December 4, 2023

Written by Jordan

Wine Pairings and Entertaining Tips for the Holidays

Elevate your holiday celebrations with the Kamloops Wine Trail. Dazzle your guests with these simple entertainment tips and perfect wine pairings this holiday season. From appetizers to main courses and desserts, we’ve got you covered. Cheers to a festive season!

Wine Menu

There are a lot of different wines that you could serve at your holiday event, so many that it can feel overwhelming. Not only are you considering different foods and how to pair best with them, but you also have to consider the varied palates of your guests. Unless you’re planning on setting up a wine flight for each guest, you’ll probably want a few wines that will complement as many dishes on the table as possible.

Here is a basic list of wine types that will pair with most holiday meals:

    • One light to medium-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay
    • One light to medium-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir
    • One rose or sparkling wine (or you can do both)

Serving Tip

There are some best practices when it comes to pairing wine and food. Pair intensely flavoured foods with intensely flavoured wines, acidic foods go best with higher acid wine, and sweet foods go with sweet wines.

Wine Pairing 

Now that you have a list of types of wine to guide you, let’s continue with some inspired wine pairings for popular holiday dishes:

Appetizers 

Wine Pairing | Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and/or Rose

Charcuterie boards are a great option for a party. Guests help themselves, choosing what they like, avoiding what they don’t, and maybe even trying something new. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the classic meat and cheese options, think of different fruits, veggies, spreads and dips to make things exciting!

Serving Tip

Provide plenty of utensils for serving and plates and cutlery for eating to encourage guests to make up their own plates. Also ensure to have water available to cleanse the palate between sips and bites.

Main Dishes 

Offering both a light to medium-bodied white wine and a light to medium-bodied red wine demonstrates a thoughtful and sophisticated approach to wine selection. This variety ensures that you can cater to a range of preferences and pair effectively with a diverse array of dishes. We’ve listed some options for you below: 

Roasted Turkey
Wine Pairing | Chardonnay and Pinot Noir 

It is most important to pair your wine with your main dish, but you should also consider the side dishes that will complement your main. For a roasted turkey we recommend that is paired with the following dishes that will not only complement the turkey but also the wine pairing: 

    • Creamy mashed potatoes with garlic.
    • Roasted Brussels sprouts with a hint of lemon.
    • Roasted sweet potatoes with a cinnamon glaze.
    • Cranberry sauce and stuffing. 

Glazed Ham
Wine Pairing | Pinot Noir and Rosé

For this pairing, a cherry and mustard-glazed ham would be best paired with the following sides to create a supreme collection of complimentary flavours: 

    • Sweet potato casserole with a pecan crust.
    • Sauteed green beans with almonds.
    • Herb biscuits.

Vegetarian Options
Wine Pairing | Rosé

If you want to go the vegetarian route, with a lentil and vegetable Wellington, the following sides would make a great match:

    • Roasted root vegetable medley.
    • Brie and cranberry puff pastry bites.

Serving Tip

When hosting, remember to encourage responsible wine consumption. Plan for about half a bottle per person, keep glass pours moderate at around 6 ounces, and avoid overserving. Remind guests to sip, savour, and stay hydrated, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable holiday gathering without the aftermath of overindulgence. Cheers to responsible celebrations!

Desserts
Wine Pairing | Sparkling Wine

Using sparkling wine for dessert is a fabulous idea, adding a touch of effervescence and lightness to complement the sweetness of the treats.

    • Mixed berry tart with a champagne glaze.
    • Lemon meringue pie.
    • Chocolate-covered strawberries.

Serving Tip

Ensure your rose and white wines are chilled, but not ice cold. Also, your red wines are at room temperature, and you crack open the caps/corks around 30 minutes before guests start arriving or before the wine is served.

Wine Gifting 

Are you thinking about giving the gift of wine this holiday season? Here are some valuable tips for you to provide a thoughtful and creative gift:

    • Take into account the person you are buying the wine for. Do they have a preference for red, white or sparkling wines? Do they have a favourite style or wine region? Tailor your selection to really impress! 
    • Consider purchasing them a curated wine box. This way, they will get to enjoy multiple wines and will get insider information from winemakers. For the holiday season, the wineries of Kamloops have curated a Thompson Valley Holiday 6-Pack that offers a variety of delicious local wines. 
    • Worried that grabbing a bottle of wine may come off as last minute? Enhance the gift by specially wrapping and or adding accessories such as a corkscrew, aerator or wine glasses. 

If you are still undecided on what wines to grab for your holiday event, pick up something you enjoy. It is always a hit when hosts select a wine they love and share it with their guests. They will appreciate any sentimental tidbits and try something new. 

Remember, above all, you are hosting to enjoy the company of your guests and create great memories. Take a moment to savour the joyous atmosphere, the clinking of glasses, and the laughter that fills the air. Cheers to a wonderful holiday season!