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Five Ways to Celebrate the Holidays California Wine Country Style

Holiday wine and food pairings for any occasion.

The holidays are right around the corner. Embrace the spirit of the season with five ways to Celebrate the Holidays California Wine Country Style.

Whether you’re planning for a crowd, small gathering or virtual get-together, we have entertaining suggestions to offer for every holiday occasion, inspired by California’s wine country. They are guaranteed to give you, your family and  friends a very memorable and tasty 2021 holiday season!

1. Holidays from a Distance

Some of us may still be celebrating the holidays with family and friends from a distance. No matter what country or time-zone you’re in, your friends and family are just a call away. A virtual celebration can be just as merry and fun as in-person, with these California wine options paired with easy-to-make recipes.    

Blue Cheese and Walnut Stuffed California Figs

Figs, blue cheese and walnuts soar in this wine-friendly appetizer that’s perfect for the holidays. Invite a few friends for a video call, and assemble this super simple hors d’oeuvre with juicy California figs, creamy blue cheese, toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey. It’s an easy app that’s ready in five minutes, max.

Enjoy with California Cabernet Sauvignon, which pairs well with blue cheese or a California Chardonnay, which has an oakiness that will bring out the nutty, creamy characteristics of the cheese.

Recipe and image courtesy of CA Grown.

Holiday celebration wine fig recipe

A Duo of Holiday Spreads

We love a good spread, and so will you, especially when they’re this easy to whip up. They’ll be ready in no time and you’ll be ready for your virtual holiday gathering. Enjoy these wine-friendly spreads individually or as a colorful duo with a basket of flatbread crackers, crostini or pita crisps.

Pair these holiday spreads with California sparkling wine or California sparkling rosé. The creaminess of the spreads will be balanced by the acidity of the wine.

Holiday celebration wine spreads recipe

Roasted Beets, Hazelnuts and Fresh Mozzarella with Honey Bacon Vinaigrette

If you’re looking for a quick and delicious meal for your virtual holiday get together, this one is easy and delicious. The fresh and festive colors will add a little jingle to your mingle. Vibrant, sweet and savory, this salad is finished with toasted nuts and creamy fresh mozzarella.

We love to pair a crisp salad with a crisp California white blend or a California Pinot Noir for a lighter, red option.

Holiday celebration wine beet salad recipe

2. Small but Tasty

Maybe you’re back to in-person gatherings this year, but keeping it small and celebrating the holidays with a few of your closest friends and family. Whether it’s a happy hour, gift exchange or cocktail party, we have some great recipes and appetizers that pair perfectly with California wines, each promising to leave a lasting impression on your guests. 

Holiday Cheese Board

Nothing says “holidays” like the perfect cheese board (with the perfect wine pairings). Up your cheese board game with these expert suggestions for pairings with some of California’s most popular wines.

Not sure what cheeses pairs well with your favorite California Chardonnay, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon? Now you know.


Holiday celebration wine cheese pairing

Deviled Egg Trio

Take your small gathering to the next level with a crowd favorite: deviled eggs. And we’ve got you covered with three times the fun, with this trio of flavors. Deviled eggs disappear fast at holiday gatherings, especially when they’re dressed up with smoked trout or caviar or made extra devilish with harissa.

Pair any of these with a celebratory California sparkling wine or the ever-versatile choice — rosé.

Deviled eggs recipe Holiday celebration wine

Apple, Brie and Pomegranate Flatbread

Brie and apples team up with spicy arugula and bright pomegranate in these elegant, easy, mini flatbreads. These small bites look super festive and will be enjoyed by all at your holiday cocktail party or happy hour.

A festive hors d’oeuvre calls for an equally festive wine. The acidity in a creamy brie is a perfect match for a California sparkling wine.

Recipe and image courtesy of CA Grown.

Holiday celebration wine flatbread recipe

3. Holiday Dinner

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve or Epiphany, every holiday deserves a festive and delicious dinnerWe have some great ideas for California wine options paired with a wide variety of holiday plates that are sure to be a hit.  

Roasted Whole Turkey with Wild Rice and Kale Stuffing

No matter which holidays you celebrate, a turkey is a classic choice for a main course. Perfectly roasted and juicy, this maple-glazed turkey is served with a savory sweet combo of wild rice with hearty greens, pecans and dried cranberries.

Pair with California Chardonnay, which has full bodied richness and acidity that balances beautifully with turkey. Or try a fruit-forward California Zinfandel, which pairs well with both dark and light turkey cuts.

Holiday celebration wine turkey

Rigatoni with Pork Rib Sugo

Make your holiday main a fun one! Baby back ribs make a succulent, rustic pasta sauce. The sauce (sugo in Italian) reheats well so you can make it a day ahead. That means less time in the kitchen and more time with family and friends.

Either a California Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel are great pairings for this rustic and robust tomato-based sauce. Both wines have a lot of body and stand up to the richness of the meat.

Holiday celebration wine pasta recipe

Focaccia Bread Pudding with Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

This savory, custardy bread pudding makes an irresistible vegetarian main dish, or as a side dish for roast chicken or turkey. Either way, it’s so good it may become a new tradition at your holiday table.

A creamy goat cheese and a rich California Chardonnay go hand in hand. Or if you prefer a red wine pairing, try it with a California Pinot Noir. The earthy notes in the wine, complement the wild mushrooms in the dish.

Holiday celebration wine bread pudding recipe

4. A Sustainable Table

If you’re opting for a way to celebrate the holidays with a small footprint on Mother Earth, we have some sustainable holiday recipe options for you, including everything from California wine and Californiagrown produce to the best ways to deal with your holiday meal waste.  

Winter Beet and Citrus Salad with Dates and Almonds

We’re all about keeping it local and this recipe features many California grown products that are in season during the winter months like beets, citrus, dates and almonds. Sweet, tart, crunchy, tangy — this colorful salad has it all. Its contrasting textures and surprising flavors keep you coming back for another refreshing bite.

A lush California Chardonnay is a good match for this tangy salad while a California Sparkling wine is versatile enough to enjoy with almost anything, especially a holiday meal.

winter salad recipe with wine

Roasted Butternut Squash and Fennel Soup with Fried Sage

Another way to keep your holidays sustainable is to watch your waste. Keeping your portions small and saving leftovers is easy with a simple soup. Butternut squash and fennel make a compelling duo. The licorice-like fennel adds an herbal dimension and keeps the puree from being too sweet. Serve in small portions at your holiday table.

The fruity notes in a California Merlot will bring out the sweetness in the roasted butternut squash for an unforgettable pairing.

butternut squash soup recipe with wine

Roasted Grape, Brie and Thyme Crostini

Keep your table sustainable by readying your reusables. Disposable plates and silverware may be an easy option, but they’re not earth friendly. For a special holiday occasion, use your best tableware to save the unnecessary waste when serving up these Roasted Grape, Brie and Thyme Crostinis. The roasted grapes and creamy brie are a fabulous combo.

The earthiness of the brie and thyme pairs well with a California Pinot Noir. And this light-bodied wine won’t overpower the cheese.

Recipe and image courtesy of CA Grown.

Roasted Grape Crostini with wine

5. Game Day

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a little sport. You’re guaranteed to get a big win at your football or soccer party with these game day recipes, each paring perfectly with California wines 

Cheese and Salumi Board

Gather your fellow fans, friends and family around this abundant Cheese and Salumi Board. Whether for game day or other celebrations, everyone loves a little cheese and salumi. The best part about this is it’s customizable – add what you love; omit what you don’t. It’s yours to compose.

Despite their delicacy, a California rosé or California sparkling wine can handle the riot of flavors on a cheese board, from savory to sweet, as well as cut through the fat of the cheeses.

cheese and salumi holidays

Grass-Fed Burger with Avocado and Chipotle Mayonnaise

Game day and burgers go hand and hand, so why not take it to the next level with these Grass-Fed Burgers with Avocado and Chipotle Mayonnaise? Buttery avocados make any sandwich better, and they put this burger over the top. Add some spicy chipotle mayonnaise to ensure that this is a luscious, moist, flavor-packed experience.

Burgers love red wine and a sturdy California Cabernet Sauvignon or California Syrah are a perfect match.

Quick Pickled California Grapes and Personal Snack Board

Enjoying a holiday game day is so much more fun with a snack board. Easy to assemble and with something for everyone, your fans will be grateful. These Quick-Pickled California Grapes, fresh fruit and nuts, salty cheese and crunchy crackers are a recipe for a big win.

A fruity and spicy California Zinfandel can be enjoyed with salty, hard cheeses and will complement the sweetness of the roasted grapes.

Recipe and image courtesy of CA Grown.


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