From Prosecco Week to Drink Chenin Blanc Day to Lambrusco Day, the steady stream of wine holidays seemingly surprises us every few days. Indeed, the ones above happen in June alone.
Whether the celebration is a nod to a specific grape or wine style, it can be frustrating trying to keep up with them all or to realize it’s Sparkling Wine Week without having any bubbles nearby (mark your calendars for the first week of July for that one, by the way.)
Trying to catch every holiday as it happens may not be the best strategy. Instead, focus on the few holidays with more significant meaning. The best ones invoke change, altering our conversations about wine or how we think about it.
By all means, if you’re a devout fan of rosé, then open a bottle on both National Rosé Day (the second Saturday in June) and International Rosé Day (the fourth Friday in June).
But to limit any potential frustrations, the following five wine holidays should be the first to prioritize each year.
Global Drink Wine Day
Let’s start with one of the most effortless wine holidays. Global Drink Wine Day means every bottle of wine in the cellar is a good one to open. Forget about having the right wine and opening whatever you feel like drinking while thinking about where it came from, the people who tended the vines, or how it came to be in your possession.
The origins of this catch-all celebration are unclear, but many use it as a way to be more flexible about wine holidays. It’s also a good opportunity to try something new: go to a new wine bar, attend a tasting, or visit a local vineyard.
Open That Bottle Night
Open That Bottle Night is a wine holiday that inspires wine drinkers to stop waiting for a special occasion and open a bottle from the cellar. Life is too short; open that bottle!
The holiday originated in 2000 by Dorothy J Gaiter and John Brecher, husband and wife who conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal’s wine column, “Tastings,” from 1998 to 2010.
Open That Bottle Night happens on the last Saturday of February, intending to connect people and help shift the mindset around cellaring or collecting wine. Wine is for sharing, and Open That Bottle Night is the perfect day to do it.
The Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris
For wine enthusiasts in the U.S., this Judgment of Paris needs no introduction. The 1976 competition was an industry-shaping event, helping solidify Napa Valley as a powerful international player in wine.
British wine shop owner Steven Spurrier organized the May 24th Paris tasting with colleague Patricia Gallagher. The purpose was to highlight wines from Napa following his trip to the region.
The blind tasting saw twelve wines from the U.S. (six red and six white) poured against eight French wines. Ultimately, the U.S. took the top prize for both white and red categories, much to the dismay of the French judging panel (except Spurrier). Luckily for him, the only other individual in the closed tasting was Time magazine journalist George Taber, stationed in Paris then, calling the tasting “the most significant news story ever written about wine.”
May 24th is a wine holiday to celebrate the accomplishments of all American wines. So, open a current-vintage bottle from one of the judgment tasting producers (though that may come at a hefty price tag) or simply open a bottle from any U.S. winemaking state. Those who wish to take it up a notch can even stage their own blind tasting, pitting the U.S. and France against each other once again to see which one comes out on top.
Drink Local Wine Week
Drink Local Wine Week began in 2008 with the goal of highlighting wines made by our community winemakers or at least wine from the nearest state or wine region.
By supporting local business, which is often also small business, the wine holiday draws attention to regional wines across the country. So, use this week to find a new winery or wine shop nearby. Try new local wines, and whenever possible, purchase straight from the winery, as it directs more profit to the owners rather than a distributor or wholesaler.
BONUS: Earth Day
While Earth Day is not expressly about wine, wine enthusiasts and advocates alike use this holiday to observe the movement surrounding natural and sustainable wine.
The holiday, which includes coordinated events in more than 193 countries, demonstrates local and global support for environmental protection. It allows wine producers to highlight their efforts for sustainable or biodynamic farming or winemaking with minimal intervention and for consumers to increase their awareness surrounding natural or sustainable winemaking so they can clink glasses to better planet-friendly wine.