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Since the turn of the millennium, one night in the dull, dark month of February has been immeasurably brightened for wine-lovers by the creation of a special day to celebrate cherished bottles of wine, champagne or spirits. Open That Bottle Night is dedicated to making sure that those bottles of fine wine that have been put away for a ‘special occasion’, are finally opened up, used, and enjoyed.

This day can now serve as that special occasion everyone has been waiting for. It’s Open That Bottle Night!

History of Open That Bottle Night

Reveling in the idea that great wine is just meant to be shared, Open That Bottle Night is all about creating memories and telling stories of those special shared moments. This is the perfect time to remove that cork and get down to the business of enjoying life.

Created in the year 2000 by two Wall Street Journal columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, ‘Open That Bottle Night’ (OTBN) is an annual occasion that aims to motivate people to reconnect with each other over a special bottle, and create good memories with friends and family–without any other special reason needed to celebrate. 

Held on the last Saturday in February of each year, this day encourages the sharing of memories, both fond and difficult, that can best be remembered when shared over a bottle of wine. The idea is to not only open up a bottle but also to open up the heart. 

How to Celebrate Open That Bottle Night

What a great day to enjoy and celebrate special events–or absolutely nothing! Get ready to dig deep into the enjoyment of life on Open That Bottle Night with these ideas: 

Dig a Bottle Out of the Cellar

Those who have been saving a delicious bottle for a special occasion will be relieved to know that this can be the day that they have been waiting for! Celebrate just being alive. Get out that corkscrew, grab some glasses and dust off that bottle because it’s time to open it up!

If the bottle has some special significance, don’t forget to tell the stories about it. Was it purchased in a special place? With a special person? For an important event? Was it gifted by someone significant? Letting the bottle tell its story as it is enjoyed makes the moment that much more powerful. 

Enjoy a Newer Vintage Bottle

Don’t have any special bottles saved? That’s okay! This day doesn’t discriminate in its desire for everyone to enjoy it! If there’s no special vintage in the cellar, don’t be afraid to go out to the wine shop and ask them to help with some recommendations for something to break open on this special day of celebrating life itself.

Read the Book Love By The Glass

Ready to channel the vibes of the day? Well, one great way to do so would be to read the book written by the authors of the occasion. Love By The Glass is a memoir and love story written by Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher who just happened to also be the creators of Open That Bottle Night.

The book offers a special insight into the journalism careers of the authors, the challenges they faced to get there, how Martha Stewart played a role in their work, how they became well-known in the world of wine and how wine ultimately changed both of their lives. It’s delightful to peek into the world of these great appreciators of wine, especially including Dorothy’s experience as a woman of color. 

Get Creative with Wine Choices

This is the perfect time to try out something that has been on your mind but you’ve never dared. Those who are hoping to become wine experts (or who just want to enjoy this evening!) might want to get started with some of these ideas:

  • Bordeaux. The world’s most famous wine region produces this red wine that is usually a French blend, typically with an anchor of Merlot or Cabernet. These can run a bit on the pricey end, but that’s what makes them special enough for Open That Bottle Night!
  • Chianti. Head south from France and move into the direction of Italy. This dry red wine has a tendency to taste better with food, so be sure to serve some appetizers or a full meal with it.
  • Rioja. Sticking to Europe but moving over to Spain, this wine has a similar flavor to a Cabernet Sauvignon, with a bit of a fruitier flavor to bring a sense of brightness.
  • California Mourvèdre. Certainly the American winemakers shouldn’t be overlooked. This one is a dry, dark red wine with a full body that offers flavors of flowers as well as herby spices such as black pepper and thyme aromas.

Host an Open That Bottle Night Dinner

Make this night even more special by inviting some close friends around for an intimate dinner party. The guest list should certainly include like-minded friends of family members who enjoy a good bottle of wine and also appreciate the story behind it.

Whether cooking a complex meal or simply putting out a charcuterie board filled with meats, cheese and crackers, it doesn’t really matter what the food is except that it’s worth trying to serve something that pairs well with the wine on offer.

Create an Open The Bottle Night Playlist

An important factor when having friends over to open a bottle of wine is to have good music playing in the background! Get creative by making up a playlist of fun songs inspired by wine. Try out some of these for starters, and then add some of your own favorites:

  • Dust on the Bottle (1994) by David Lee Murphy. A perfect song for Open The Bottle Night–this one tells the story of how a bottle of wine that has been saved for awhile might have a bit of dust on it, but what’s inside is much sweeter for waiting.
  • Good Friend and a Glass of Wine (2007) by LeAnn Rimes. This country song has lyrics that encourage the idea of friendship that is shared over a glass of wine.
  • I Will Drink the Wine (1971) by Frank Sinatra. Enjoy this song about drinking the wine from old Blue Eyes himself.
  • Red Red Wine (1983) by UB40. Of course, this hit from the 1980s will speak to any Gen-X-ers out there who are enjoying Open the Bottle Night.

Enjoy Open That Bottle Night with These Wine Tips

Tips to help you make the most of your designated bottle include:

  • Serve the wine – both red and white – at cellar temperature, around 55 degrees.
  • Have a spare bottle – keeping a backup bottle is a good idea in case the chosen wine has been stored for a little bit too long.
  • Use a cork bottle-opener with two prongs, and don’t forget to practice first!

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