Judy Scarrow, owner of Hops and Vines U-Brew in 100 Mile House.

Time to Wine: 5 ways to make the most of your holiday pours

Start now to save money and boost flavour for your seasonal celebrations

Christmas might still be a few months away, but if wine will be part of your celebrations, there’s no time like the present.

While Nov. 15 is the deadline to have put your U-brew wines on for the holidays, with a little more time, they’ll be even nicer, explains Judy Scarrow, owner of Hops and Vines U-Brew in 100 Mile House.

So whether you’re new to bottling your own wine, or would like a few fresh pours for the holidays, here are a few ideas … and a little inspiration!

Give it time: Wines are available in three different tiers, requiring between five and eight weeks. The longer fermentation times typically offer a higher juice content for a little more robust flavour, but some of the shorter wines offer some very nice flavours, notes Scarrow, who is versed in each variety to ensure she can guide clients in their choices. “I won’t sell it if it’s not good enough,” she says.

With red wines, it’s particularly important to allow enough time to fully develop the flavour.

What kind of wines do you enjoy? Sweet or dry? Oaked or unoaked? “I have probably 50 different varieties of wines to choose from and can adapt them to your taste. I ask people what kind of wine they usually pick up from the liquor store, and I can help guide them to the right wine to try,” Scarrow says.

Like fashion and food, wines also follow trends, “and pinot grigios are trending like crazy right now.”

Entertaining ideas: With holiday entertaining and New Year’s celebrations also on the calendar, bubbly is a popular option this time of year, Scarrow notes. While white wines are typically the go-to favourite for carbonation, more people are experimenting with reds as well, especially a sparkling pinot noir. If you’re planning a larger event, U-bottle wines can be a real cost-saving solution, and until the end of September, Hops & Vines offers 10-per-cent-off their World Vineyard Wine Kits.

Perfect for gift-giving: At Hops & Vines, wine selection reaches beyond the standard reds and whites, to more specialty varieties like ports and ice wines, which can be ideal options for gift-giving, Scarrow says. Other clients like to join with friends to take home a variety of wines. Three people each bottling a different kind of wine will net each person 30 bottles – 10 of each kind. You could do a white, a red and a bubbly to take you through the entire holiday season!

New Year, new wines: The New Year isn’t the end of winter wine-brewing season; in fact, it’s just the beginning! Scarrow will be taking orders starting Sept. 27 for the popular January limited edition wines – three reds and two whites that will come out between January and April.

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Hops and Vines U-Brew has been serving 100 Mile House area residents since 1991. If you’re in the market for a new opportunity, the bustling local business is currently for sale – email hopsandvines@shaw.ca or call the store at 250-395-2565 for details.

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