As 2020 comes to a close, we delight at the prospect of new beginnings. We have hope for 2021 and the surprises it will hold, but before we get there we want to say "sayonara!" to 2020 in style. New Year's Eve is a holiday of many traditions, both made to refelect on the past and anticipate the future. To appreciate the legacy of these practices, we've put together at a brief history of three of our favorite traditions: toasting the New Year, kissing and singing, and making resolutions.
Raising a toast with champagne has a long history, dating back as far as the Roman Empire. Under this regime, drinking wine was seen as a fundamental part of good health. In some eras, toasting to the Emperor with a glass of wine was compulsory before meals. When Julius Cesar adopted a new calendar in 46 AD, January 1st was decided upon as the start of the year. This was intended to honor Janus, the Roman God of beginnings. Of course, the ancient Romans began the tradition of celebrating the New Year with partying. Drinking and revelry have become integral to the celebration.
In the following centuries, toasting began to incorporate the actual clinking together of glasses. The "ring" of the glasses was meant to ward off evil. Later, it was rumored that it reduced the use of poison among noblemen and their enemies since toasting caused liquid to splash from one reveler's drink to another. The word "toast" itself came about in the late 17th century, since spiced bread (toast) and other snacks had commonly appeared as pairings with the celebratory booze. Sparkling Wine grew in popularity as the New Year's Eve drink of choice to celebrate opulence and luxury.
The practice of making resolutions has an even more illustrious history, starting upwards of 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. The New Year was celebrated with the planting of crops, and resolutions were made in order to start the season off optimistically and please their gods. Their commitments supposedly included such promises as repaying debts and returning borrowed farming equipment. The knights of the Middle Ages would make their resolution to remain knights by swearing their chivalry over a roasted peacock, which was called the "Peacock Vow." We prefer to make our resolutions over a glass of Peacock Patch Zinfandel, but to each their own.
The first recorded use of the actual phrase "New Year's resolutions" was in a bostonian newspaper in 1813. Two centuries later, it remains a value of our cultures as we seek the power of self improvement new beginnings--and often discover our weaknesses come March. No matter the level of "success" these resolutions offer a good opportunity to reflect on past goals and set your heart on the coming year's opportunities.
At the stroke of midnight, just as the New Year commences, it is common to kick off the New year with a smooch and a song. Both kissing and Auld Lang Syne are optional, but heartwarming when enjoyed with people you love. In English and German folklore, these midnight kisses strengthened budding romances and set a tone for the year to come. During the masquerade balls of the Renaissance, guests would remove their masks at midnight and kiss one another, symbolizing the removal of evil and begin the year with purity.
One Scottish New Year's Eve tradition took this even further, with guests attempting to kiss everyone in the room, but we admit that's not exactly the safest choice in 2020. Instead, the Scottish tradition that has become a standard of New Year celebrations is the Scottish folk tune "Auld Lang Syne." The poem was first penned by Robert Burns in 1788, but Guy Lombardo is credited with popularizing the song as a New Year's Eve staple in the United States when it appeared in a radio broadcast from New York’s Roosevelt Hotel at midnight on December 31, 1929. The lyrics are timeless, calling us to remember auld lang syne, which literally translates to "old long since" but is similar in meaning to "old time's sake."
There is a beautiful irony to joining in such old traditions to commemorate the New Year. We revel, even if we're at home this year, in the memories of the "good old days" while planning our goals and resolutions for the year ahead. If we ask why we celebrate the way we do, why we toast, sing, kiss, and promise, the answer is simple: For old time's sake, my dear, for old time's sake.
The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, and the holiday menu is planned. Why not start dreaming up something fun for the leftovers? If you're partying in place this year, you might find youself having a smaller group--and thus an abundance of leftovers. Using, freezing, or giving away your holiday leftovers is a great way to get creative and cut back on waste! We've rounded up a few ideas to help you re-invent the remants of your feast, and we've of course included some pairing ideas. Now, get some mulled wine simmering (we recommend Peacock Path Zin for this) and let's get cooking!
Leftover Prime Rib or Roast? Try this recipe for Roast Beef Hash from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.
This dish is a fantastic option for any leftover beef or lamb, and can work as a hearty and delicious dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. We would pair this meat n' potatoes classic with a rich bottle of our Armonia Lot #9.
If you're looking for cleverness points while dressing up leftover ham or pork belly, try this "Greens," Egg, and Ham Sandwich recipe!
Extra credit to whoever can quote the most poetry while enjoying this creative take on a classic ham sandwich. We recommend adding extra fancy cheese and a glass of Grapeful Red to make this even more special.
Transform that tupperware of leftover mashed potatoes into Mashed Potato Pancakes with just a few steps!
We don't really think that there's such a thing as "too much" mashed potatoes, but we also think it's fun to jazz them up a bit! This recipe is also ideal if you're tired of being in the kitchen because it comes together quite quickly. These savory cakes are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and will taste luxurious with a glass of our Reserve Chardonnay.
If you only make it once or twice a year, it can be tough to figure out what to do with the leftovers. Now, we won't judge you if you want to just eat it straight, but these muffins are amazing. After all, it's not holiday baking if there's no sweets, and these are a great treat anytime--and vegan-friendly! Enjoy these with a splash of crisp Sauvignon Blanc and keep the holiday cheer alive.
We hope we've helped you up your leftover game and have some more fun in the kitchen. Now, if you don't have any leftover wine, we understand! Place an order today and come by for curbside pick-up this weekend. Get a full case of Armonia lot #9 for only $99.99 (that's not a typo!) or take advantage of our Sparkling Wine sale before it's gone.
This year, many of us find ourselves looking forward to a Holly, Jolly, "Small-y" Holiday. We think it might be the perfect time to lay down new traditions and to find unique ways to make the season special. Decorations are at the heart of the holidays, and table settings are a fun and simple way to express your creativity. There's no right or wrong--rustic and chic, simple and elaborate--there's beauty in every setting! We've put together a few place settings modeled after our wine bottles and the spirit of the season and we hope to inspire you!
Simply Having a Colorful Christmas-wine: Grapeful Red.
Our iconic Grapeful Red is our ever-present reminder that life is too short to take too seriously! This colorful take on a classic Christmas table setting incorporates a touch of seasonal produce in the form of persimmons, as well as rich, festive reds and lively yellow. This setup is perfect for a casual holiday at home. If you'd like to put together a setting with this bottle, make sure to get our Winemaker's Selection 6-pack before it's gone, which features two Grapeful Red!
Bubbles and Baubles: Sparkling Wine
Our spirits are bubbly just thinking about the New year! This setting plays on the green and gold of our delightful sparkling wine. We've completed the look with a gold-rimmed flute and a classy black napkin. Our Sparkling sale is on until the 31st, so it's high time to bring out the bubbly and toast to the end of the year.
Merry Cabernet, Darling - Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Our award-winning Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect pair for a classic table setting. With its red foil top to the gold seal, this evergreen color combination shines beautifully. Pair your preferred holiday plaid with some simple white plates and your favorite bottle of wine, and you've got a classy table setting! Buy our reserve Cabernet Sauvignon on its own, or find it in the Winemaker's Selection 6-pack.
All I want for Christmas is Jewel - Jewel Collection Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our Jewel Cab stands alone as the shining star of any meal, which makes it perfect for a special dinner. This place setting is both refined and rustic, combining elegance with natural elements to "spruce" things up.
As Perry Como sings, "for the holidays you can't beat home sweet home." We hope that you have a warm, cozy, and cheerful home this year!
Don't forget to place your orders to pick up this weekend! Our Winemaker's Selection is a steal of a 6-pack and includes our Grapeful Red and Reserve Cab, as mentioned above, as well as our club wine Intesa. Also, make sure you don't miss out on our Sparkling Sale while it's still here! We're open for curbside pickup Saturday and Sunday from 12-4pm.
Ruby Hill Winery has had a commitment to sustainability since our beginning. We recycle, use solar power, and are constantly looking for ways to cut back on waste and care for the planet. Our boxes are made from recycled cardboard and all of our wine corks are made from a by-product of sugarcane production that otherwise goes to waste. After all we affirm that the best wines come from the best grapes, which means we want to nourish our vines with the healthiest soil and climate possible.
End-of-year festivities have a tendency to bring a bit of chaos and clutter into our lives, but there are also opportunities to conserve creatively! Below, we have assembled a few ideas of how to reduce waste this holiday season as our times of decorating and gift-giving continue.
- Decorate using what's in your home
With just a bowl, ornaments, and Christmas lights, you can create a luminous display to show off a bottle of wine! We paired gold and silver baubles with a gleaming red Peacock Patch Zinfandel. If you've got other spare wine bottles around, we also love the look of wine bottles as vases! You can incorporate bright red flowers, pinecones, and clippings from your Christmas tree.
Give the gift of experiences or virtual subscriptions
Instead of purchasing something that can collect dust, opting for gifts of experience can show a lot of thought and reduce waste! For bookworms, a subscription to Libro FM allows your loved one to enjoy quality audiobooks while supporting a local bookstore of their choice. For friends who have yet to discover your favorite wines, a wine club membership makes for an unforgettable gift that keeps on giving. Lastly, for creative friends, an online class through Skillshare gives the gift of new skills and knowledge.
Shop at local stores and boutiques
When you do your shopping locally, not only do you cultivate the character of the community by supporting family-owned businesses, you also reduce the environmental impact of your items. We recommend calling shops ahead of time or checking websites to see how their capacity limits and other COVID-related precautions may affect your visit. In our experience, little shops spark holiday joy in a way no department store can. For a listing of a few of the boutique shops in the Tri-Valley, click here.
In this season of giving and receiving, we are thankful to be here for you. From all of the Ruby Hill family, we hope that we've inspired some smiles and creativity, and that you will feel love and warmth this December and beyond.
If you would like to decorate your table with Ruby Hill wines, or just enjoy few bottles, we are open for curbside pickup every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-4pm. If you're interested in giving the gift of membership, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Couls is one of our beloved tasting room managers and decorator extraordinaire. She manages all of our retail and keeps the tasting room beautiful in every season. During the week, we had a visit with Sue to hear about her favorite items in the tasting room. With the holidays fast approaching, we want to make sure we are prepared to find the right present for every parent, friend, spouse, and colleague on our lists.
One of Sue's bestsellers are these wine glass holders. Each holder can carry up to 4 wine glasses. At Ruby Hill, we use these to serve our wine flights, but there are many possibilities! Lovingly called "trees" by our staff, each branch can hold a different wine, bringing a bit of the wine tasting experience into your home. If your personal collection allows it, you could even do a parallel tasting of four vintages of the same wine and see how they compare.
Sue mentions that these trees are perfect for intimate dinners. She calls them exciting and interactive, making them a perfect enhancement to a Holiday dinner. Bring a bit of flair and specialty to a night in--wrap up a wine tree under your Christmas tree!
Sue also curates a collection of her favorite wine aerators. Ruby Hill's tasting room boasts a menagerie of these unique tools. Made of 100% stainless steel, these durable aerators add character to any wine bottle. According to Sue, they allow you to serve wine with the perfect aeration with a flair of personal novelty. With a dose of whimsy, you can enjoy a wine straight from the reindeer's mouth!
Sue has also planted a dazzling forest of her favorite lighted trees. These metallic glass trees bring warm, festive light into our tasting room. Simple battery-powered gleam means optimal decoration opportunities with no cluttered cords! After a year of some uncertainty and darkness, Sue treasures the bright, luminous cheer that these trees can bring to every home.
A friendly spirit of warmth and generosity is a welcome comfort in every situation. Sue's light shines through in the beauty she brings to the Ruby Hill tasting room, and she invites everyone to bring that charm home with them. Whether for your own living room or wrapped up for a friend, all of these gifts are sure to spark joy. To help share the delight, all of our tasting room retail items are 20% off for a limited time, so we'd love to see you here soon!
Enjoy complimentary ground shipping when you order 6 or more bottles.
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