You probably need little excuse to open a bottle of your favorite wine be it a varietal, blend, sweet, or dry. However, you may need an excuse to drink a rich red in sweltering July and Champagne when you do not officially have a reason to celebrate.
The following celebration days taking place throughout the year will give you all the excuses you need to pull the cork on everything from Albariño to Zinfandel.
The Wine Celebration Almanac 2021
Perhaps thankfully considering the indulgences of the not-so-distant holidays, it is hard to find any celebration days for wine at the start of the year. Maybe it is better that it stays this way as this lack is more than made up for in the months to come.
1st of February: International Furmint Day
Acidic, fresh, and spicy, Hungarian varietal Furmint is a lovely dry wine that goes well with sushi and herby poultry. Furmint hails from the Tokaj region in Hungary.
13th March: Riesling Day
So marked for the anniversary of the first mention of Riesling in German wine tracts back in 1435 (an invoice to be precise), this versatile grape comes in a range of styles. In Germany, there are Kabinett (dry to off-dry), Spätlese (sweet), Auslese (sweeter), Beerenauslese (very sweet), and Trockenbeerenauslese (super sweet). In nearby Alsace in France, the style of this variety tends to be dry.
6th of April: National Viognier Day
Falling under the heading of aromatic grape varieties, Viognier has hints of apricot, peach, florals, and ginger. The best styles have a good acidic balance to their warm, fruity notes. The Rhône in France is its home where it is the sole varietal in Condrieu. Elsewhere, Viognier is cultivated in North and South American wine regions as well as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Israel.
17th of April: Malbec World Day
A wine that has put Argentinean winemaking firmly on the map in the past 30 years, Malbec is fruity and smooth with a wonderful array of styles depending on where it is made. It may come as a surprise to learn that Malbec originally comes from Cahors in southwest France where its style is leathery, tart, and tannic with black plum notes.
1st Friday: International Sauvignon Blanc Day
Much-loved and widely planted, Bordeaux and the Loire valley especially are the homes of Sauvignon Blanc where wines are acidic, herbaceous, and citrus notes are admired. New Zealand also has a signature style for Sauvignon Blanc where it boasts rich tropical flavors, brilliant acidity, and its tell-tale grassy tones. Cheers!
9th of May: National Moscato Day
In the USA, this is the day the spotlight shines on Moscato. Light and gently sweet with floral notes, this Italian grape is produced in still and sparkling styles and pairs well with light desserts.
21 – National Mourvèdre Day
A powerful red cultivated in France’s Rhône and Provence, the Valencia and Jumilla Denominación de Origens in Spain, California, and Washington wine regions, Australia’s South Australia and New South Wales regions, and South Africa. Mourvèdre, also known as Mataro and Monastrell, is tannic with delicious savory notes of game and gentle, soft fruit. It can stand alone or work in a blend.
National Wine Day 2021
Date: 25th of May
No need to get specific here, enjoy a glass of your favorite wine and have an excuse to drink wine on a weekday. National Wine Day is one of our favorites because of that reason.
USA Thursday before Memorial Day – National Chardonnay Day
One of the most popular if not the most popular wine in the world, Chardonnay is planted all over the world colorfully expressing itself in a range of delicious styles depending on climate and winemaking techniques. For its special day, you can sip a glass of bone-dry, acidic Chablis from Burgundy in France, or a California Napa Valley style with a full body and tropical fruit notes. Then there is oaked and unoaked Chardonnay and American and French oak. Unoaked Chardonnay has a fruit-forward profile while American oaked has spicy, buttery, vanilla hints and French oak adds lean cedar tones. One thing is for sure, you have plenty of styles of Chardonnay to try from all over the world (really it should be National Chardonnay Week!).
1st Saturday – USA National Bubbly Day
Summer is here which is a good enough reason to pop open a bottle of bubbly. The question is, what kind of bubbly? There is quite a range of sparkling wines from around the world all produced in different ways to get those magic bubbles. Will it be a light and lively, peachy Prosecco with hints of cream? Or a medium-bodied, zesty Spanish Cava with baked apple hints and nutty notes? How about a mineral-rich, acidic, lightly fruity German Sekt? We’ll leave Champagne for now because it has its own day but there are scores of gorgeous Crémant wines from around France that are made in the same refined way as the signature bubbly, but boasting different taste profiles and levels of acidity (and often lower prices!).
Another choice is English sparkling wine. Made with the French traditional method, its orchard fruit and brioche notes have been winning it prizes all over the globe. Californian sparkling wines have also been turning heads for their unique and creative take on bubbles.
We cannot forget the rosy-hued sparkling wines either. Italy in particular has a range of pretty red bubblies like sweet and floral Brachetto d’Acqui, or the black-fruit forward Lambrusco Rosso Dolce.
You can find exciting sparkling wines from wine regions in just about every country. National Bubbly Day gives you the perfect excuse to try something entirely new and unexpected.
11 – USA National Rosé Wine Day
There must be a lot of love for rosé as it gets not one but three celebrations days a year: June 11th and August 14th in the USA and, internationally, the 4th Friday of June. When you consider how many styles of rosé wines there are, it is no wonder you need three pops at honoring it.
Rosé wines range from almost colorless in hue (think Provence) to red-pink styles. This refreshing summertime wine comes in dry, off-dry, and sweet styles that can be made from Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Grenache, or Cabernet Sauvignon. The depth of color depends on the grape and the length of time it spends in skin contact long enough to give it a pinky color, but not long enough to make an all-out red.
15 – Chenin Blanc Day
Chenin Blanc is produced in dry, off-dry, and late-harvest styles with the central Loire Valley and South Africa especially well-known for making sumptuous high-acid, full-bodied orchard fruit, and ripe, gingery types. This is a lovely early summer wine so get some in stock to celebrate.
4th Friday – International Rosé Day
See June 11th!
1st week – Sparkling Wine Week
Someone had their thinking cap on when they dedicated an entire week to sparkling wine. See June 1st for inspiration.
22 – Shiraz Day
Known as Shiraz in New World wine-producing countries like Australia, Chile, America’s California wine region, and South Africa, this varietal is a big, bold, jammy, deep red often oaked with ripe tannins. If you prefer a more restrained style, pick up French Syrah. It is exactly the same grape with a different name and leaner, more acidic style.
1 – National Albariño Day. People also celebrate Days 1-5.
In the USA, August 1st marks the party day for Albariño (and some wine lovers even extend it until the 5th). A fresh, dry wine with citrus and peach aromas, this grape comes from Rías Baixas in northwest Spain and is perfect for the heat of August.
4 – National White Wine Day
Loads of scope for August 4th as it is time to celebrate all white wines, sweet, off-dry, dry, oaked, unoaked, full-bodied, or lean. While you no doubt have a few favorite white varietals, this day marks the perfect time to try something new. How about a white blend?
13 – National Prosecco Day
The world loves Prosecco, and the USA is one of its biggest markets. Take a look at the first Saturday in June and the first week in July for ideas or you could get a few bottles of this favorite lovely ready in your wine rack.
14 – National Rosé Wine Day
Take a peek at June 11th to get some ideas or try this Californian rosé made with a Spanish grape.
18 – National Pinot Noir Day
Another USA-focused wine celebration day, the wine calendar would not be complete without Pinot Noir. Oregon has fast made a name for itself for its light, acidic Pinot Noirs and they are excellent value for money. If you want to try the original Pinot Noir without breaking the bank, this wine from Burgundy is a good entry-level example typical of the French lean and dry style.
28 – National Red Wine Day
Where there is a National White Wine Day, there is a National Red Wine Day. The USA celebrates this at the end of summer and, again, is the chance to try a new style alongside your go-to red. This blend features six varietals and has impressed critics around the world.
USA Thursday before Labor Day – International Cabernet Sauvignon Day
The world’s most planted grape appearing on just about every continent, Cabernet Sauvignon is bold, and black fruit-forward with muscular tannins. Try a full-bodied style featuring violets and cigar hints with excellent aging potential from Bordeaux or a big, juicy, chocolatey style from California’s Napa Valley.
3rd Friday – International Grenache Day
Spicy, peppery, red and black fruit-forward Grenache can stand alone in a varietal wine and also shines in many blends where it adds juicy qualities. We recommend you try both kinds and also look out for Garnacha when you are stocking up. One of the most famous Grenache regions is Châteauneuf-du-Pape where you find varietals and blends. Garnacha is the same grape with a different name and found in Spain where it is dry, rich, and tannic.
6 – National Orange Wine Day
Orange wine is some of the most interesting out there. Thankfully, it is in focus in the USA every October. Made from white varietals but in the fashion of red wine (loads of skin contact), it has an orange hue, a lovely texture, richer body, and light nutty tones. Made all over the world from different white varieties, today is the day to try Orange wine if you are new to this style.
2nd Saturday – International Pinotage Day
A cross between Pinot noir and Cinsault, Pinotage is South Africa’s flagship red. It is dark with deep blackberry, plum, and bramble tones with a touch of smoke. Just delicious.
4th Friday – World Champagne Day
Now is the time to break out the Champagne, and by that, we mean the bubbly from the namesake region in France, the only on in the world that can take this name. Light citrus, almond, and signature bready tones all wrapped up in a fine, persistent mousse is the profile of a good Champagne. They do not have to hurt your wallet either. A good entry-level Champagne has a lot to offer while the higher-end options are ideal for that special occasion.
Last Thursday – International Carignan Day
Never tried Carignan? If not, it is about time you sampled this light, rustic, ripe tannic red. For a more concentrated taste, go for old vine (vieilles vignes) Carignan.
1 – Xinomavro Day
Often called the “Barolo of Greece,” for its dark cherry, allspice, licorice, and light tomato notes, exception high-tannin, medium-acidity Xinomavro is the pride of the Naoussa region.
7 – International Merlot Day
We love Merlot for its full body and herby, blackberry flavors. Often layered with vanilla and chocolate notes, it is powerful but has soft tannins. It is planted all over the Old and New Worlds so there are plenty of styles for you to try.
2nd Thursday – International Tempranillo Day
Well-structured and bursting with fruit, Spain’s Rioja is made from the vibrant Tempranillo grape and packs a punch whether it is Joven, Crianza, Reserva, or Gran Reserva. Oak aging increases with each category as does this wine’s power.
3rd Wednesday – National Zinfandel Day
Deep, spicy, juicy, and powerful, Zinfandel often has rich coffee and chocolate notes and, the longer it ages, leathery, tobacco tones too. It is less famously known as Primitivo in Italy where it is delightfully rustic and medium-bodied with figs and black fruit throughout.
3rd Thursday – Beaujolais Noveau Day
When you see the bright, colorful labels on Beaujolais, you know it is the season for limited-edition Beaujolais Noveau. A lighter, fruiter version of its cousin, Beaujolais, it is made from the Gamay varietal and is very young – bottled only 6 to 8 weeks following harvest. Easy-drinking and fun for the dark depths of November.
24 – International Carménère Day
Originally from France but now most widely planted in Chile, Carménère is dry and medium to full-bodied in style with dark fruit, leather, and tobacco aromas. Again, just the thing for the dark depths of November.
4 – Cabernet Franc Day
Cultivated across the globe, Cabernet Franc is full of finesse with peppery cassis and raspberry and bell pepper tones. It is a fine monovarietal wine and also serves well in blends, especially in Bordeaux.
31 – National Champagne Day
See October 4th!
These wine celebration days should keep your palate busy but if you want more, do not forget May 16th is National Mimosa Day, Lambrusco Day on June 21st, and Sangria Day on December 20th. Cheers to you!