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December, 2021


Maybe choosing a sustainably produced wine is already a priority when you make your selections (we hope so). But this holiday season, consider whether there’s more you can do: choosing sustainably grown California produce and sustainably caught seafood for a dinner party; decorating your home with compostable wreaths, greenery or other materials gathered from nature; selecting gifts, like wine, that are consumable; wrapping with recyclable paper or reusable items, like organic flour sack towels; or donating to a charitable organization your recipient admires. The goal: a holiday season of maximum pleasure and minimal waste. 

The Pour

Ah, bubbles. California sparkling wines are a party in a bottle, and they’re available at every price. Choose to be thrifty or treat friends to a splurge. The finest sparkling wines come from cool-climate grapes. In California, think coastal Sonoma and Mendocino or the Carneros region near San Francisco Bay. These ocean-influenced regions produce high-acid grapes, yielding the steely wine the winemaker wants. With more yeast and a touch of sugar, that tart wine will referment in the bottle and — voilà! — produce the bubbles we love. For sparkling rosé, vintners may add red wine to get the hue they want. Or they macerate red grapes to extract some color before fermentation. Either way, santé! 

 Visit our holiday guide for more recipes and wine pairings to make this holiday season one to remember! 

Holiday Guide

The Recipe

A Duo of Holiday Spreads

Serve these wine-friendly spreads individually or as a colorful duo with a basket of flatbread crackers, crostini or pita crisps.  

Wine suggestion: California Sparkling Wine or California Sparkling Rosé

holiday spreads recipe


Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Feta 

  • 1 large roasted red bell pepper, skinned and seeded 
  • 6 ounces (scant 1 cup/180 g) feta  
  • 1 large garlic clove 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • Hot red pepper and sea salt to taste 


Spinach, Cilantro and Tahini Spread 

  • 1 cup (1.5 oz/45 g) packed baby spinach leaves (no stems) 
  • ½ cup (65 g) frozen peas (no need to thaw) 
  • 1 green onion, white and pale green part only, sliced 
  • 6 to 8 sprigs cilantro, no thick stems 
  • 1 small garlic clove, sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) tahini 
  • Sea salt 
  • Lemon juice, as needed 


Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Feta 

In a food processor, puree all ingredients until fully blended. The mixture will be soft. Chill slightly to firm it. 


Spinach, Cilantro and Tahini Spread 

Put the spinach, peas, green onion, cilantro and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the tahini and a large pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Taste for salt and add a few drops of lemon juice if needed to brighten the flavor. 


Wine Institute is an association of California wineries and affiliated businesses from the beautiful and diverse wine regions throughout the state. Wine Institute works to create an environment where the wine community can flourish and contribute in a positive fashion to our nation, state and local communities. For information please contact