It’s versatile, seasonal and socially acceptable at almost any gathering. It’s the reason, local wine producers say, that a good glass of wine can make any holiday party that much better.
Wine is "the perfect thing to have at a holiday dinner because it’s so versatile,” said Ermin Husidic, hospitality manager at Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City. He’s not the only one who thinks so.
A 2015 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average American consumer spends $1 of every $100 on alcohol, and the beverage of choice during the holidays is often wine.
According to a Nielsen study the same year, more than 50 percent of Americans 21 and older said they were likely to drink table wine at Thanksgiving and 47 percent at Christmas. That number rises for New Year’s Eve, with 53 percent saying the choose sparkling wine to celebrate.
Rob Livingston, co-owner of Naked Winery in Custer, said he can see why wine is often the choice. “It’s about celebrating and it’s socially acceptable,” said Livingston. “You can go to lunch and have a glass of wine and it’s OK. It’s not hard alcohol.”
Mulling wine or purchasing mulled wine is very popular during the cold season, Livingston said. “It just smells like Christmas and the holidays,” he said.
To make mulled wine at home, put wine and mulling spice into a crock pot with some sugar. Over time, the mixture will mull and heat like a tea. “Then you have to get it back out,” he said. “Mulling wine is messy and we’ve made it easy for you.”
Naked Winy sells pre-mulled wine perfect for the holidays. Pairing wine with holiday foods is as easy as remembering to match, Husidic said.
“Every wine has food that it pairs well with,” he said. “You want to pair a bold wine with bold food and acidic wine with acidic food. You don’t want the food to overwhelm the wine, or vice versa.”
So whether it’s with lunch, dinner or at that Christmas or New Year’s Eve party, here are their recommendations for this year’s winter season:
• Spiced wine: Naked Winery sells a pre-mulled bottle with clove in it. It’s great during the cold winter months and goes well with turkey.
• Cabernet sauvignon: a bolder, red wine sold by most wineries that is excellent with a red meat.
• Gewürztraminer: a white wine that can be found at Naked Winery. It’s made from German grapes and pairs nicely with turkey or ham.
• Merlot: a dry, sweet wine sold by most wineries that pairs nicely with a red meat.
• Cranberry wine: released by Prairie Berry during the holidays; goes great with a turkey dinner.