If you’re like me, you don’t really need a dedicated holiday to drink wine. For the most part, I ignore those fabricated drinking days, unless, say, I happen to have a ton of something like Shiraz hanging around and I’m on a deadline and need a story idea and it’s Shiraz Day (yikes, that’s tomorrow!)
But if you’re not like me, and you’re looking for an excuse, a reason or a wine-related party theme, here’s a calendar to get you through the rest of the year. Just think of it as Christmas in July. Cheers!
Aug. 1. Old Vine Day. Started in 2016, it celebrates the glory of old vines anywhere. Think Grenache, Zinfandel and those in South Africa, where this project originated. it’s also, Albariño Day! Aug. 4: National White Wine Day (you will be hearing more from me on this). Aug. 13: International Prosecco Day. Aug. 18: National Pinot Noir Daywhich offers a range of regions to explore, from Old World—Alsace, Italy, Germany and Burgundy—to New: Oregon, California and Bio Bio in southern Chile.
September’s lineup: Cap Classique Day on the first. That’s the tasting sparkling wine from South Africa made in the traditional method of second fermentation in the bottle. That’s also Cabernet Day—from anywhere you like it. And not to be confused with National Chianti Day the next day (because in some places in Tuscany, they make wines from Cabernet grapes). On the 16th, grab a bottle of Grenache (France, California, Australia) or Garnacha (Spain) for that grape’s name day.
Forget all those tips on pairing Halloween candy with wine and just go straight to the wine: on the fifth of Octoberthat will be Vranac (“strong black”), a dry and powerful red from Montenegro (and also North Macedonia and some in Croatia) that Primitivo lovers will gravitate toward. The day after, stick to ancient grapes and grab a bottle of orange wine, which has its Old-World origins in Georgia, and along the Slovenia/Italian border in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. If you want to revisit South Africa after Cap Classique Day, try the signature red on International Pinotage Day, Oct. 8. On the 14th, return to eastern Europe for a taste of Prokupac on its holiday. Native to the former Yugoslavia and found in what is now Serbia, Kosovoa and North Macedonia, this is a cherry-inflected high-octane red that’s often made into a ruddy and robust rose. If you need to clean your palate after that. Oct. 16 is World Champagne Day. If not, stay in the groove and proceed to International Mavrud Day on the 26th, inaugurated in 2021. “Mav” means black and that’s a good hint of what’s to come in this dense red wine from Bulgaria (the Greek version is called Mavroudi). And if you’re still on a tannic tear, International Carignan Day is Oct. 29. Truly an international grape, it’s called Carignano in Italy, and Cariñena in Spain, and mostly found in southern France, where it’s often a blending partner with other standbys of the Mediterranean: Syrah, Grenache, Morvèdre, Cinsault. Since a lot of Carignan is grown on old vines, you can get a preview on Aug. 1. Which of course, you know is Old Vine Day.
November is chock-a-block with wine holidays! The Greek Xinomavro on the first, International Merlot Day on the 7th (I will flying the flag for Merlot that day!); the tent is for Tempranillo, Zinfandel is the 16th (though save a bottle for Thanksgiving because this is a great partner on the table). Beaujolais Nouveau Day is the third Thursday of November, and World Carmenere Day is the 24th.
December, shockingly, is low on wine holidays. But on the first, it’s all about Marathefikoan ancient red grape from Cyprus whose international holidays was inaugurated last year. If you can’t wrap your tongue around that, try any of the other names by which it’s known: Vamvakada, Vamvakina, Pampakia, Mavrosportiko and Aloupostafylo. Though deep in color, it features soft tannins with chocolate and coffee notes. Goes great with your seasonal game meat. Dec. 4 is Cabernet Franc Day and there are a bunch of options here: its spiritual home of Loire Valley and also in Bordeaux, Italy, Argentina, in New York State’s Finger Lakes and also on the shores of Long Island. On the tent, indulge yourself on World Aszú Daythe luscious sweet wine made from botrytis-affected Furmint grapes.
And, hey, how fun was it to spell-check this story?