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The big day is just around the corner and most of us are finishing up planning for our special Christmas celebration. While some plan the holiday party specifics weeks in advance, it interests me that the selection of Christmas wine is often¬†listed forlornly on the last page of notes. It usually is hidden with a penciled-in reminder, “Don’t forget to buy beer and wine.”

I consider the choice of wine I will be serving equal to, if not more, important than the main course of Christmas dinner. While some items like food and flowers can’t be stored in advance, wine will wait humbly in the corner until the big day, making it one of the easiest items on my holiday checklist. But wine purchases can add considerably to the budget so searching out ways to save can pay off.

By planning early, you can take advantage of wine discounts and in-store specials. Buy by the case and not the bottle. Because wines do not have a specific hurried drink-by date, buying in bulk can save you money. Many retailers will offer savings from 10 percent to 20 percent and may allow a discount on mixed assorted bottles so you don’t have to be stuck with the same wine.

Some retail stores offer savings on odd bottles of wine they are trying to move. Many times they end up in the clearance section not because of poor quality but because of torn, scratched or damaged labels. While I have found many bargains in these bins, keep in mind that you should always buy the most recent vintage. As I have preached before, wine isn’t a bargain that is past its life span.

If you’re not buying by the case, your best savings option is to take advantage of a retailer’s “wine day.” These discounts can be up to 20 percent off and apply even when buying only one or two bottles at a time.

Shop around to find the best deals. Many consumers will drive across town to save on a sweater or wait in long lines for the best deals, so be open to searching out the best wine prices.

Focus on quality for the best value. This is where buying my past “Value” wines may be your best choice. Shop for savings.