The Wine Society has been helping members match fine wines with holiday meals for nearly one hundred and forty years. Membership costs £40 and society members have access to quality wines ranging in price from £4 to £400 a bottle. Currently, more than 100,000 members enjoy access to the Wine Society’s list. New members joining this year before December 31st, 2008 will have £20 credited to their account.

Holiday recommendations from this year’s wine list include aperitifs, white burgundies, light red wines and a fifteen-year-old Madeira, a fortified dessert wine. With smoked salmon or cold cuts and cheeses, The Wine Society recommends Château Doisy Daëne Sec, Bordeaux, 2007. Salads or light fish match well with a white burgundy like Auxey-Duresses, while Chamonix Blanc 2008 from Franschoek, South Africa is recommended for seafood dishes.

Most wine-lovers know that roasts, game, or poultry dishes call for red wine. The Society’s Pinotage is a light red wine which can stand up to stronger, smokier flavours. Its deep-fruit flavour works well with tasty, succulent meat, according to The Wine Society. Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2006 will accent tenderloin, but venison calls for Gigondas 2005, a full-bodied southern Rhône red.

Christmas pudding and Christmas cake are British traditions calling for a sweeter wine. Henriques & Henriques fifteen-year-old Madeira, with notes of caramel, walnuts, and coffee, can be paired with traditional desserts or enjoyed on its own. Madeira also makes an excellent stand-by gift for any last minute panics.