The Holiday season is always very special for Wine is Life. Well, every day is kind of special for Wine is Life, what with the Five O’Clock Ping Pong Tournament, New TShirt Design Day, and our daily tastings, but we kind of ramp it up into high gear between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. So many lovely Wine is Life gifts to ship and so little time.
One of the things that we generally make time for is a quick jaunt to one of our favorite spots in the United States: Grapevine, Texas. Located just outside of Dallas and convenient to the airport, with a name like “Grapevine” it seemed a natural go-to destination for the Wine is Life team to do some bonding. And every year they host the Grapevine Christmas Wine Train. They have a vintage railroad down there in Texas (and we like that they refer to the train in “Grapevine” as “vintage”), and partner up with Su Vino Winery and D’Vine Winery to provide visitors with a little liquid cheer during the season. You get wine, they run seminars right there on the train, and Santa comes to visit. Pretty cool.
But anyway, we start getting cheery right after Turkey Day. It starts with the singing. “I’m Dreaming of a White Vintage,” “Here Comes Santa Cork,” and “The Twelve Bottles of Christmas” are a few of our favorites.
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me;
A bottle of imported Chenin Blanc.
And we drank it.”
It sort of makes sense that we would sing that one. We do order Wine is Life libations by the case, and that’s twelve bottles. But we have to re-order and start the song over by about day three each year. But that’s another blog.
One of the things that gets us really in the mood is making gifts for our annual Wine is Life Office Party. We used to buy little gag gifts, but one year everybody got one of those singing fish that hangs on the wall. Creeps us all out, so we decided to do something eco-friendly with the empties from singing Christmas carols. The first person to start it was one of the guys in Varietals. Every year his aunt gives him a hideous sweater, so he just cut all of the sleeves off of them and made “Bottle Warmers.” Keeps your wine very toasty and helps cushion the blow if you drop a bottle.
One of the girls in The Cellar brought everybody wreathes one year. She made them by gluing corks together and adding little plastic berries and sprigs of pine. We found it was easier and less liver-damaging to make a simple one by stringing together about a dozen corks. It’s very much like making popcorn garland. Cork, berry, cork, berry, cork, berry…then tie them in a circle. We hear that they last longer if you suck all of the wine out of the corks first.
Okay, we said that, but let’s keep it a secret.
Mark from Goblets and Carafes made us all lights last year. It was really easy. He took a short string of plain, white holiday lights, carefully threaded them into a bottle, and just plugged the sucker in. You can get fancy and run several strings together, make them flash and flicker, and get a real holiday disco going. We’ve found that plain white lights work the best, though. The colored lights get sort of lost behind the greens and browns of many bottles. And the old-fashioned bulb lights won’t fit into the neck of a bottle. We found that out the hard way.
Alice over in Shipping and Slurping get really crafty in 2007. She lined up dozens of bottles and spray painted them white. Before the paint had a chance to dry, she rolled them in Epsom salts. Really. It made them look super-frosty, and plopping a simple candle into the neck made them great for a centerpiece. We suppose that you could buy glitter, but we’re pretty frugal. And kosher salt would seem to work, but we save that for Cinco de Mayo and our Margarita Festival.
One of our favorites has remained a Wine is Life mystery. We walked into the office on Black Friday 2003 and found an 8-foot Christmas tree made of wine bottles. It was carefully constructed with a 4 by 4 trunk, a million coathangers, and what seemed like hundreds of empty wine bottles. You can stack up empties using cheap cardboard or pressboard disks, like the ones they use for those little side tables, but we kind of liked ours.
It does not, unfortunately, hold a candle to Heineken Tree constructed in Shanghai, but that’s a beer bottle tree. We’re wine people.