond Estate

From our Il Pranzo menu, this delicious grilled flank steak with crispy potatoes, kale chips, and black garlic vinaigrette is everything dinner should be; simple, flavorful, and a real crowd-pleaser. Created to pair perfectly with our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

1 head black garlic, peeled
1 tsp chopped thyme
½ shallot, chopped
¼ cup Round Pond Cabernet-Merlot Red Wine Vinegar
2/3 cup Round Pond Italian Varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tbsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 each flank steak (medium sized)
16 each baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked whole until fork tender
1 bunch Dino kale, stems removed
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper to taste

To make the vinaigrette, place garlic, thyme, shallot, vinegar, and salt and pepper into a blender.  Puree until smooth, then add 1/3 cup of olive oil and blend.  Check seasoning and reserve.

For the kale chips, make sure kale stems are removed and place the leaves in a mixing bowl, seasoning lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place the leaves on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake in a 375 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until crispy.

Slightly flatten the cooked potatoes with your hands and then place them on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes until they are golden brown and start to get crispy around the edges.

Next, season your flank steak with salt and pepper.  Cook flank steak on a grill until done to your liking. When done, remove from grill and let rest for a minimum of 5 minutes. While the meat is resting, place the potatoes on a platter.  Slice the flank steak very thin, cutting across the grain of the meat.  Place the flank steak slices on top of the potatoes, drizzle with the black garlic vinaigrette and top with the kale chips.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

Top 5 Tips For Entertaining In Napa Valley Style

Top 5 Tips For Entertaining In Napa Valley Style 600 401 Round Pond Estate

With its pleasing laid-back vibe and beautiful attention to detail, Napa Valley is famous for its rustic yet elegant aesthetic.  This combination translates perfectly into an approach to entertaining that wows guests with sophistication and polish, yet is easy (and fun!) to pull off

We asked our Special and Private Events Manager Jenn Sarkisian for her top 5 tips to bring the best of Napa Valley’s vibe to your next party!


1. Seasonal Decor

Whatever is in bloom or handy in your garden can be used to dress your table. Providing it is safe to be around food, Jenn is a fan of incorporating seasonal herbs, potted plants, vines, and flowering branches into the event decor.  When you can, try to mix rustic woods together with vintage industrial copper or metal for an elegant farmhouse feel.  “The first 5 minutes of any party is the time to WOW your guests.  Bringing the outdoors to the table lets your guests feel like they’re one with the season and sets the mood at first glance.” An added plus: if you use potted flowers or plants, they make lovely gifts to send home with your guests at night’s end!


2. Garden to Table

Bring seasonal produce to the table as much as possible. “Supporting local vendors and buying seasonal produce is big in Napa Valley”, says Jenn.  If you don’t have a fruit or produce stand in your area, try to find a farmer’s market to shop, or a higher-end grocery store to get the pick of seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and local specialty goods that can inspire and set the base for your menu.


3. Tease the Palate

The appetizers will set the stage for what is to come on the menu, so keep it exciting!  Jenn asserts that “people love new ideas and combinations for appetizers – the more inventive the better, and presentation is huge!”  Dress up your cheese or charcuterie platter with edible garnish like pickled green beans or watermelon, add chocolate-covered espresso beans to accompany a cheese with an espresso rind – do the unexpected.  Make sure to bring some of the bright colors into your appetizer display with fresh fruits and vegetables – color is key to stimulating your appetite and your senses, plus the more vibrant the color the more healthful the food.


4. Have No Fear of Intimacy

The ideal number of people for a party is between 10-30 so that you can actually have time to enjoy your guests.  To keep the party going and infuse new energy into your circle, “Ask your guest to invite someone they think is interesting to keep the conversation lively and fresh.  A chef, a student, someone in the military – anyone that would enjoy meeting new people” says Jenn.  Want to make your party even more special?  Use a free design site like to create invitations, identifying signs for your appetizer table and drink bar, or to make personalized menus.


5. Wine Paring is Key

What comes first?  The menu or the wine?  Wine and food should complement each other, so this is where special attention should be paid.  Food and wine pairing guides are easy to find on the internet (we like this one).  Depending on your access to seasonal foods, you might want to design your wine choice around your menu.  However, if you are a confirmed wine lover and can’t wait to share your favorite wine with your friends, let your wine choices dictate the meal to come.  Better yet, ask your guests to bring their favorite wine to share!  Jenn says that “in the Valley, everybody wants to bring a bottle – it’s kind of like Napa etiquette!”

“The most important thing to remember when hosting”, says Jenn, “is what Maya Angelou said; ‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.'”

Dogs of Round Pond Estate

Dogs of Round Pond Estate 600 350 Round Pond Estate

The MacDonnell family has always loved dogs, and they are an integral part of the vineyards, family, and Round Pond office life.  The Estate Dogs are as different as can be from each other but make a great (and rowdy) pack!  When not out on their multiple daily walks, strolling the vineyards, or resting with their humans at home, they can be found hanging in the Estate offices providing comic relief and daily cuddles to the office staff.  Here’s your chance to meet The Dogs of Round Pond.

Vega’s Human: Miles MacDonnell, Owner
Breed: German Shepard
Favorite Toy: Whatever Bunker has
Best Trick: Can open office doors on her own by jumping on the handle, and lets herself and dog friends back in from outside
Personality in One Word: Sweetie
Nickname/Most Heard Phrase: “Good Girl”

Vega is the ultimate watchdog! Forever alert and watchful, she is the supervisor/mom of the office, and first to greet anyone walking through our office doors (you learn very quickly who is a dog-lover).

She is decidedly silent unless you are the dog-washer coming to give her a bath, and then she absolutely makes her displeasure heard.  When the office staff has birthday parties and gathers in the kitchen for cake, Vega will run quick, funny laps around the table as “Happy Birthday” is sung.

When she is at home, she likes to be around her people constantly.  She loves attention but is not a “romper” like her dog brother Bunker.  Silent and protective, she is the ultimate Nanny-Dog, and will sleep outside of the children’s rooms at night keeping watch!


Bunker’s Human: Miles MacDonnell, Owner
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Favorite Toy: Anything chewable
Best Trick: Making unattended office lunches disappear
Personality in One Word: Hungry. Always HUNGRY.
Nickname/Most Heard Phrase: “NO Bunker!”

Bunker is a complete ball of energy, the quintessential joker, with a totally goofy teenage boy attitude.  He loves to wrestle and play with his dog cousin, Kingston, and has restless little feet that are constantly moving, even as he is standing in one place.

Sister Vega taught him how to open doors, so any closed door in the office is a challenge for him.  Bunker is such a little dude that sometimes it takes a couple tries to get his full weight on the handle to open the door (leaving a telltale mark of scratched doors behind him).  He is also trained as a water retriever dog and LOVES to swim.  He will jump into any creek, pool, river, or stream he sees, regardless of the weather or temperature.

At home, Bunker needs attention, because if left on his own for too long, he is sure to get into trouble.  Miles firmly believes that he has some farmer genes in him because he will dig up and relocate (but not re-plant) various plants and shrubs as he sees necessary.  Bunker will also help with landscaping by eating any fruit from trees that land on the ground, and occasionally re-arrange outdoor furniture and lighting on his own!


Kinston’s Human: Ryan MacDonnell Bracher, Owner
Breed: Bernese Mountain Dog
Favorite Toy: All toys are his favorite until he shreds them
Best Trick: Dropping paper that is usually in his mouth
Personality in One Word: Goofy
Nickname/Most Heard Phrase: “Fluffy” & “What’s in your mouth AGAIN?”

Kingston is the fun-loving, loafing junior-high kid of the office.  He’s always ready to run around and party with his pack, but also can drop at any time for a long nap under Ryan’s chair as she works.  Kingston is also incredibly bonded to Ryan and is never far from her side.  He LOVES attention and has a habit of jumping up slowly to put his front paws on your shoulders to give “hugs”.

Kingston seems to always be too hot!  During the dogs’ morning pack walks, he is always the first to plunge into the dew-wet grass and roll around to cool off.  He loves to sleep wherever the air conditioning is blowing, and is usually on his way to the water bowl or just coming back from it.  He loves to wrestle with cousin Bunker, and at 100 lbs, usually wins!  King is also a bit mischievous; the office staff has to guard their papers carefully because he loves to eat them (we can truly say the dog ate our homework).

At home, this sweet and cuddly boy is so very gentle with his 3 little human sisters.  He loves to roll over on his back while Ryan’s girls give him belly rubs and hugs, although their dad is somewhat jealous that Kingston gets more massages than he does!


Bear’s Humans: Mr. & Mrs. MacDonnell
Breed: Bernese Mountain Dog
Favorite Toy: His KONG Wubba
Best Trick: Takes the longest naps
Personality in One Word: Relaxed
Nickname/Most Heard Phrase: “Good Boy” & “Leave that cat alone!”

Bear is the biggest dog at Round Pond, but also the youngest. At 1 ½, he is Lucy’s big little brother.  He is still very much a puppy and still learning commands (all he knows is SIT, at the moment).  Loping alongside the other dogs during the daily pack walks, Bear will often tear away to chase the barn cats or to race Bunker to the nearest body of water and try to jump right in often right on top of Bunker.

Bear is a happy dog, and VERY affectionate.  He has a sweet, happy disposition, and he and Lucy go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Bear also acts as “Dog Police” when the other dogs get too rowdy in their play by running alongside them and barking them to order!

At home, Bear is a big dog with a big bark and will let his humans know the minute someone gets too close the house or grounds.  He has no concept of his actual size and is convinced that he is a lap dog that must lay in Mrs. MacDonnell’s lap as soon as she sits down.


Lucy’s Humans: Mr. & Mrs. MacDonnell
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Favorite Toy: Tennis balls
Best Trick: Flip onto her back and suddenly weigh a ton when she doesn’t want to do something
Personality in One Word: Wiggly
Nickname/Most Heard Phrase: “Down, Lucy!”

Lucy is the sweetest, happiest, wiggliest little girl dog you will ever meet.  Her pretty eyes have a gentle penetration that goes straight to your heart.  She is the “little sister” of the Round Pond dog pack and spends most of her time with her fellow pups licking them affectionately and rolling over on her back to play.

Full of boundless, happy energy, Lucy has a rare talent for jumping up on anyone not paying enough attention to her for her liking.  She is a little dog compared to the others, it’s only natural that she’d want to be seen.  Lucy is very attached to her brother Bear and is rarely far from his side.  They are inseparable!

At home, Lucy likes to be a close to her people as possible; so much so that she will try her best to climb up onto couches or beds with them, which is a big no-no.

Tips for Gorgeous Autumn Arrangements

Tips for Gorgeous Autumn Arrangements 1200 750 Round Pond Estate

We love this time of year!  The holidays bring joy, laughter, gratitude, and a plethora of friends and family get-togethers.  We’ve turned to our beloved “Flower And All Things Décor” expert, Gretchen Lawton, for tips on how to make your gatherings beautiful – simply.  See all of her tips below…


1. Be Creative – But Keep It Simple
Sometimes just using one beautiful piece from the same family can bring that rustic-yet-modern look to your centerpiece.  For a fat and full arrangement, stick to just one flower or one type of branch.  Make sure to use a lot of it for high impact.

2. Check Out The Produce Aisle Instead Of The Flower Mart
To find interesting subjects for your seasonal arrangements, try perusing the produce aisle at your local market or strolling the neighborhood farmers market.  Colorful and in-season fruits and veggies are often beautiful too.  Try artichokes, lemons, pomegranates, bell peppers, cabbage, leeks…you get the idea.

3. Use Interesting Materials
This is the perfect time to think outside of the box.  Whether it be a remarkable birds nest your kids found in the backyard, or cotton branches growing wild, the options are endless when drifting away from the norm.

4. Utilize Your Seasonal Offerings
Autumn brings an endless array of natural gifts for your table. Some of our favorites at Round Pond during the season include pumpkins, baby gourds, red oak branches, agapanthus, dried lavender, eucalyptus, curly willow,  geraniums, poke sally (a super cool and colorful weed), white tuberose, pink digaplexis and of course an enduring classic; beautiful and sturdy sunflowers.

Have fun, and Happy Holidays!

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