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Wine bargains are plentiful during busy holiday season

Wine bargains are plentiful during busy holiday season

It’s that time of year when we get caught in the frenzy of holiday shopping.

As we search out the best deals for stocking-stuffers, toys and computers, don’t forget to seek out savings on your holiday wine buying, too.

The deals are ongoing. Wine shops generally start running specials as early as the day after Thanksgiving and continue throughout December. Don’t put off shopping until the day before Christmas — because many of the quantities retailers have allotted for holiday discounts will sell out quickly.

Buying tip No. 1 Buy by the case and not the bottle. This is possibly the most important buying tip. Buying in bulk will always save you money. Many retailers offer savings from 10 percent to 20 percent off. If the idea of so many duplicate bottles bothers you, keep in mind many retailers offer a discount on mixed assorted bottles and not only one brand or style allowing you many bottles for a diverse range of occasions.

Stock up for gifts. I always have several bottles on standby to give as last-minute gifts — neighbors, colleagues and even the mailman. Not to mention birthdays, engagements and other gift-giving occasions. I also buy wine gift bags in advance to have ready at any given moment. This way I’m always prepared when someone brings an unexpected gift.

Shop around to find the best deals. Prices can vary significantly between stores. And don’t forget about “Wine Day” savings. These days, usually a designated day of the week, vary by retailer and are ideal if you’re looking to buy only a couple of bottles. These discounts can be from 10 percent to 20 percent off depending on the store.

Let guests choose from several wines

Let guests choose from several wines

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays for which I usually spend a great deal of time selecting the wines. The holiday offers a plethora of food choices, which makes wine selection the ultimate challenge. It has to please everyone and fit with everything at a traditional turkey dinner.

This year I am embracing an idea I was given many years ago by a fellow wine writer: After 25 years of attempting to be the hero at the family Thanksgiving dinner with the perfect pairing, he finally got smart and started leaving the choice to the guests.

This Thanksgiving I’m offering my family and friends an opportunity to appease their palates on their own. Rather than selecting the wines for each guest before the meal, I will place several different wines on the table, each a good pairing option in different styles and colors. And let my guests try the wines based on their preference, with the opportunity to explore different foods and flavors.

If you worry that certain wines will be emptied first, buy several backup bottles but have fun and make it casual declaring the first bottle emptied to be the best pairing of the meal. Also, don’t be concerned with passing a bottle around the table. Since most of us already pass around the food casually on Thanksgiving, why not pass the wine?

With this idea in mind, I have selected wines that are confirmed matches with the array of flavors from turkey and cranberry sauce to sweet potatoes.

Dry white wines with refreshing acidity — sauvignon blanc, dry Riesling, pinot gris, chardonnay, chenin blanc, viognier and albarino — are ideal to pair with almost any menu item.

Off-dry wines such as Gewurztraminer and Off Dry Riesling as good options as well. But avoid wines with cloying sweetness.

For a Thanksgiving food friendly red, pick one low in tannins to not overwhelm the array of flavors. Pinot noir, gamay and merlot are good bets.


  • 2015 Cline Viognier, California (about $14 retail)
  • 2015 Charles and Charles Riesling, Washington (about $15 retail)
  • 20115 Louis Jadot Beaujolais Village Gamay, France (about $16 retail)


  • 2015 Stoller Dundee Hills Chardonnay, Oregon (about $22 retail)
  • 2013 Hugel Gewurztraminer, France (about $29 retail)
  • 2015 Anne Amie Cuvee A Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $25 retail)