Drink Up

The Best Wines For Literally Every Type Of Holiday Gathering

Yes, even your in-laws will be impressed.

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Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re standing in front of the refrigerator in your local wine shop around the corner from your friend’s house, five minutes before you’re supposed to show up to her holiday party — and you have absolutely no idea what kind of wine to bring. After standing there mindlessly examining the labels for a few minutes (hmm… that one looks pretty), you grab the same $10 white you always find yourself buying.

No more! This winter, try something a little more inventive. Bustle hit up two California winemakers to hear what they’d sip for practically any type of holiday scenario you might find yourself in, whether you’re trying to impress the in-laws, chilling on the couch with your partner, or catching up with old friends.

Thanksgiving Eve With Your Hometown Friends You See Once A Year

“Pinot noir. It’s a crowd pleaser and the perfect red wine around the Thanksgiving holiday.” — James Hall, founder-winemaker, Patz & Hall

“Before a day of feasting, opt for a light and fresh wine like a sauvignon blanc — it’s the perfect pairing with a casual oyster roast, homemade pizza with friends, or a light appetizer like goat cheese and olives.” — Lisa Evich, director of winemaking, Simi Winery

Thanksgiving Meal With Your New In-Laws — Who Happen To Know Everything About Wine

“A single-vineyard pinot noir. This will show that you know that pinot noir is ideal with the meal, and buying a vineyard-designated wine will show you know a bit about wine, too.” — Hall

“Go for a special Russian River Valley pinot noir, where coastal fog and varied topography and soils lead to a complex structure that will be sure to impress your in-laws.” — Evich

A White Elephant Party With Your College Friends

“A red blend. It’s easy on the wallet, as you’ll likely need several bottles, and goes great with laughter and good times.” — Hall

“Everyone enjoys a cabernet sauvignon during the winter months! It’s naturally elegant, yet food friendly with plush berry fruit, chewy tannins, and a rich finish that goes perfectly with a variety of hearty meals.” — Evich

Your Boss’ Obligatory Ugly Sweater Party

“Prosecco. It’s celebratory but reasonably priced, just like the ugly sweater. Save your money for nonwork events!” — Hall

“What better way to recognize your boss than to showcase a wine from Isabelle Simi, who was one of the original groundbreaking pioneers in the winemaking industry? The Sonoma County Chardonnay has flavors of pear and apple with hints of citrus, followed by flavors of toasted sweet oak and crème brûlée for a rich, balanced finish.” — Evich

The Holiday Party Where You’re Meeting Your New Partner’s Friends For The First Time

“Cabernet sauvignon — preferably Napa Valley, Sonoma County, or Paso Robles. You’ll be a hit, and so will the wine.” — Hall

“While the snow might be glistening outside, a Sonoma County chardonnay is the perfect winter white with just the right amount of oakiness to pair with your favorite sweets.” — Evich

Chilling With Your Family & Eating Chinese Takeout

“Riesling. A perfect match for the spice and also a very easy sipper while catching up.” — Hall

“A light sauvignon blanc goes perfectly with a stir-fry, thanks to the crisp acidity and fresh, clean taste.” — Evich

A Holiday Movie Marathon & Cookie Decorating With Your Two BFFs

“Chardonnay. There’s a style for everyone, and it’s the perfect sipping wine that carries over from afternoon to late nights.” — Hall

“Try an earthy pinot noir from the Russian River Valley with cheesy shortbread cookies or a savory popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan — your tastebuds will thank you.” — Evich

NYE At Home With Your Partner — And Dry January Starts The Next Day

“Vintage champagne. It’s the start of a new year, and you need to do it in style!” — Hall

“For those who prefer not to pop the bubbles, our new Simi Brightful is a lower-alcohol version of our classic chardonnay with the same great fruit and a bright finish.” — Evich