Christmas is a time of joy, celebration, and traditions. While some customs are universal, like decorating a tree or exchanging gifts, many families and regions have unique traditions that add a personal touch to the holiday season. One delightful aspect of Christmas traditions is the role of wine in the festivities! In this article, let's explore various Christmas wine traditions from around the world that you can embrace and make part of your holiday season this year!

1. Toasting with Spiced Mulled Wine (Glühwein)

Originating in Germany, mulled wine, or "Glühwein," is a staple at Christmas markets and gatherings throughout Europe. It's made by heating red wine with a blend of spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, along with citrus fruits and sugar. The result is a warm, aromatic beverage that's perfect for toasting with friends and family on chilly winter nights. Try making your Glühwein and sharing this cozy tradition with loved ones.

2. The Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes

In Italy, the Christmas Eve tradition of "La Vigilia" involves a grand feast known as the "Feast of the Seven Fishes." It's customary to serve multiple seafood dishes, paired with wines that complement the flavors of the sea. Consider adding some Italian flair to your Christmas Eve by preparing a seafood feast and selecting Italian wines like Pinot Grigio or Chianti to accompany it.

3. Spanish Cava and the Twelve Grapes

In Spain, it's a custom to eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, one for each chime of the clock. Each grape represents good luck for one month of the coming year. To make the tradition even more special, enjoy your grapes with a glass of Spanish Cava, a sparkling wine akin to champagne. This ritual is a fun and lighthearted way to welcome the new year with joy and prosperity.

4. Sipping Port Wine with Stilton Cheese

In the United Kingdom, particularly England, enjoying Port wine with Stilton cheese is a cherished Christmas tradition. Port's rich, sweet, and fortified character pairs beautifully with the creamy, tangy flavors of Stilton. This combination is often served after the main Christmas meal, accompanied by crackers and dried fruits. Incorporating this tradition into your Christmas celebration can be a delightful way to savor the flavors of the season.

5. German Advent Wine Calendar

The Advent calendar is a beloved Christmas countdown tradition. In Germany, some families have adapted this idea into an Advent wine calendar. Each day leading up to Christmas, a different bottle of wine is revealed and enjoyed, offering a daily dose of anticipation and festivity. You can create your wine calendar by selecting a mix of your favorite wines, or even better, a selection of unique, seasonal, and local wines.

6. French Réveillon and Fine Wines

In France, the Christmas Eve feast, known as "Réveillon," is a grand affair often accompanied by fine wines. Families come together to indulge in luxurious dishes like foie gras, oysters, and roasted meats, all elegantly paired with carefully selected wines from France's renowned vineyards. Consider hosting your Réveillon, complete with exquisite French wines, and savor the decadence of this Gallic tradition.

Christmas is a time for making memories and celebrating with loved ones--embracing these wine traditions from around the world can add a delightful and memorable touch to your holiday season! Whether you're toasting with spiced mulled wine, enjoying a seafood feast, sipping fine wines with a Réveillon, or partaking in any of these customs, may your Christmas be filled with warmth, love, and the shared joy of traditions old and new. Merry Christmas!

Cheers,

Natalie