The holidays are among us, which means party season is in full swing. Family gatherings, dinner parties with friends, New Year's Eve celebrations, you name it. If you're hosting any of these festivities, you most likely have your list of stresses to deal with regarding the food, drinks, and decorations. But if there are parties that you're simply RSVP'ing "yes" to, the extent of your worries probably comes down to picking out a bottle of wine that won't break the bank but will impress a room full of people.
If you're trying to branch out from bringing a bottle of Barefoot or Sutter Home to your party but are finding yourself on a tight budget this year, don't worry, we've got you covered. We talked with three expert sommeliers to get their personal choices for delicious, crowd-pleasing bottles of wine that are all under $20, including options for white, red, sparkling, and even orange.
Read on to find your next sommelier-approved holiday wine. We've listed the price of each bottle for you, but depending on which shop you're buying from, these prices may go up or down by a few dollars. And if you need even more bang for your buck, check out our recent Boxed Wine Taste Test.
Sparkling & Orange
Scheuermann Vin de Soda NV—$20
Our first sommelier is Georges Kalligeros, who has worked in popular Paris wine bars and restaurants such as Liquiderie, La Quincave, and Le Rubis, and is now lending his French natural wine expertise at D-I Wine. Kalligeros' pick for an affordable sparkling wine for the holidays is the Vin De Soda from Scheuermann Winery.
"My cardinal rule is to step away from the conventional mass-produced Proseccos and Cavas and opt for wines from lesser-known regions, like this dry biodynamic Riesling from Pfalz in Germany," says Kalligeros.
He describes the Scheuermann Vin de Soda as being "akin to a soda in its thirst-quenching qualities. You'll be genuinely surprised at how quickly the bottle disappears after what feels like just a glass. Notes of Granny Smith apples, citrus peel, and a touch of brioche on the nose make for refreshing fizzy fun!"
Grape Abduction Company Orange 2022—$18.99
Most traditional wine bottles are around 750 milliliters in size, but Kalligeros says that when you're heading to a party, why not bring something even bigger? The Grape Abduction Company Orange Wine—one of Kalligeros' suggestions—is a full liter in size and nothing short of delicious.
"Hailing from Štajerska, Slovakia, this blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling undergoes skin maceration, resulting in a captivating amber hue," he says. "The nose is clean and offers nuanced honeyed aromatics—think mango, cinnamon apples, and cloves beautifully complementing a subtle smokiness on the palate."
Kalligeros adds, "For those seeking affordable orange wines, keep an eye out for selections from Central and Eastern European countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, and Hungary."
Dignitat Cava Seleccio Brut—$14
"This one is fresh and dry, but with enough fruit to enjoy on its own or with a variety of hors d'oeuvres," says Weitzenhoffer. "It's also light enough for holiday brunches or to use in a spritz."
Gruet Blanc de Blanc—$16.99
If you don't already follow our next sommelier on TikTok or Instagram, you should. Audrey Wayne, a level III sommelier who goes by The Single Somm, has a few expert suggestions for how to impress a holiday crowd on a budget this year.
Her first pick the Gruet Blanc de Blancs, is a sparkling wine that usually retails between $13-$17.
"It's made exclusively with Chardonnay grapes instead of the traditional blend and it's only $1 more than the standard Brut, which is also delicious," says Wayne.
Chateau Simian Jeu De Rolle Blanc 2020—$16.99
If you're bringing a white wine to the party, Kalligeros suggests steering clear of heavily oaked varieties, and instead "opting for wines that are crisp and invigorating."
His pick for a crisp white would be the Chateau Simian Jeu De Rolle Blanc 2020, which is made from "Vermentino (also called Rolle), which is an underrated grape that punches above its weight."
"This wine is produced by Chateau Simian, a biodynamic domaine in the southern Rhone. Jeu de Rolle (a clever play on words, meaning 'role-play' in French while revealing the grape varietal) unveils subtle notes of pink grapefruit, zesty lime, and green almonds mixed with mineral notes of gun flint. The palate is vibrant and is characterized by lively citrus notes, where zesty lemons and tangy grapefruits take center stage, complemented by distinctive salty undertones," says Kalligeros.
Domaine Labbe Abymes Vin de' Savoie 2021—$18
For only $18, Weitzenhoffer recommends picking up a bottle of Domaine Labbe Abymes Vin de' Savoie 2021, a great white wine choice for your next holiday party.
"Light-bodied, crisp, and mineral-driven, this wine is a refreshing aperitif or a fantastic accompaniment to cheese boards, smoked fish, or charcuterie," says Weitzenhoffer.
Rémi Dufaitre Beaujolais Nouveau 2023—$19.99
Moving on to the reds, Kalligeros swears by the Rémi Dufaitre Beaujolais Nouveau, "which is meant to be enjoyed in its youth due to its fresh and joyful qualities, and will always over-deliver at parties."
"My favorite go-to Beaujolais Nouveau year in and year out is the Rémi Dufaitre," says Kalligeros. "Made in a carbonic maceration style that contributes to its fruitiness, it bursts with abundant cherries and strawberries, delivering a zippy and light-on-its-feet elegance. An ultimate thirst quencher, you might contemplate the wisdom of bringing two bottles next time!"
Domaine Grande Bellane Cotes du Rhone 2021—$17
If you want a red that is somewhere in between a light and full-bodied wine to please a wide variety of guests, Weitzenhoffer suggests Domaine Grande Bellane Cotes du Rhone, which retails around $17 per bottle.
"This red wine is medium-bodied but with enough concentration to accompany stews and hearty winter fare, and its soft tannins make it a crowd-pleasing party choice," says Weitzenhoffer.
Shannon Ridge High Elevation Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2021—$13.99
If you're looking for a red wine that party guests can enjoy with a decadent holiday meal, Weitzenhoffer recommends buying the Shannon Ridge High Elevation Collection Cabernet Sauvignon.
He says, "Medium-bodied with classic Cabernet notes of cedar and baking spice backed by fine tannins, this delicious red wine pairs well with steak or lamb."
Allegrini Pallazzo Della Torre—$17.99
Wayne tells us that the perfect go-to red wine for a crowd of different palates would be something like the Pallazzo Della Torre from Allegrini.
She loves this choice "because it feels big and bold like a cab but is actually a little more reserved, making it better for food and more intriguing for those who may prefer lighter reds as well," says Wayne.