The Cave
4435 McGrath St., suite 301

The holiday season is upon us, yet again. Save yourself the hassle of picking out which wine to serve with what by attending the 17th Annual Holiday Kick-Off Wine Tasting at The Cave Ventura, where 155 wines will be sampled, hors d’oeuvres will be passed, and the holiday spirit within you will launch into overdrive.

PHOTO CREDIT: Amanda Rae Photography

The event began in 2001 as a small sampling of what The Cave, then just a retail shop, had to offer for the holidays. Since, it has expanded — as has the shop itself, adding a top-notch restaurant – into the primo event for getting in the mood before shopping and cooking fill up the planner.

Nicole Valdivia, owner and general manager, says that the event offers a nice snapshot of what the store has to offer and gives attendees an opportunity to try many different varietals.

Of course, between flights, one will want to consider holiday menus. Valdivia says that there are certain dos and don’ts for pairing wine with traditional meals.

“For Thanksgiving, I always love to start out with a little bit of bubbles,” said Valdivia, the French sparkling wine Le Grand Courtâge Blanc de Blancs ($14.99) being one of her favorites. “It’s a really nice starter for something to drink while you’re cooking and to enjoy while guests are arriving.”

As for food pairings, choosing varietals outside of the heavyweights will prove popular.

“If you’re doing red, stick to something more like a grenache or pinot noir and avoid a big, heavy full bodied cabernet,” said Valdivia, who also suggests avoiding sauvignon blanc, typically a poor pairing with vegetables. “With turkey or ham, and the more traditional sides like the mashed potatoes or a green of some sort, something like rosé would go with all of the above.”

Valdivia suggests Santa Barbara County’s Margerum rosé ($15.99).

Regardless of what you choose to serve, the annual event will certainly spark the imagination.

The 17th Annual Holiday-Kick Off Wine Tasting will take place on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. at The Cave, 4435 McGrath St., suite 301, Ventura. Tickets $45. For more information, visit