Liquor store sales hit a high in December every year, and I have a hunch it's because of the parties. Hosts are serving wine and guests are bringing wine—to the tune of billions of dollars a year in the U.S.
If you want to really impress, by all means, buy that $50 bottle. But for the rest of us, know this: You can score a really solid bottle of vino for less than a green-tinted flash card of President Jackson. Don't believe me? Ask the experts.
These entertaining savants know a thing or two about throwing a party, so we asked them to spill on their favorite affordable bottle (or in one case, box) of wine that can be brought home for less than $20. Because, as Waiting on Martha's Mandy Kellogg Rye told us, "when you find a good wine on the cheap, stock up!"
And psst... Want to learn more about our experts? Check out their "table cred" right here: Meet the Entertaining Experts
"Alamos Malbec or Cab! $10 to $14. A solid, full-bodied red that always pleases."
— Roxy Te, Society Social
"Arca Nova Vinho Verde. It's a Green Wine from Portugal. It's cheap, easy to drink and delicious!"
— Jordan Ferney, Oh Happy Day!
"If you can find Round Pond Sauvignon Blanc on sale under $20, grab as many as you can. For a good classic Pinot Grigio you can't go wrong with Santa Margherita. For all other whites, I'd choose any option from Sancerre. For Rose, Whispering Angel is an easy option. And lastly, for a red, you'll be happy with any Location from the Locations Collection."
— Mandy Kellogg Rye, Waiting on Martha
"For white, I love Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. I love most New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and this one is my absolute favorite. For red, I've been into Pas Ordinaire, which is a French blend that's great with food. I like using Winc's subscription service because it keeps my collection stacked—which I find key to being a great hostess. You never want to have to stop the evening or a great conversation because the wine's run out."
— Sarah Ashley Schiear, Salt House Market
"I love 19 Crimes—and I have to admit it caught me with the label, but it is a great wine and also a conversation starter for any crowd."
— Michiel Perry, Black Southern Belle
"I'm biased: I have my own wine line called Philosophy and the Zinfandel is awesome. It's organic and has a nice bold, creamy finish."
— Danny Seo, Naturally, Danny Seo
"You can't go wrong with any of Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve bottles."
— Ashley Rose, Sugar & Cloth
"I have a handy little app called Vivino that helps me find good bottled wine for an affordable price! If we have a big group over for dinner, I go with a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc by Black Box Wines. It's easy to serve a big group of people when you're serving boxed wine, plus it saves money and you're not left with tons of bottles at the end of the night."
— Kate Arends, Wit & Delight
— Joy Cho, Oh Joy!
"Lately I've been more into bringing beer. I'll pick up one or two large bottles of Chimay, a strong Belgian that even my most dedicated champagne-swilling friends tend to love."
— Chantal Aida Gordon, The Horticult