The Best Holiday Wines, According to Victoria’s Secret Model Grace Mahary

The model-turned-sommelier suggests funky, obscure bottles and tasty food pairings.

Courtesy of Grace Mahary

While many of us were working on our sourdough starters over quarantine, model Grace Mahary was running over wine facts, quizzing herself on the Crus of the world and tasting her way through a rainbow of varietals.

And it’s not just a pandemic project. In addition to gracing the pages of Vogue and the Victoria’s Secret runway to focus on her work as a sommelier (and on her non-profit Project Tsehigh).

“As my enthusiasm for wine grew over the years, I realized how intimidated I was by the industry. Curious to learn and leverage my platform to shine light on sustainable and minority winemakers, I buckled down, studied, and received my certification as a sommelier.”

This holiday season, she’s reaching for funky, obscure bottles for her own festivities. But for bottles that appeal to everyone you’re raising a glass with (if only over Zoom). Here are Grace’s picks for the best festive bottles, from celebratory sparklers to elegant reds.

She Can Island Citrus Spritzer

“Cocktails step aside! There is no need to fuss over equal-parts-of-this-or-that for a holiday cocktail when you have She Can Spritzers! The Island Citrus grapefruit, guava, lime, and melon aromas will have you reminiscing of the tropics—a delicious holiday getaway. The bubbles are smooth and I promise you this wine-in-a-can thing CAN and SHOULD be trusted!” From $4.99

Roederer Estate Brut NV

“Not everyone can afford Cristal and that’s okay. The same family makes a much more affordable sparkling wine in California with a similar complexity, style, and scrumptiousness of Champagne. So go ahead and pop that Roederer Estate to celebrate making it through a rough year and ringing in 2021!” From 24.99

Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique Brut Rosé

“Graham Beck of South Africa makes sparkling wine in the traditional method of Champagne a.k.a. méthode cap classique. His Brut Rosé makes you salivate just from smelling that bouquet of strawberry, raspberries, red flowers, and more. The palate is luscious and will dance with deviled eggs, fried chicken, mac and cheese, or cranberry Christmas cake.” From 18.99

McBride Sisters Sauvignon Blanc 2019

“Fresh, fresh, exciting! Yes, I’m quoting Kool & the Gang to reference the McBride Sisters New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. But with that in mind, this wine has fresh kiwi and tropical fruit notes plus a lean, salty finish; you can sip this wine from day to night. It’s perfect with goat cheese, seafood dishes, and light bites but my relatives and I will be savoring this beauty on its own.” From 14.99

Grgich Hills Chardonnay 2017

“This is for the big Chardonnay fans! Grgich Hills is a classic California estate and this vintage produces a wine with ripe apple, toasted cashew, and rich, creamy texture to enhance your chicken roast, lobster bisque, and so many other holiday dishes.” From 39.99

Paolo Bea Santa Chiara 2017

“For those in love or just discovering skin contact/orange wine, this one’s for you. Paolo Bea is a family-run winery and farm. They make beautiful, natural and low-intervention wine. The Santa Chiara is a fun blend of white grapes (including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay) with just enough tannins and bounce to keep you intrigued. Orange wines pair well with everything, no joke—think white wine aromatics and red wine texture!” From $56

Tablas Creek Esprit 2016

This wine is “Complex, round, bold and delicious. I love to consider the wines of Tablas Creek to be a big California hug with elegant French perfume! This is a historical winery in Paso Robles that played a huge role in bringing Southern Rhône grape varietals like Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache over to America. If you can’t get your hands on their Esprit, try anything from them for a treat!” From $59.99

Catena Malbec 2018

“Laura Catena is a physician, author, and star winemaker of the Catena family estate. Argentina’s Mendoza Valley is famous for its Malbec, and here in all of the Catena wines you taste the best expressions of it! Black and blueberries, mocha, smoke, and polished tannins: these wines will warm you right up. Great for BBQ and grilled veggies, or just pop this bottle to get you through those holiday video calls.” From $17.99

Marchesa Antinori Tignanello 2017

“This is the wine you give someone you’re trying to impress. It’s a pretty penny, but if you have the opportunity to try any of Tinanello’s wines, you will understand why they are so sought after. Super Tuscans are wines typically made with Sangiovese & non-indigenous Italian grapes (like Cabernet Sauvignon) so you get a bit of Tuscany, Bordeaux, and Napa all in a glass! Indulge in this complex, rich, and elegant wine with hearty Italian dishes, lamb, and mushrooms.” From $130

McBride Sisters Central Coast Red Blend 2018

“Dark, dried fruit and meat jump out of the glass—you can smell the heat in this wine. Give it another swirl and a velvety mix of vanilla, cherry, and plum tease you. It’s got a body and sass, definitely a sexy and smooth wine. Pairs excellent with grilled steak, pork, stews, and lasagna. If you’re gifting this, make sure you grab a bottle for yourself too!” From $17.49