Holiday shopping is stressful enough, so pick your wines with these simple, smart tips.

1. Buy By The Case


Finding good wine and then socking away a case of it (typically 12 bottles) saves money, as many wine shops offer case discounts of around 10 to 15 percent. It also saves trips to the store. »

2. Look For Wine Screw Caps


More and more excellent wines are being sealed with screw caps to prevent corkiness (a problem with natural corks that produces a wet cardboard–like smell in a small percentage of wines). Screw-capped wines are especially handy for large parties, because they’re easy to open quickly. »

3. Select Food-Friendly Wines


Big holiday meals tend to involve multiple side dishes, which puts a lot of competing flavors on the table. Well-balanced wines that aren’t too extreme (not wildly sweet, not wildly tannic, etc.) are the most versatile when it comes to pairing. Good choices include Pinot Noir, American Rhône-style blends, Austrian Grüner Veltliner and dry Rieslings from Germany. »

4. Pick Affordable Sparkling Wines

Pick Affordable Sparkling Wines

Celebratory alternatives to pricey Champagne include cava from Spain and Prosecco from Italy, among others. »

5. Use Terrific $12-and-Under Wines for Punch


Seek out inexpensive wines that would be equally delicious in a bowl of punch or on their own. There are wonderful $12-and-under bottles available these days, particularly from Spain and South America. »