Five Wines for the Holidays

What wines to buy in December, plus winter wine festivals worth travelling for in January


Holiday Wines to Buy

When it comes to social gatherings, no time of year is quite as hectic as December. Here are five fantastic wines suitable for a variety of get-togethers. Keep a few on hand, and you’ll never scramble to find the perfect bottle to bring to your next holiday event.



Steller’s Jay Sparkling Gewürztraminer, Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Named after B.C.’s provincial bird, Steller’s Jay has long made excellent bubbles, but this Gewürztraminer is new in the lineup. Created in the classic method (fermented in the same way as Champagne), it’s fresh and pretty, with peachy-citrus notes. An excellent aperitif or New Year’s Eve wine. About $22.



Wente Vineyards 2014 Riva Ranch Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco/Monterey, Calif.

Wente Vineyards is a family-owned winery that has been making excellent vino for five generations, and this red is particularly classy, with notes of cherry, earth and allspice. Great with turkey or lamb, which means it’s perfect for Christmas dinner. About $29.


Robert Mondavi Winery 2013 50th anniversary Maestro, Napa Valley, Calif.

The name Mondavi has been synonymous with California wine since 1966—the year the legendary winery opened for business. A perfect pairing for prime rib, this bold red makes a memorable gift for a boss—or anyone else you’d like to impress. About $60.



Mistaken Identity Vineyards 2014 Journey, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

From a small, organic winery on one of B.C.’s picturesque Gulf Islands, this white blend is a bit like a boozy fruit salad, with notes of peach, pear, pineapple and more. A very affordable option for a holiday open house. About $17.



Fielding Estate Winery 2013 Estate Bottled Pinot Gris, Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Ont.

An award-winning, family-owned winery, Fielding has created a well-rounded wine with this pinot gris, which has flavours and aromas of apple, melon and spice. Very food-friendly, it would work well with a holiday meal or more casual get-togethers. About $22.


Winter Wine Festivals

Love wine? Plan a trip to one of next month’s winter wine festivals for the opportunity to meet winemakers and taste their creations. Here are three to consider:

Niagara Icewine Festival

Dates: Jan. 13 to 15, Jan. 20 to 22 and Jan. 27 to 29, 2017
Locations: Jordan Village, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, Ont.
Featuring: Celebrated wineries, top chefs and lots of live music

Sun Peaks Okanagan Wine Festival

Dates: Jan. 13 to 22, 2017
Location: Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops, B.C.
Featuring: Lots of eclectic events and more than 70 wineries.

The Winter Wine Classic

Date: Jan. 21, 2017
Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Featuring: More than 40 wineries, including Charles Krug, Bernardus and Lieff, all under one roof.

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