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How to host the best holiday dinner


The holidays are here, and with them, the joy and celebration of family dinners, Friendsgivings and New Year’s soirées.

Make the preparations easier with a few key tips from our experts at J.

Holiday Hosting Tips from J Vineyards and Winery

How to Build Your
Holiday Menu

J Estate Chef Forest Kellogg understands the challenge of planning a menu for large groups — after all, he creates a new menu at the Bubble Room every six weeks. Here are a few of his tips for making your holiday meal come together easier.

Plan ahead: It seems obvious, but planning every detail can save you from last-minute trips to the store. Order your wine directly from J and have it shipped right to your door. Depending on your menu, it may take more time than expected to source some of your ingredients, so give yourself plenty of leeway — think 2 – 3 weeks in advance.

Start your prep early: Don’t save all your sorting, chopping and measuring for the day of. You can start preparing your ingredients in advance of your dinner date, giving you more time to relax and spend with your guests.

Write a cooking schedule: Writing down your cooking schedule is crucial for big holiday meals since your oven and burner space is limited. Consider alternative ways to cook and take advantage of your slow cooker, instant pot or air fryer if you have them.

Pour the Perfect
Holiday Wine

You spend hours (sometimes days) preparing delicious holiday
feasts for your loved ones—which is why choosing a wine that
complements your meal is just as important. For Winemaker
Nicole Hitchcock, her holiday go-to is Pinot Noir.

“With its velvety texture, vibrant acidity and dark fruit notes, Pinot Noir is the perfect pairing for roasted meats, herbaceous vegetables and rich side dishes.”
— Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock

For a wine that is as special as your meal, select our 2020 Annapolis Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir. Earning 97 points (James Suckling, March 2023), its rich fruit notes of dark cherry, plum and blueberry are at the forefront of a layered, full palate, with hints of pomegranate, lavender, sage and fresh suede adding complexity and depth.

Host the best Holiday event with tips and tricks from J Vineyards and Wine

Holiday Hosting Tips 2023

How to Choose the
Right Wine Glass

Offering guests a wine glass that complements and enhances your wine selection is crucial to getting the most out of each pour.

“The size, shape and thickness of the lip of the glass are important aspects to consider when enjoying your favorite wine. You want to ensure you pour only up to the largest point of the glass to experience the full depth of the aromatics.”
— Alex Sheedy, Tasting Room Manager

For robust reds, a stemmed glass with a large bowl is optimal, providing room to swirl and aerate the wine, allowing the aromas to release and soften some of the tannins.

For whites, a more slender bowl maintains a smaller pour, which preserves the wine’s cooler temperature and delicate aromas.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to sparkling: a classic Champagne flute, which slows the release of the bubbles and aromas (and is perfect for a celebratory clink!)—or a coupe glass, which offers a broader surface area for the bubbles to escape, and immediately releasing more of its aromas and flavors. Your choice comes down to personal preference.


Are you ready for the holidays? Our Holiday Gift Guide will help you get there!

With gift sets, pairing inspiration, delivery deadlines and more, consider this is your holiday cheat sheet.

J Vineyards and Winery has a great selection of holiday gift sets for everyone on your list!


Sparkling wine being poured in to a glass.


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Explore our entire wine portfolio and discover
new favorites.

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