Wine Holidays: 18 (Sort of) Official Excuses to Pop More Corks Slideshow
May 24, 2017
If it’s Chardonnay Day, Lambrusco Day can’t be far behind
Wine Holidays: 18 (Sort of) Official Excuses to Pop More Corks
The calendar is well-stocked with food and drink holidays of every kind, including those that honor wine.
Global Drink Wine Day, February 18
I despair of a world in which a single day has to be set aside to encourage people to drink wine, but, hey, it’s better than Global Drink Diet Soda Day, I guess. This all-encompassing wine holiday is apparently the initiative of one Brad Morley and his Nashville-based Cana Wine Co., which calls itself “the premier buyer and seller of fine wines in North America.” It seems to have started sometime in the past three or four years.
Malbec World Day, April 17
International Sauvignon Blanc Day, April 24 (or maybe May 5)
Some sources give the date of this holiday as the former, but Wine Marlborough, a group of producers in New Zealand’s sauvignon-blanc-producing Marlborough region, lauds the grape during “16 Days of Sauvignon,” leading up to a final bash on the first Friday in May — May 5 in 2017.
National Chardonnay Day, Thursday before Memorial Day (May 25 in 2017)
This holiday is the invention of one Rick Bakas, whose Twitter profile identifies him as “Husband/Dad/Connector/Former NIKE brand guy/Creator of Oregon Ducks brand/Founder of [the] #cannabis site…weedhorn.com.” (Nothing like a nice buttery, oaky chardonnay to smooth out that smoky harshness in the throat.) Bakas is widely credited with having invented the whole idea of wine holidays of this kind when he kicked off this one in 2010 (though a few do predate it).
National Wine Day, May 25
Nobody seems to know very much about this holiday, neither when or by whom it was founded, or why anybody thought it was necessary, given that Drink Wine Day already existed — and what else would you do with wine besides drink it?
Carignan Day, June 8 (?)
A French-based German winemaker named Sebastian Nickel established this tribute to the sturdy, abundantly producing carignan grape in 2012, choosing that year’s Leap Day, February 29, for the occasion. Subsequently, a group called Carignan Renaissance — which hosts an annual Choc des Titans (“Clash of Titans”) pitting wines made from carignan against those made from grenache, a grape honored later in the year — moved it to June 8. Last year, however, it migrated to October 27. There is no word yet on this year’s date.
National Rosé Day, second Saturday in June (June 11 in 2017)
Rosé is widely considered to be the definitive wine of summer, which might lead you to believe that somebody would choose to honor it in November. In this case, though, they got the season right — “they” being a Swedish firm called Bodvár, which brands spirits, cigars, and wine. They established this holiday in 2014, apparently largely to promote their own Côtes-de-Provence rosé.
World Lambrusco Day, the vernal equinox (June 21 in 2017)
Lore & Guille/Wikimedia Commons
This acknowledgement of the oft-maligned but sometimes really good frizzante (lightly sparkling) red wine from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region was created by wine importer James Koch in 2011 "as a logical extension of the Lambrusco Revolution (1994-2010)…." The kickoff dinner celebrating the day was held in Los Angeles on May 17, but the occasion is now pegged to the first day of summer each year.
National Albariño Day, August 1
This observance was designated, counterintuitively, by a group called TAPAS, which stands for “Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Society.” Other than sharing Spanish nationality, tempranillo and albariño (the perfect complement to lobster rolls, by the way) don’t have much in common, but this does seem like a neighborly gesture. The day is timed to correspond to that of an annual albariño festival in the Galician town of Cambados.
National Pinot Noir Day, August 18
Whose idea was this day, and when did they have it? Nobody seems to know. Pinot noir fanatics, who are legion, don’t care.
International Cabernet Day, Thursday before Labor Day (September 3 in 2017)
Another one from husband/dad/weed evangelist Rick Bakas — who also does media relations for a number of American and Australian wineries — dating, like his Chardonnay Day, from 2010.
International Grenache Day, September 15
This tribute to the wonderful grenache grape was thought up in 2009 by — who else? — France’s Grenache Association.
Beaujolais Nouveau Day, third Thursday in November (November 16 in 2017)
This one’s a big deal, with an official provenance, its date fixed by the French government. It’s the day on which each year’s Beaujolais Nouveau — fresh, bright wine just made from that year’s grapes and meant to be drunk before year’s end — is released (at 12:01 a.m.). The occasion is said to be the world’s largest annual wine celebration. There are about 120 events on the occasion around France, many of them in the Beaujolais region, and it is said that some 65 million bottles of the stuff are consumed worldwide in one 24-hour period.
International Merlot Day, November 7
International Tempranillo Day, second Thursday in November (November 12 in 2017)
Mick Stephenson/Wikimedia Commons
National Zinfandel Day, November 19
This holiday is the doing of ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers), which describes itself as a “non-profit, educational organization…dedicated to advancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history.” Like so many other wine holidays, it seems to date from 2010.
International Carménère Day, November 24
A once-obscure Bordeaux blending grape, carménère was “discovered” in the early 1990s growing all over Chile’s wine country, where it had long been misidentified as merlot. It quickly became the country’s distinctive red variety — the Chilean equivalent to Argentina’s malbec (and Uruguay’s tannat, for that matter), if you will. This day in the grape’s honor was decreed in 2014, on the twentieth anniversary of its reemergence, by the trade organization Wines of Chile.
Cabernet Franc Day, December 4
Though Cabernet Day (see above) doesn’t specify cabernet sauvignon as its honoree, many wine lovers apparently assume that it does. Thus some aficionados of that grape’s cousin, cabernet franc, thought that it deserved its own observance. The culprits here were apparently Mike and Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines in Arroyo Grande, California, who chose the date (in 2015?) because it marks the anniversary of the death of Cardinal Richelieu, the seventeenth-century cleric and power broker who is believed to have transported cuttings of the grape from southwestern France to the Loire Valley, where it became the major red variety.