Stop and smell the rosé. The holidays are over and it's finally time to start slowing down. Our shopping is done, the New Year's Eve plans have been made, and food comas and chilly nights call for a little bit of hibernation. The most wonderful time of the year is full of enjoying the finer things in life: good food, good company, and lots of good wine. But before you retire your glass for the season, take a nap and then sip on this winter bucket list for wine lovers.
In fall, we make it our mission to stop at all of the local wineries. In the summer, we switch to something a little lighter than those dark reds, and enjoy a nice, dry pinot grigio with our lobster rolls and sunshine. But wine lovers become desperate when it comes to winter wining and dining.
You work from nine to wine, but the usual happy hour has gotten so old. You're going to be bottled up all winter, avoiding the snow, and bundling up in one too many blanket scarves — how will you ever cure your wine wanderlust?
Have no fear. Wine lovers around the world don't have to make pour decisions. You've spent time curating your New Year's resolutions, so I've spent time creating a list of nine bucket list items meant solely for a wine lover to enjoy this winter.
1. Make Mulled Wine
Red wine, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and a little bit of orange zest make for the perfect cold weather drink. I first fell in love with mulled wine when visiting Prague. Walking around dozens of Christmas markets was a chilly affair, and a freshly brewed cup of warm wine was an absolute lifesaver. When I got back to America, I immediately needed to track down a recipe or a local happy hour with such a thing.
You can spend a snowy day brewing up this lovely liquor in a slow cooker or make it for a cozy night in with friends and your favorite film. Wine lovers all around will be feeling a little cozier after just one sip.
2. Make A Cork Craft
Warning: You might need to drink up before completing this DIY wine-lovers activity. Maybe you already collect your corks or just have a few laying around from that holiday party last week — either way, there are a ton of ways you can transform your wine stoppers into something crafty.
Take a hot glue gun and make a new set of coasters for your glasses. Have a cork tucked away from that special bottle you had while on vacation last summer? Start filling up a shadowbox with your most special wine stoppers or create a key chain for your keys so you can take that memory with you.
3. Retreat 'Yo Self
The new year always calls for a little soul searching, so why not sip while you do it? Some say wine and cheese are an unstoppable duo, but vino and vinyasa may be the new perfect pair.
You can find whole new levels of zen at one of many wine and yoga retreats around the world. Pack your mat and get away for a weekend of wine and wellness. They say drinking a glass of red wine a day is great for your health — but why stop there? Yoga retreats can be great for expanding your social circle and your mind — and focusing on the flavors will truly keep you centered. Namaste.
4. Buy A Cozy Winter Sweater For Your Bottle
You shopped for your besties and brothers, but what about your favorite bottle? Your most reliable riesling deserves the best and to be bundled up for the cold weather (or fridges) ahead. Hit the stores one more time to buy your bottle a wine sweater, and wonder if there's anything as cute as a dressed-up cabernet.
5. Visit An Indoor Winery
Your favorite wineries aren't entirely closed when the cold weather comes around. Sure, you might not be able to stroll through the vineyard and get that adventurous Instagram shot, but many spots will still host tastings or have cozy places to post up for the day. Let the grape times roll.
6. Learn About Pairing
Becoming a connoisseur is low key every wine lover's dream. There's an art to pairing the perfect bottle with a seafood plate or finding a flavor that will truly elevate that slice of Asiago cheese. Whether you find some time to take a class or just hit the books in the pursuit of buying a better bottle next time you're at the grocery store, winter is the perfect time to learn about what you love.
7. Netflix And Wine
Winter is here, Jon Snow. A chill night in will never be overrated. Sometimes after a long day, a glass of wine and some reruns are the perfect cure, no matter what the weather brings on. Although it may not be the most exciting item on your bucket list, take a night to get cozy on the couch and enjoy a classic wine night.
8. Uncork Your Inner Picasso
Paint me like one of your French wines. You don't have to be an artist to hit up a local wine and paint spot. With instructors guiding you through each brushstroke, you'll have a picture worth framing by the end of the night — and a nice buzz.
9. Jet Off To Enjoy A Fine Wine Destination
May the wine be with you wherever you go. Take a vino vacation if you're straight-up bummed by your average bottle or could use a break from your boss. Hop on a plane and jet set to the wine wonders of the world: Italy, California, Spain, or France. You'll come back more refreshed, cultured, and happy that you got to enjoy the finer things in life — even post-holidays.