What 11 Fabulous Ladies of Wine are Drinking This Christmas

There’s no better way of finding out what you should be drinking this Christmas than to ask some of Australia’s most fabulous ladies of wine. Here they share what they’re looking forward to opening, and who they’ll be enjoying it with.

(I’m already in Google Maps to see who’s house I’m gonna crash in on first….)

Kate Day, Willunga 100

Kate IMG_9646a cropped
How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

No doubt I will be woken at the crack of dawn by my son to see if Santa has ‘delivered’ followed by a swim at the beach, eating, drinking, eating more drinking and then the mandatory Christmas day afternoon snooze. Followed by more eating and drinking a probable heated family “discussion” and more eating and drinking. Does anyone do it any differently?!?!?

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

Fizz, Fizz and more fizz to start. As Coco Chanel wisely said, “I drink Champagne on two occasions…….when I am in love and when I am not!”. Of course I will also be “splashing the Grenache” with the swine. Perfect on a warm summer Xmas day, the Willunga 100 “The Hundred” Grenache comes from 80yo vines, is unoaked and lees aged making it a wonderful summer red and matching beautifully with the good old Chrissy ham.

LouiseLouise Hemsley-Smith, Battle of Bosworth & Spring Seed Wines

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

Christmas day involves us descending onto Joch’s {that’s Louise’s husband, Joch Bosworth} parents at their house at Carrickalinga, about 30 minutes further down the coast from McLaren Vale. We bring our kids (of course), dogs and I think being the ones with the eldest kids, we will be in the garden in our Jayco pop-top caravan which is always entertaining. Joch’s other siblings will be there with their kids and dogs too. We KNOW Joch’s dad loves us all coming down and staying as long as we like. Although we wonder why after a day or 2 he can only be found barricaded in his shed?

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

Joch will grab some old Riesling from the cellar, and maybe a newer one – he has some Leo Buring 2013 knocking about, which is fantastic. We also definitely will have some Chardonnay with entrée, which Joch’s sister Lucy usually provides. It will be a crayfish, if we are lucky or maybe she might do a retro prawn cocktail. Joch has also made gravlax in the last couple of years, which has been very successful.

We will probably have an older Battle of Bosworth red with the turkey (usually a Cab Sauv) which Joch will grab from the cellar, maybe a Burgundy of some description…plenty of Bubbles throughout the day, mainly Australian, maybe a French as well. Gilly from Fall From Grace in Willunga has some nice grower made Champagnes. Aussie-wise, Hardy’s House of Arras makes brilliant bubbles.

I have been relieved of all culinary duties after my disastrous Christmas pudding of 3 years ago, which Joch’s sister Lucy (who is an amazing cook) still talks about in hushed, incredulous tones. Probably Lucy or Joch’s mother Anthea (who with Peter, Joch’s dad, set up the original BoB vineyards in the 1970’s) will make the Christmas pudding, which we might have with some tawny port, or maybe our Battle of Bosworth ‘Clarence’ Dessert Semillon.

It’s always pretty interesting to see how our BoB wines are travelling at Christmas lunch. We rarely get a chance to sit and have them in a relaxed environment, so it is mainly on this one day of the year when we can relax and enjoy them, unless we get a bad bottle. The earlier vintages of BoB reds were under cork. If it’s a bad one, we will then get at least 30 minutes of conversation related to swearing about crap corks and how unreliable a closure they are….. nothing like tradition at Christmas 🙂

The idea is then to go for a walk on the beach and maybe a swim, before coming back and having a bit more food and maybe another glass of red. If it’s hot though, we might have a glass of our new Spring Seed Rose (which just won a gold medal and the Trophy for best Rose or Sparkling Wines at the recent McLaren Vale wine show…….) it’s a ripper – pale, dry and refreshing. I can’t resist a plug….


IMG_3180Judy Kelly, ArtWine

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

This year we are celebrating with friends and family and spending some time at a friends beach house with them and their gorgeous spoodle and our own soon-to-be-superstar winedog! Hopefully lots of time will be spent opening well deserved presents! We have been very very good this year, so I do expect “Santa” to do the right thing.

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

The day will start with a delicious Prosecco from Dal Zotto, my favourite Prosecco and its low in alcohol so great for some mid morning present opening!

We are making one soon too – so excited!
I am then looking forward to a glass of Pol Roger champagne to get the lunch started, I have tasted numerous French champagnes and always come back to Pol Roger.

Entrée will be served with a Spanish Albarino and our ArtWine Fiano. Main course will be accompanied with a stunning Rioja Marquis de Riscal Rioja red wine (it was my favourite) we bought back from our trip to Spain earlier this year. We are planting Albarino next year so this will be wonderful to revisit the stunning wine we brought home.

Then …. If anyone is still standing we have a Tscharke Montepulciano and our own new release Grumpy Old Man Reserve Grenache to bring up the rear. Then it will be time for a big walk I suspect.

But of course, first there’s dessert and our Coco Sparkling couldn’t be better. Diet starts on boxing day!!

leanne_04_yv 2010Leanne De Bortoli, De Bortoli Wines

We normally spend Christmas on rotation with family between the Yarra Valley, Griffith, Sydney or Mornington Peninsula. This year we are heading down to the Peninsula and it will be a quieter affair (normal Christmas get-togethers can involve up to 26 people!). However we will no doubt visit (or be visited by) our neighbours for some late afternoon cheer.

We normally start the day with ham carved off the bone and a glass of bubbly at 11am.

This is followed by generally long, easy lunches with piles of seafood, turkey, home-made salami, antipasto and salads. Regardless of where it is, there is always the mandatory late afternoon pud…with brandy butter, custard, cream…..the works.

Steve always looks after the wine selection (no-one else dares!). It usually consists of bubbly, Rosé, aromatic whites, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, maybe more Pinot Noir……and of course a little ‘pudding’ wine.

We are a bit over the anxiety, hassle and expense of gift giving. With extended family we restrict our gifts to a fun $25 Kris Kringle. The kids generally get what they want, for the rest of us it is often the most bizarre gifts that are the most revered – like a dartboard or the little book of ‘100 jokes’ come to mind. A fun way to spend an hour and makes everyone realise it is about spending time together and not about the presents.

Here’s the wines we’ll be drinking this Christmas:

Veuve Fourny NV Blanc de Blancs  – Cheeky, super fine, creamy bubbles from our favourite Champagne grower. Goes real well with opening presents! Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé (French) and our own La Boheme Act 2 Rosé 2014 – Rosé is meant for early drinking and always in two’s. 11am is early drinking. Pale, dry textural Rosé and looks so pretty on the table. De Bortoli Act 3 Pinot Gris and Friends 2014 – Gently aromatic, semi thoughtful Gris but not quite enough to dominate the conversation and food preparation. De Bortoli Yarra Valley Single Vineyard A5 Chardonnay 2012 – Cheeky glass of minerally white to wash down some flathead tails with our special sauce of capers, parsley, lemon and butter. Riorret The Abbey Pinot Noir 2012 – Aromatic and plump, totally delicious with Pork and duck terrine. As Steve says ‘A little poise and gravitas thrown in for free’. SC Pannell Tempranillo Touriga 2013– Crunchy red to accompany the grilled lobster. Interesting producer of some very compelling wines.

And finally a glass of Noble One to have with the pudding. Doesn’t matter how hot it is, the Christmas pudding is a must!

Lucy GoldingLucy Golding, Golding Wines

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

This year I will be celebrating Christmas at the family beach house in Coffin Bay. Darren and I are lucky in that our families are very close so there will be a mix of Golding and Rowans celebrating together and that means that our children will have both sets of their grand parents spoiling them on Christmas day!

There will be present opening in pjs and then a long lunch on the deck, some snoozing in the afternoon and then I’m predicting a trip to the beach for a swim and (hopefully) a spectacular sunset.

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

Christmas Day is always such a great celebration day in my family and my Dad will have a few surprises that are dusted off and brought up from the cellar. He has been stockpiling great wines for these occasions for 30 years.

I am really looking forward to sharing a few bottles of our Golding Marjorie Sparkling paired with smoked salmon rillettes and some local oysters. We will sit back and propose a toast to my late grandmother Marjorie, whom the wine is named after, and be thankful for our lives which are blessed with happy and healthy family, great food and of course wine. Then we will all pop our bonbons, put on our paper crowns and tell really bad jokes to each other over a Christmas feast!

cathy howardCathy Howard, Whicher Ridge

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day?What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

On Christmas Day we will home on the farm {in the Geographe Region of WA} and the plan is to have a similar lunch to last Christmas – a long table lunch with friends from Donnybrook, Neil’s nephew and a young couple who are staying with us helping us out on the farm. Lunch starts with cold prawns and smoked fish with salad from our garden and fresh bread, followed by warm pork and turkey and finishing off with a share cheese and fruit platter.

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

We will start with our Redtail Sparkling Shiraz – perfect match with our food (it matched brilliantly last year with prawn cocktail, believe it or not!) and it also goes really well with both pork and turkey too. Being bubbles, it is THE best wine to celebrate with.

Riesling will also come out with entree, probably an older vintage of our Frankland River Riesling. The creamy lemon flavours that are starting to develop in our aged Rieslings go perfectly with seafood! Our Donnybrook friends have a cellar of aged wines, both white and red, and to match their wines, we will be searching through our cellar and maybe pulling out a St Hallett Old Block, from when I was winemaker there back in the late 1990’s, a 1998 Old Block perhaps? We have some older Margaret River cabernets tucked away too from the early 2000’s, which will be perfect to have with the cheese platter.

After lunch, a game or two of petanque may be played with wine glass in hand … Christmas time gives us the reason to not only share great food with good friends and family, but also to open and savour our wines that have been cellaring for “That special occasion”.

LisaLisa Bray, Burnbrae Wines

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

I will be heading to Sydney this Christmas to spend time with family and friends. We usually enjoy a hot lunch with my brother and his family which is then followed by a nap on the lounge (hopefully) and then another round of celebrations at my parent’s home with the extended family leading in to the evening. There tends to be seafood in good supply with cold meats and salads, followed by pudding and trifle.

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

Bubbles usually kick off the lunch as they seem to put everyone in a celebratory mood. This is then followed by a glass of either the Burnbrae Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay as I’m still a huge Chardonnay fan. This year I’m also looking to pair up our new release 2014 Pinot Noir Rose with the roast turkey as I think that it will be a perfect match. Lastly we might open a bottle of the 2013 Botrytis Semillon to compliment the lovely desserts on offer. That nap is sounding good!

Gwyn portrait[1]Gwyn Olsen, Briar Ridge

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

For me, Christmas has always been about spending time with family and I am lucky enough to be spending Christmas Day with my all of my immediate family in Brisbane at Mum and Dad’s house. Six adults and two little boys (my brothers ratbags are 2 and 3).

The family rule has always been that you are permitted to inspect your Santa Sack prior to dawn, however no present opening will commence until (1) the sun is up and (2) Dad has had a cup of coffee. Once those two details have been sorted (coffee at dawn!) we will be making sure the Champagne is chilled and the ham is carved.

Lunch is the traditional seafood feast of fresh prawns, oysters, Morten Bay bugs etc and the day will be spent eating, drinking and playing around – there is usually a game of cricket and some swimming. Not to mention the TV being constantly switched between the Boxing Day Test and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

Taittinger and House of Arras will be the bubbles on the day – both delicious examples and work well with ham for breakfast. Of course I have a stash of good Hunter Semillons from a variety of producers to take with me – First Creek, Pepper Tree, Briar Ridge (of course!), De Iuliis and Brokenwood just to name a few because they are perfect summer drinking and always match sensationally to fresh seafood. Also, Clare Riesling from Knappstein as the 2014 are absolutely delicious. If I find a quiet moment to myself I’ll probably sit in a corner and open up a bottle of the Oakridge 864 Chardonnay – such a beautiful and complex wine I find it is enjoyed best in peace 😉

As it will more than likely be hot and humid, the lighter reds will be the go on the day. I’m taking up the Briar Ridge 2013 Shiraz Pinot Noir blend for the family to try, and we’ll open up a few bottles of Holyman and Bay of Fires Pinot Noir. A cheeky Rose or two will be consumed in the afternoon sun or perhaps in the pool. One thing I have not yet done is source a good bottle of Sparkling Shiraz for the day, as is tradition.

Elizabeth CalabriaElizabeth Calabria, Calabria Family Wines

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

There’ll definitely be big family celebrations! On Christmas day we celebrate with a massive Italian seafood lunch at our Nonna’s house with all our family (which usually consists of 50+ people!) so it is a great time to catch up with relatives from out of town and indulge in endless supplies of homemade food, great wines and great company, and of course there will be lots of noise!

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

During our Christmas lunch we enjoy a selection of Italian wines; usually starting the celebration with our Sparkling Prosecco while opening gifts and greeting family as they arrive and join the fun times.

Over lunch it is usually a crisp white wine, this year it will be our Calabria Vermentino, as this refreshing drop goes particularly well with our seafood dishes. When the cheese platters come out it is time for the reds, the Calabria Private Bin Nero and usually something special; vintage stock from my fathers, Bill’s, private cellar, which always consists of an award winning 3 Bridges Durif! 


victoria angoveVictoria Angove, Angove Family Winemakers

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

We will be having a feast with the family! With a 6 and 4 year old, Christmas is a pretty exciting time in our house – the counting of sleeps begins straight after the Adelaide Christmas pageant (which is the first weekend in November!).

The celebrations will begin with a Champagne/Sparkling breakfast while the children open their pressies and then lunch at my brother’s this year with all of our side….followed by dinner with my husband’s side. There are no half measures – there will be a lot of food, wine, children and fun.

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

This will all depend on the weather! We will start with a mix of French and Aussie Sparkling – I’m partial to Bollinger at the moment although I’m fairly easy to please! We still hold on to the traditional turkey dinner but usually have seafood as an entrée….so I’m looking forward to our Alternatus Vermentino with that…. and some Nine Vines Rose. I’m hoping we’ll raid my brother’s cellar for some aged Rieslings at some point in the day – Rich has a much more impressive collection than I do!
With main course…Wicks Estate Pinot Noir and some Hollick Coonawarra Cabernet will be on the table, next to our Warboys McLaren Vale Grenache. I’m not really a dessert wine drinker so will head back to the bubbles in the afternoon…..

Corrina 170thCorrina Wright, Oliver’s Taranga

How will you be celebrating Christmas Day? What will you be doing and who will you be sharing it with?

Being a child of divorced parents, married to a husband (Dan) with divorced parents- we are usually torn in a million different directions on Christmas day! So much so that most of the time, we just take ourselves down to our shack at Marion Bay (Yorke Peninsula) or Dan’s family shack at Black Point (Yorke Peninsula) and do our own thing! However, this year Dan’s mum (Lesley) and sister (Annabel) & her family have moved back from a number of years living in London, so all of the family are converging on Norwood for a Christmas Day with them.

We’ll be eating loads of vegetables (Lesley is vegetarian), drinking heaps of Champagne, and I will sneak in a kilo of crackling in my handbag! On Boxing Day we will be at The Star of Greece [a restaurant on the beach in McLaren Vale] drinking champagne out of large format bottles. Then we will be off to Yorke Peninsula for the real beach holidays to begin!

What wines are you most looking forward to drinking and/or serving on Christmas Day and why?

I was lucky to do a swap of our 2014 Fiano (multi-award winning Fiano!!) with Patrick from Cellarhand- so I have a delicious selection of German & Austrian Riesling, Gewurtz & Gruner. Really looking forward to cracking them out on the deck on Yorkes with some fresh caught whiting and garfish.

I have also been spending all my pocket money on bottles of 2004 Tattinger Comtes de Champagne, so I will probably put a dent in that collection in a big way. On the Aussie front, I have stashes of wines from some other lovely ladies of wine: Bellwether, Stargazer, KT, Chalmers & Beach Road, along with my current staple – anything from SC Pannell. Mostly, I can’t wait to drink these wines as they are delicious and work well with food. I will also be indulging in G+T’s in a big way, mostly over epic games of Scrabble or Rummikub on the deck as the sun goes down.