Christmas will soon be upon us and it’s high time you started thinking about your drinks cabinet and your wine cellar! You might not be a big wine buff, but the season demands it of you, especially if you’re going to be hosting and going to a few seasonal parties. Bottles of wine also double up as last-minute gifts, so make sure you buy in a good selection to suit a range of tastes and occasions.

You’ll need, at minimum, a sweet white, a dry white, an oaky version and a sparkling white. In the red corner you’ll need a spicier selection, as well as a lighter red and also a good all-rounder for mulling.

The Christmas lunch itself

For this great occasion, you should pick a joyful-looking bright red to match the holly berries and the poinsettia. On the other hand, if you’re after taste rather than appearance, you could do much worse than pick a Grenache or a Syrrah to add spice and depth to the meal. For later on in the day, when people are picking at leftovers and treats, you can indulge in a Dolcetto to make a change.

In the morning, or with canapés

If you’ve been up with the kids since 5.00am, then surely by 11.00am you can have a little pick-me-up, right? Ideally you should choose a wine with lower alcohol content, like a sweeter Riesling. Make sure you sip a small glass, though! You could also sip at a Sauvignon alongside some smoked salmon and rye bread. There’s also Muscadet, which goes really well with both salty and sweet (or salty-sweet) snacks.

Pudding wines

Here’s where you bust out the dessert wines – those syrupy, glass-coating amber-colored tipples so beloved by the oldsters. A small, fancy-looking glass is perfect here, as too much sweetness can be, well, too much! You could also try ice wine. This wine is made from frozen grapes, as the freezing process separates the water from the sugars and other flavoring compounds, leading to a sweet, concentrated wine that’s just perfect for pud!