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The Booze Bin

What to Read and Drink for the Holidays


by Rebekah Polster (@BekInBklyn)

Ad sales and marketers in the wine and spirits industry relish the holidays: if there is a way to garner more press and ads based on a holiday, it will be done! And when a holiday comes rolling around that is actually focused on turkey and its accoutrements, it’s an epicurean dream come true.

November and December magazine placements are the silver lining to ad sales and marketers. If you can make it into the holiday gift guide, or get your product on the table for a thanksgiving shoot, you’re golden. These magazines have the largest circulation than any other time of year and sometimes, it’s hard to keep it straight as to what magazine is recommending the best bet .

With that in mind, wine sales around the thanksgiving holiday are the largest than any other time of year. Which makes it a key time to roll out the promotions and giveaways.

Be wary of what you read and what is promoted or advertised as many publications and companies now make their own wines and of course that will be the top product on display for those publications.

A good example of this is Food Network, which has partnered with Wente Vineyards in California, to create a new wine. This has been shown in ads on the network’s shows and in their magazine.

But, while this might not be the first partnership, it’s definitely a large, in your face, partnership. Many chefs in recent years have partnered with various wineries, putting their name on a bottle and getting the word out via cooking shows and magazines. And don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with this (Michael Chiarello makes quite a good Cabernet), but obviously the chef will be favoring his or her wine over any other. It’s just common sense.

For instance, there are more celebrities today who have endorsed a winery or made a wine; such names as the band Train, Drew Barrymore, AC/DC, Dave Matthews and countless others. The advertising behind these brands is quite large as you have a celebrity name pushing it to the mass. There’s nothing wrong with this, you just want to know what the intentions are behind the wine and, most importantly, if it’s good.

At this time of year, the best bet is to go into your local wine shop to see what is recommended by people whose only agenda is to sell a variety of wine. Best yet, see if there are tastings you can get in on leading up to the holidays.

What those stores will recommend for the Thanksgiving holiday will usually be the wines that complement the usual flavors of the holiday meal. For reds, the best bets are Pinot Noirs, usually from California (but I’m partial to those from New Zealand), and Beaujolais wines from France, or other wines primarily made of the gamay grape (Oregon makes delicious gamay wines). Both reds should be slightly chilled and they are delicious pairings with turkey – the fruitiness cuts through the grease and packs a punch. If you prefer white wines, go with a Pinot Grigio or an un-oaked Chardonnay. And then there are always roses, which are delicious any time of year, I don’t care who says they’re just for summer. They are delicious with turkey and fish and I say life is short, enjoy your wine.

And what about the forgotten cocktail? I’m partial to a festive holiday treat: an apple cider sidecar, with bourbon or whiskey, orange liqueur, lemon, topped off with some delicious apple cider. And if you plan on a lot of people, punches are amazing, whether starting off with or enjoying throughout the meal.

So, next time you see those ads or write ups in the November and December issues of the epicurean publications, just remember, there might be a teeny tiny price that was paid, whether financially or emotionally. And at the end of the day, all it is a suggestion. No matter what is thrown your way, the end result will be that you will drink what you like – if you prefer that big, bold Cabernet with your turkey, throw all caution to the wind and go with it!

Enjoy the holiday, enjoy your libation and most importantly, enjoy those you share the meal with.

About Rebekah Polster:

With more than 10 years of experience in marketing and public relations, Rebekah serves as an account supervisor in PadillaCRT's New York office. Since joining PadillaCRT in spring 2012, Rebekah has and continues to work on accounts in both the Food & Beverage and Consumer Practices. Rebekah’s diverse background in public relations, marketing, event planning and account management has been tapped for overseeing major media, trade and consumer events, including day-of events and guerilla marketing, as well as small intimate tastings and media meetings.

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