Every winter, a certain cadre of my brilliant readers clamor for advice on how to navigate the holiday season without getting fat or going broke. They remember arriving in Sonoma both thin and rich and now desire a Christmas just like the ones they used to know. Ha-ha-ha. I mean, Ho-ho-ho.
Here’s how to avoid holiday weight gain – forgo food entirely and subsist entirely on wine. The average human can survive 28 days without food, whereas the average Sonoman will last only a weekend without wine. Ergo, I suggest that Sonomans drink only wine for the next 28 days. This will keep you lean and mean (and drunk) through the New Year. Yes, this might lead to liver failure but chances are your liver is already failing, so buck up and uncork a slimmer you.
Also, you might consider that the Sonoma Diet franchise proffers its own wine brand, “The Sonoma Diet Wine Collection” produced by Windsor Vineyards, which, in my opinion, is both an offense to dieting and wine. I’d rather eat a cork, at least it would have some fiber. But a wine with the word “Diet” on the label? Look what’s being done in our name. If I wanted a “lite” wine, I’d pour myself a glass of water and wait for Jesus to show up and fix it.
Whenever a denizen of wine country is invited to a holiday party outside our borders, this is a subtle social cue to bring wine. Yes, everyone expects it and yes they have the errant notion that it’s somehow free for us as if we bottle it at the banks of the ever-flowing River O’Wine that wends through our backyards. Though this is true and we mustn’t ever let our secret be known things get awkward unless we oblige. Friends have a nasty habit of reminding that they paid for all the illicit substances one ingested back in the 80s so it’s only fitting we now pay for the wine. Hmm. Fortunately, Sonoma wine is becoming so ubiquitous, you can pop by your friend or relative’s local bottle shop minutes before arriving. When they ask how you managed to keep the sauvignon blanc chilled during your four-hour drive over the hills and through the woods, tell them Jack Frost kept it on his lap.
Anyone who has ever presented a bottle of wine as a gift knows it’s impossible to wrap. Several innovations in years past, from slender totes to boxes festooned with bows, have attempted to address the issue with limited success. The wine gift merely looks like a gussied up after-thought, which, let’s face it, it is. When you learned that so-and-so was going to be wherever it is you’re going, you ran to the wine fridge and plucked a bottle that was almost as good as the one that first came to mind. You’ve most assuredly both given and received such bottles, which invariably come with the proviso “Let this one lay down for a while, open it in a year or two and it will be excellent.” This is code for “Don’t bother drinking this plonk – re-gift at your earliest convenience – like I did.”
For those near and dear to me, a brown bag usually suffices since they generally want to twist-off the cap and get down to the Plaza before the spirit of Christmas passes (leaving a headache and regret in its wake). By far the most awesome wrapping for a wine gift is to acquire a three-mast ship and place the bottle in the hull – a grand gesture that reverses the “ship in a bottle” gag to the nth degree. Of course, the recipient will just tear the ship apart to get to the present, paying no heed to the wrapping.
But then, what counts is on the inside, right? No matter how fat and broke you are.