Hosting a Christmas Wine Party is the best way to get friends together for the holidays! Serve an array of appetizers, play games, make holiday crafts and mingle with guests for the ultimate festive get-together.
November 2021 Update: I love that my readers are still throwing Christmas wine parties 6 years after I originally posted this in 2015! This year I updated this post with new tips for throwing the best wine party, including adding a gift swap, a wine tasting, plus recipe ides.
Now that it's officially Thanksgiving, that means one thing… it's 100% acceptable to begin celebrating Christmas.
Bring on the Santa hats, hot cocoa, Christmas trees and red-and-green everything.
Aside from the holiday decor, my favorite part of the holiday season is getting together with loved ones.
Family get-togethers are pretty automatic but I love also getting together with friends to celebrate the holiday and enjoy each other's company.
An appetizer and wine party for friends is the perfect solution!
What is a wine party?
A wine party is simply a party where the guests drink wine and nibble on appetizers.
The wines can be red, white, rosé, sparkling or a mixture of all of the above. You could even serve up a few pitchers of spiced cranberry sangria for people to start with.
You can provide all the wine, or you can ask each of your guests to bring a bottle. This saves on costs but also provides a smorgasbord of types of wine to sip on.
You can throw a wine party any time of year — even for a housewarming party or a bachelorette party. But if you ask me, there's nothing like a Christmas wine party.
How to host a Christmas wine party
Whipping up a few fun appetizers and opening a few bottles of wine is all it takes to get a Christmas wine party going.
It can be that simple, or you can do more than that.
That's what I love about parties — they can be as relaxed or as involved as you like and have time for.
If you're looking for a great way to celebrate with friends this Christmas season, grab a few bottles of wine and your favorite easy appetizers to get started.
1. Invite your guests.
First of all, invite your friends over! Ask them to bring their favorite bottle of wine and you'll be all set.
You'll have a variety of whites and reds and be able to create a platter of appetizers that pair well with both!
Or you can provide the wine yourself, and ask them each to bring an appetizer or a tray of Christmas cookies.
If you want to do it all, tell guests to simply bring themselves!
You could also organize a wine-themed white elephant gift exchange or craft for people to do together (more on these below), but you should inform guests ahead of time.
For a gift exchange, they'll need to purchase and wrap a gift. For crafts, they may want to dress accordingly.
Speaking of fashion, it could also be an ugly sweater wine party, or you can tell people to dress festively or simply to dress comfortably!
2. Decide how the wine is provided.
First, you'll need to decide who is bringing the wine, and if there's a theme.
If you are providing the wine
Be sure to get a mix of red and white wine.
For white wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon blanc are most popular. Riesling and Moscato are sweet wines that not everyone will love, but they're a good option for beginning wine drinkers.
For red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Malbec are popular types.
In general, you can get 5 glasses out of a 750mL bottle of wine, and most people will enjoy 2-3 glasses of wine — so plan accordingly.
If guests are bringing the wine
Guests can bring their favorite, or you can ask them to bring them based on a theme. This is fun if you plan to do a wine tasting (more on that below).
- Variety: Have everyone bring all the same type of wine from different regions. e.g. Chardonnay from France, California, Oregon and Australia.
- Value: Give guests a budget (e.g. $15) to spend on their bottle of wine.
- Style: A theme like "dessert wines" or "dry white wines" lets people try a lot of types within a theme.
- Blind tasting: Put all the wines into a decanter or into brown paper bags, and number them so no one knows what's what!
3. Create your menu.
If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that my favorite part of any get-together (besides the company, of course) is the food. It's all about the food.
Wine parties are great ways to get people together around great food and wine.
Appetizers and snacks for a wine party
- These cranberry prosciutto crostini and butternut squash cranberry crostini are both stunning holiday appetizers. Who can say no to bread and cheese? Serve one or serve both for people to enjoy options.
- A tray of baked chicken meatballs with toothpicks for serving would be a hearty snack.
- Skillet sausage dip is another favorite at all our parties.
- An array of cheeses, charcuterie, crackers, breads, fruits and spreads like jam and honey always pairs so well with wine. Learn how to make an easy cheese board and knock everyone's socks off!
- Dips are never a bad idea, either. This pepperoni dip is served warm, which is great for chilly nights. This pull-apart sourdough cheese dip is served in a loaf of bread, and people will love eating it. Or serve bread and veggies with a bowl of homemade hummus.
- Chorizo-stuffed bacon wrapped dates are an easy-to-make sweet-and-salty snack served on toothpicks.
- Sausage balls are such a nostalgic Christmas treat for me, and would be a perfect pairing with wine, too.
Check out this list of easy appetizers for more ideas.
Desserts for a holiday wine party
You could also do a dessert-only party, or just offer some sweet options.
One of my favorites is asking guests to bring a type of Christmas cookie to share, and they get to go home with their faves!
You could also simply offer a few types Christmas cookies to go with your appetizer selections. These are always a hit:
- M&M Christmas Cookie Bars are festive and colorful.
- These Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies are always stunning on a cookie tray.
- Stained Glass Window No Bake Cookies are one of my most popular recipes!
- Peppermint Crinkle Cookies only have 6 ingredients. So easy!
- Ginger Molasses Snickerdoodles are easy and taste like Christmas. (Pictured below!)
- These stunning Classic Profiteroles are perfect for pairing with wine
4. Set up the party.
Get out your wine opener (I love this one) and set out your wine glasses. Plastic cups will work just fine, or you can use wine glasses.
For champagne, you may wish to set out champagne flutes, but it will be just fine in a wine glass or plastic cup.
For white, rosé and sparkling wines, you should keep them chilled throughout the party, so set up a cooler or bucket filled with ice, or make some room in the fridge.
If you have any spare corks or reusable wine stoppers, those would be great to have on hand as well.
Prepare any appetizers, snacks or desserts, and provide plates. Paper plates are great for easy clean-up.
You may also need to have serving spoons, forks, spreaders or toothpicks out for guests to use.
5. Do a wine tasting.
A fun thing to do together is to taste all the wines people bring.
For a blind tasting (the most fun!), decant wines into decanters or pitchers, or put them in bags. These reusable burlap wine bags have tags on them so you can number the wines.
You can let them use one wine glass, or you can use these wine flight boards for a smaller party. Put out a bucket or bowl for people to dump any wine they don't like (or have a clean sink available!)
Hand everyone a piece of paper and a pen to write down their notes.
Or you can simply have everyone play a game of wine bingo while they sip!
6. Plan a gift exchange.
A White Elephant gift swap is always so fun. But when it's wine-themed? So much more fun.
Ask guests to bring a wrapped gift that is wine-themed to the Christmas wine party. Be sure to have one ready to go for you to give, but also maybe a spare for anyone who forgets to bring one.
You can set a budget of $10, $25 or $50 so that the gifts are all about the same value.
Then, draw a guest's name from a Santa hat (or any hat). They choose a gift and open it. The next name drawn can choose a new gift from the pile, or they can "steal" a gift that was opened before them.
Continue until everyone has a gift. The first person gets to "steal" AKA trade their gift with anyone else if they like.
Some people play this where a gift can only be "stolen" twice.
Wine-themed gift ideas
- Wine ornaments to hang on their Christmas tree
- A set of holiday wine glasses to make wine-drinking feel festive!
- An insulated holiday wine glass to keep their drink cold
- A cute wine stopper to make them smile
- A set of wine gems that act as ice cubes and don't dilute your wine
- A bottle of wine or bubbly!
7. Do a holiday craft together.
Making something together is a great way to pass the time for your party. The crafts can be used as decor or they can be given as gifts for the holidays.
Here are a few holiday crafts you can make at your holiday wine party:
Decorate mason jars with vinyl or chalk markers and use them to give hot cocoa mix, gift cards or even yummy pumpkin pie trifles.
Make an ornament together. Pick up some holiday fabrics and embroidery hoops to make these pretty fabric ornaments.
You could do a fun activity to make with paper straws with jingle bells. Guests can use them to decorate their home bars or put them out for their own holiday gatherings.
Another idea is to re-use wine bottles (remove the labels first) and let guests fill them with one of these wine-cork string lights to create a gorgeous decoration to use in their home.
They'll think of this fun night every time they see their decoration!
I'd love to know what you end up doing with your holiday wine party! Please leave a comment below to let me me know how it goes.