The Frugal Wine Gal: Holiday Wine Guide

Image by Sam Howzit

The holidays are a time of year meant for family, friends, and good times. The years keep coming faster and faster it seems, and now more than ever it is important to make time for those who matter most. It is also one of the busiest times of the year for most people. Every weekend fills up with parties, celebrations, and shopping for our loved ones. I know sometimes that I can get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of holiday madness, but it is so important to slow down and enjoy the small things. Like a delicious glass of local Oregon wine perhaps?

JD Hancock Flickr
(JD Hancock)

One of the best parts of this time of year though is the food. There is good food everywhere. From the slow cooked stews coming out of our crock pots, to big dinners with all of our extended family. Endless sweets and treats are presented to us on a daily basis it seems! There is of course always good spirits as well. Wine is the perfect accompaniment to any occasion. One of the hardest things to do though is pick wine for many different people. I’ve found that some people only like red wine, or just white. They may even go as specific as liking one varietal – either dry or sweet. There are so many options out there, it can be a tough decision to just pick one or two.

Sam Howzit Flickr
(Sam Howzit)

As a big wine lover, I’m trusted pick out wines a lot of the time. I like to think of it as a great honor. I’ve found that there are some specific guidelines I like to go by – especially for the holidays. My first rule of thumb is always have some bubbly on hand. I really enjoy anything by Domaine Meriwether myself, but Argyle Winery and Sokol Blosser also have some great options in the under $30 range. During the holidays, and especially for bubbles, it is worth going a little bit above the $20 range. The reason why bubbles are so nice is that it is indicative of a special occasion. Sparkling wines are great for any celebration, but especially ones around this time of year. Family and friends getting together is also a great reason to pop that special bottle you’ve been saving and treasure it together. After all, even our most anticipated wines from our cellars are meant to be enjoyed.

Not in the mood for bubbles? That’s okay because there are plenty of big bodied reds that make good options as well. This frigid cold weather really brings out the flavors in those reds and makes snuggling on the couch watching christmas movies that much better. A few of my go to red varieties are Cabernet sauvignon – like the Del Rio Vineyards Cabernet I reviewed hereJ.Scott Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes sourced from Southern Oregon is also an excellent choice. It is a little out of our frugal budget but worth every penny. Another great option to pick up is a classic red blend. Now there are thousands of these available from all over Oregon, it can be a hard decision to pick just one!

Brendan DeBrincat Flickr
(Brendan DeBrincat)

Red blends are a fantastic option for any get together because they bring a few different varietals together and create a very different experience than you might have in a single varietal wine. During the cold winter months red blends are just what is needed to warm up any evening. Although there are many options and quite a price range for these wines, there a few must tries that I have to share. Three Wives “Remy’s Red” is one of my favorite go-to red blends. The varietals chosen vary from year to year, but they are always produced with italian grapes and aged in an old world style. Oaky, fruit forward, and smooth, Remy’s Red is an excellent blend good for any old occasion. Another great option is Grochau Cellars “Tinto” blend of Tempranillo and Syrah. With red blends you can really get a good bang for your buck. It is so easy to find phenomenal wines made within our great state that will add to any holiday celebration.

Planning a big meal with all the fixings is a part of holiday traditions all over the world. Whether you roast a big turkey or slow cook a honey ham, there is a wine that will pair well with your meal. One of the biggest issues that I’ve run into during large meals like this is that sometimes I just want something on the lighter side to go with it. That is where rosé comes in. Rosé is a great choice for any occasion really, but during the holidays it is an excellent pairing. Rosé wines are made from red grapes that have as little contact as possible with the skins. They are light, flavorful, and excellent for nearly any weather or occasion. I could make a list a mile long of my favorite rosés if I’m perfectly honest, but for all intents and purposes there are a couple that I feel pair best with holiday feast and celebrations.


Adelsheim Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé is one my new favorite finds. Very fruit forward and light, this wine is perfect for a Christmas Eve celebration or a big feast. It will compliment most anything it is paired with. Another fantastic option is the William Rose 2013 Prohibition Rosé. This rosé is 100% Sangiovese. It is crisp, fruity, and good even on its own. I like this one because of its beautiful pale pink color as well.

Wine choice may seem like just one choice in a line of many during the holiday season, but it is much more than that. Wine brings us together, helps us connect, and encourages celebration. After all the craziness during pre-holiday preparation, pop open a bottle and pour yourself a nice glass of whatever makes you happy. Bubbles, big reds, and rosé wines are all great options, but it is all about what you enjoy the most. I wish you all the happiest holidays, and cheers to another great year!

Nick Harris Flickr
(Nick Harris)





Wine lover and student. I love finding great wines at fantastic prices that are affordable for anyone and everyone. Both Oregon and Washington have some amazing options and I look forward to sharing them with everyone. Cheers!

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