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Holiday Traditions in Wine Country: Winemaker's Recipes

Conviviality comes naturally in Napa Valley. After all, uncorking a bottle of wine is an effortless way to unite people.

For winemaking families in Napa Valley devoted to creating world-class wines, the holidays are a perfect time to gather with friends and loved ones. And, of course, each wine family celebrates in their way, with treasured wines, heirloom recipes and beloved traditions that make the celebration truly theirs.

We asked some of our favorite Napa Valley vintners to share a glimpse of their holiday celebrations, and the recipes that go with them.

Halloween with The Vice

Halloween isn’t just about dressing up and handing out candy for co-owners of The Vice Malek Amrani and Torie Greenburg — it’s all about orange! With hues from pale gold to copper, their orange wines are ideal for the Halloween dinner of orange cuisine that they host. Malek, who’s originally from Casablanca, always makes a Moroccan dish of carrots seasoned with cumin, garlic and parsley that’s perfect with the Viognier. Get the recipe >>

Thanksgiving with Staglin Family Vineyard

While Shari and Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard have called Rutherford home for nearly 40 years, when it comes to Thanksgiving, they return to their middle-American roots—with a California twist. To offer a little lightness alongside the mashed potatoes, bread stuffing and turkey, Shannon Staglin drizzles Meyer lemon vinaigrette over a hearty salad of bitter greens like escarole and frisée, fuyu persimmons and pomegranate seeds from the family’s tree. Get the recipe >>

Hanukkah with Judd's Hill

Judd Finklestein’s late father, Art, was close friends with Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Napa Valley’s beloved Terra restaurant. Art taught Hiro how to make these latkes and Hiro liked them so much he put them on the menu and included in their cookbook. Judd continues the tradition of sharing this family recipe at his annual Hanukkah Hootenanny. Whether topped with sour cream or applesauce, the rich, crisp and salty potato pancakes are perfect with the Judd’s Hill Sauvignon Blanc. Get the recipe >>

Christmas Dinner with Rombauer Vineyards

When it comes to holiday meal traditions at Rombauer Vineyards, the winemaking team goes all out. Andrew Holloway, associate winemaker at Rombauer Vineyards, concocted the idea of a pre-Christmas beef Wellington dinner tradition with Richie Allen, vice president of viticulture and winemaking, and Luke Clayton, their winemaker. Between them, the team has worked together for more than 30 years. In the weeks before Christmas, they gather with their families and enjoy this proper British dish. Holloway has perfected his technique for searing the tenderloin, prepping it with Dijon mustard and mushroom duxelles, then wrapping it in prosciutto and puff pastry. Get the recipe >>

New Year's Eve with Boisset Collection

Gina Gallo-Boisset and Jean-Charles Boisset host a glittering, immersive celebration at Wappo Hill, their historic home named for the bravery, strength and wisdom of the founding people of Napa. The pool room, surrounded by windows overlooking the valley, is the setting for a multi-course European-American dinner that includes Gallo-Boisset’s family lasagna or lobster ravioli and winged fowl such as quail. Each course is served with two wines from Boisset Collection, including the JCB No. 0, a brilliant blanc de blanc sparkling wine sourced from Napa Valley. 

Nowruz with Darioush

The moment when grapevine buds break open is a welcome sign of spring in Napa Valley. But for Darioush Khaledi, his wife Shahpar and other natives of Iran, the most exciting part of springtime is Nowruz. Celebrated on March 20 on the Persian calendar, this ancient tradition celebrates the return of longer days as the triumph of good over evil. On the dinner table, the traditional Nowruz dishes are whitefish adorned with dill and a Tahdig, or herbed basmati rice with a crispy topping. Get the recipe >>