best wines to bring to Christmas and holiday parties
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When you’re invited to dinner and the host says, “Bring a beverage of your choice,” what do you do?

Put a Bow On ItChowhound Gift Guide 2018: The Best Alcohol to Give as Gifts“I have a lot of wine friends, so wine is an obvious choice, but that’s not always the case,” says Dustin Wilson, master sommelier and former Eleven Madison Park wine director. “My family, for example, isn’t into wine, so I show up with some fun, unusual beer. Another thing I enjoy bringing a premixed cocktail. Negronis are easy—equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari—and really fun to pass around when you arrive.”

Wilson tries to get an understanding of what the group would be into. And if it is wine (and that’s usually a safe bet), he’s made it easier to choose the perfect bottle with Verve Wine, which he launched with partner Derrick Mize, a veteran wine merchant.

Derrick Mize and Dustin Wilson are the founders of Verve Wine. (Photo by Stephan Werk)

Verve Wine makes discovering great wine as easy as shopping on Amazon or booking a flight online. Users can search for wines by:

  • Occasions such as a movie night, dinner party, or the holidays
  • Pairings such as pizza, sushi, or tacos
  • Flavor profiles including savory, spicy, sweet, or juicy
  • Conventional descriptors like flavor, grape, style, or region

You can also layer filters to find an “exotic, aromatic” “white” wine from “Austria” that pairs well with “spicy food.” The wines come from all price points—from $5 to $1,000—and Verve Wine ships nationwide. Liquor is sold on the website too. If you order at least four to five days before the event, you should receive your drink of choice on time, Wilson said.

We also asked Wilson for his advice on what wines are best for other occasions that often arise throughout the holidays.

To bring to the home of a friend who loves wine

Dhondt-Grellet Brut Champagne Dans un Premier Temps NV, $45 on Verve Wine

Dhondt-Grellet Brut Champagne Dans un Premier Temps NV

Verve Wine

Champagne is super easy and always a good idea. Dhondt-Grellet is a great, small-grower producer that’s both powerful and elegant at the same time. Not to mention, it’s a great value.”See It

For dinner at a family member’s home, like grandma, the parents, or Aunt Jane

Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc ‘Grassini’ Santa Ynez Valley 2014, $30 on Verve Wine

Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc 'Grassini' Santa Ynez Valley 2014

Verve Wine

“Gee whiz. Personally, I would bring a couple bottles of Beaujolais. It’s cheap—so you can buy a lot of it, which is key—and has a high deliciousness factor. Anne Sophie DuBois fits the bill perfectly. Another option is a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s easy, crisp, fun, and a great crowd pleaser. Lieu Dit is refreshing and tasty.”See It

Coworker’s tree-trimming party

Presqu’ile Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2017, $33.99 on

Presqu'ile Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2017

“For a cozy night in trimming a tree with a coworkers, I would bring a bottle of Pinot Noir. If you’re sitting around the tree, you want something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Presqu’ile does just that.”See It

The big party of an acquaintance

Hunt & Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2016, $28 at Verve Wine

Hunt & Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2016

Verve Wine

“I would say that a bottle of California Cabernet. Lots of people like California cab, so it’s a pretty safe bet. If you’re going to a party, at least some people there will like a nice, big, full-bodied red. It’s juicy, fruity, and all that good stuff; a good crowd-pleaser.”See It

Don’t feel like going out in the cold? If you’re in an area where Saucey delivers, you can get beer, wine, spirits, and more straight to your door! If you’re lucky, you’re in a location that’s eligible for free 30 minute delivery (with no order minimum requirement) too!

For more holiday hacks, tips, tricks, and recipes, see our Christmas Entertaining Headquarters. And for more great gift ideas, see our Gift Guide 2018: Best Gourmet Food and Drink Gifts.

Related Video: Wine Tasting Engages Your Brain More Than Any Other Behavior, Says Neuroscientist

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Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at
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