Pick the right wines for every holiday gift or gathering.

From thank-you gifts to office parties to gatherings of friends and family (complete with reindeer-antler headbands), ’tis the season to uncork lots and lots of wine bottles. Use this handy guide, to choose get the best reds and whites for each occasion.

Easy, Affordable Gifts

Strategy: Get great value by purchasing a pack of six bottles of wine and dividing it up as thank-you gifts for coworkers, friends, the handyman who fixed that leaky pipe, you name it.
Reds: Look for red wines that can pair well with food or be consumed on their own. Something light like a Pinot Noir will please everyone on your list.
White: Chardonnay is the perfect rich white wine for the Holiday season.

Special Gifts

Strategy: Make the recipient feel special at the moment the bottle is unwrapped. Best of all, it’s memorable long after it’s been uncorked—perhaps years from now.
Reds: Consider gifting an older bottle. A bottle that has been aged over 7 years will have a mellow complexity that makes it a special gift.
Whites: Consider a lesser-known varietal like Chenin Blanc or Vermentino

Office Holiday Party

Strategy: Keep the focus on chatting, reconnecting and reminiscing with flavorful wines that stand up to hearty, winter-season fare but also drink well on their own—just as fruity, spicy cocktails typically do.
Reds: Bone-warming, palate-coating Malbec or Syrah.
Whites: Versatile, crowd-pleasing wines like Sauvignon Blanc.

Family Holiday Dinner

Strategy: Minimize the fuss of wine selection, and demonstrate that you put some thought and effort into picking wines you wouldn’t uncork on an ordinary weeknight.
Reds: Get two: a fruity and concentrated red that complements rich holiday foods, such as a Rioja (made of the Tempranillo grape), from Spain. Consider serving a dessert wine like Port to end dinner on a high note.
White: A lush and fruity white, such as a Chardonnay or Viognier, that has the heft to stand up to everything on the table.

Gathering Among Friends

Strategy: Make it all about the party, not the wine. Choose a bottle that everyone will love, but not so good that it’s the subject of discussion.
Reds: A cheerful party pour, such as a California Cabernet, Merlot or Pinot Noir—varieties everyone’s likely to be familiar with.
White: Get two: a sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or Cava, and a quaffable white from Spain, such as a fruity Albariño.

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