How We Plan to Send Off 2020 and Welcome the New Year

Shadow of wine bottle and glasses
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Ready for 2020 to be over? We are, too.

To celebrate the year that felt like it would never end, members of the Wine Enthusiast team will pour a glass of that special bottle, open a beloved beer or fix a favorite cocktail. We hope you’ll find a similarly memorable way to ring in 2021.

Here, all the ways our staff plans to end the year on a spirited note.

The Enthusiast 100: Our Top Wines of 2020

“After a year of mourning, I want to celebrate a promising year to come with a long-cellared 1989 Château d’Yquem. If it has anywhere near the power and longevity of other ’89 Sauternes I’ve had, it will be the perfect vinous metaphor for how we can become stronger and better with time.” —Contributing Editor Nils Bernstein

“I’m going to crack a bottle of Germain-Robin XO California brandy, because I love Armagnac but I love California more, and it’s been a rough year so I’m going to drink it straight. It’s aged 17 years in oak, about the same amount I feel I’ve aged in 2020.” —Contributing Editor Virginie Boone

“This year was pretty rough for everyone, and while I’m not exempt from that, I did have the silver lining of the birth of my daughter, which was a fantastic reminder to be grateful for the good and very important things in life, like family. To celebrate the close of 2020 and look forward to a new year ahead with my family of now four, I’m going to pop open a Kanonkop 2013 Black Label Estate Pinotage from Simonsberg-Stellenbosch and a Mullineux 2013 Chenin Blanc Straw Wine from Swartland to celebrate the year our family was founded as well as a hopeful return to South Africa in 2021, ideally with the hubs and kiddos.” —Managing Editor Lauren Buzzeo

“We are ringing in 2021 at our home in Spain. Unlike previous years, there is no open-air celebration in the town square, so we will enjoy a candlelit dinner at home. Our first, last, and only wine trip in 2020 was to Burgundy and Champagne in January, so we will celebrate that journey with bottles from those two regions. We will start the evening off with vintage Champagne (2008? 2012?) alongside mussels, clams, and scallops. Then we will grill lamb chops and open a special bottle carried back from Nuits-Saint-George, Vougeot or Pommard. At midnight, we will savor the remainder of our Champagne and toast to the places we have been, the places we are going to, and a happy and healthy New Year to all.” —Contributing Editors Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen

“It’s probably no surprise to anyone that my panacea for all of the world’s ills is first and always Champagne, and on the 31st I’m gonna drink an entire bottle. Possibly a bottle of Philipponnat Clos de Goisses paired with a middle finger and big FU to 2020, or a Champagne Salmon Special Club. Who am I kidding?! I’ll probably drink both.”—Assistant Digital Editor J’nai Gaither

“Whiskey.” —Senior Editor Dylan Garret

“It’s going to take more than a drink to rid the bad taste of 2020. I’m going with Gelato 33 from Mt. Baker Home Grown (#mtbakerbaked).” —Contributing Editor Paul Gregutt

“As this year limps to a close, there were some bright spots on social media as pictures of Celebration, the annual fresh hop IPA release from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., began to pop up mid-Autumn. Clear as a bell, with a burnt-orange-bronze hue and a vibrant pine-forward hop aroma, it’s the kind of IPA that rebuilt the American beer industry in the craft age, and a reminder that just the right amount of lupulin bitterness can excite the palate. It’s the foam, however, that captured a lot of attention online and in our glasses. Thick and unwavering, it adds visual and aromatic depth to this seasonal release, lacing the glass as it empties. In a year of uncertainty and unease, seeing that familiar red label, with a snow-covered cabin, arrive on shelves was reassuring and a reminder that there might be a long winter ahead of us, but there will always be outstanding beer to get us through the hard times. I’ve already finished my third 12-pack of bottles and stocked up with a fourth to toast the turning of the calendar.” —Contributing Editor John Holl 

“We’ll be winding down this frenetic and emotional year by going for a walk in our local park and then planting ourselves by the fire with a spread of aged cheeses, cured meats and a magnum of brut nature Champagne. And yes, we plan to drink it all between the two of us, because, 2020!” —Editor-in-Chief Susan Kostrzewa

“I’ve got tickets to Italy booked for 2021. I used miles, of course, so the reservation is risk-free. In truth, the dream of swimming Sardinia’s seas and hiking Alto Adige’s mountains has buoyed me over the months. After all, anticipation is half the fun. So, I’ll be toasting a return to Italy, whenever it happens, with Vermentino from the south and Kerner from the north.” —Contributing Editor Lauren Mowery

“Martinis, prebatched in the freezer. Gin and Little City vermouth, a new brand made in Harlem. Repeat as needed. Although another true and far less classy answer likely will be: Bourbon neat, in the mug that says ‘I survived the great toilet paper crisis of 2020.’ ” —Contributing Editor Kara Newman

“I plan to crack open two special bottles—2018 Ochota Barrels Fugazi Grenache and 2016 Pyramid Valley Field of Fire Chardonnay—made by two of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most talented and soulful winemakers, Taras Ochota and Mike Weersing, both of whom died far too young this autumn. I will drink to honor two excellent humans, and to all those who were tragically taken from us in this doozy of a year. Here’s to better times ahead.” —Contributing Editor Christina Pickard

“Since time was a flat circle in 2020, it seems appropriate to toast the year with the same cocktail I’ve sipped throughout quarantine. So, I’ll make a martini with a dash of Angostura and a twist. I like to chill my glass; it’s a small step that makes every night feel celebratory.” —Associate Managing Digital Editor Emily Saladino

“From the deepest southwest of France, we are going to treat the new year as a 24 hour period. So we will open Champagne at 12:01 on December 31, look at the stars—yes, we can see them—and cheer the end of 2020. During the day, we will take a walk in our woods looking for kindling for the evening fire in the stove. No visit this year to the local sweet wine area of Vic-Bilh, where they usually pick the last grapes on December 31. So then presents, more Champagne, foie gras, duck, Bûche de Noël (Chocolate Christmas log) and more Champagne (Blanc de Blancs). And then 2021. Can’t wait.”—European Editor Roger Voss

Published on December 30, 2020
Topics: Wine and Ratings