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5 Smart Wine Buying Tips for the Holidays

It should come as no surprise that the holiday season is the biggest time of year for both sales and consumption of wine. Parties, dinners, and other seasonal celebrations bring those once-a-year wine drinkers out in droves.

But it’s also a great time of year to find outrageous bargains on wine as well… to be put away for enjoyment later. If you are looking for wines during the holiday season, here is a quick guide to some things to keep in mind:

Tip #1 – Buy in bulk

If you are buying for a crowd or even for wine to keep at home, why not round up to a full case? It’s not uncommon to save as much as 10% or 15% on your purchase when you buy in case quantities, which is typically 12 bottles. In fact, in many wine shops, you can mix and match different wines to get your discount.

Tip #2 – Discover affordable sparkling wines

Champagne comes from Champagne (in France)… but there’s also great sparkling wines from all over the world. And it’s often more friendly to the pocket book than Champagne. For some great bubbly alternatives, check out Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, and Sekt from Germany.

Tip #3 – Don’t be a cork dork

Alternative packaging is becoming more and more common in wines these days. While cork is a great traditional way to top up a bottle, there is no reason to turn your nose up at screw tops. And the same goes for BIB (bag-in-box) or even lined cardboard boxes.

All of these alternatives are used for top quality wines these days… and they help ensure that wines stay fresh and vibrant for your enjoyment. In fact, when dealing with parties and large crowd, who wants to keep track of a cork screw anyway?

Tip #4 – Get food-friendly wines

Not all wines go well with food, and many are actually made in a style that appeals to cocktail lovers more than formal diners. But if you are sitting down to a holiday meal, which typically has a large variety of flavors on the table, you’re gonna want something that likes to be next to food.

Some great (and versatile) food-friendly reds include Pinot Noir and Rhone style blends from the USA, Australia, or France. For the whites, look to bright and zippy varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner fro Austria, or dry and off-dry Riesling from Germany or New York.

Tip #5 – Punch bowls love good wine too

Having a punch bowl social? There are some terrific, fruit-filled wines out there for $10 or less. Look for wines from Spain or South America for solid values. You can even find terrific options of high-quality wine in 3 liter boxes for under $20.

D. Baer