♦ Pick 10 wines. Doesn’t matter–first ten you see at the grocery store, last ten you had, the ten sitting in the rack with the curly wrought-iron grape leaves on your kitchen counter in the window–reds, whites, pinks, orange, doesn’t matter and nobody cares.
♦ Reference the complexity of flavors at the meal. Always mix in some food-chemistry references like the fat on the breast or the acid in the cranberry.
♦ Make a joke about marshmallows and yams.
♦ Make a joke about somebody’s relative (insert mid-western town) and allege a drinking issue.
♦ Make a joke about bringing plenty.
♦ Allay everyone’s paranoia with a *relax, lighter is better* reference. Let them know you’re one of them.
♦ Include at least one totally obscure and overpriced European bottle no one cares about or can pronounce or could find to validate yourself.
♦ Close with a warm seasonal missive on gratefulness and family.
♦ Relax, have a glass of over-oaked, 2YO Napa Cab sample–the one you wrote that gag-me honey-dripping bullshit on Vivino about. And don’t worry, Christmas is easier.