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Open That Bottle Night

Open That Bottle Night: Celebrating the Stories Behind Our Favorite Wines

Date Pattern: Last Saturday of February

Sometimes, the stories behind a bottle of wine are just as captivating as the flavors within. That’s what Open That Bottle Night is all about—a celebration of the memories and experiences that wine can evoke.

In this article, we’ll explore the history of Open That Bottle Night, learn how to celebrate it in style, and dive into some fantastic wine choices that will truly make the night one to remember.

Open That Bottle Night

History of Open That Bottle Night

Open That Bottle Night, or OTBN for short, was created by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, two wine columnists for The Wall Street Journal.

They recognized that many of us possess that one bottle of wine, tucked away in our cellars, waiting for the perfect moment to be opened. In 1999, Gaiter and Brecher decided to designate one special night each year for people to open these cherished bottles and create new memories.

How to Celebrate Open That Bottle Night

To celebrate Open That Bottle Night, start by carefully selecting the vintage that has been patiently waiting for its moment. Consider the story behind the wine and the memories it holds.

Once you’ve chosen your bottle, plan an intimate dinner with loved ones. Create a playlist that complements the atmosphere, helping to set the mood for an unforgettable evening.

Here are a few tips to make your Open That Bottle Night truly special:

  • Decant your wine to enhance its flavors and aromas.
  • Pair your wine with a meal that complements its characteristics.
  • Share the stories behind your chosen bottle with your guests.
  • Embrace the nostalgia that comes with opening a cherished vintage.
  • Take photos and create a scrapbook to commemorate the evening.

Wine Choices


Bordeaux wines are highly regarded for their complexity and elegance. This red wine blend hails from the Bordeaux region in France and is typically a composition of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other grape varieties.

Its deep, fruity flavors and fine tannins make it a perfect choice for pairing with red meats, hard cheeses, and rich sauces.


Originating from Italy, Chianti is a dry red wine that boasts a robust character. Made primarily from Sangiovese grapes, Chianti often exhibits flavors of cherries, plums, and herbs.

Its acidity and medium body make it an excellent partner for pasta dishes, grilled meats, and tomato-based sauces.


When it comes to red wine, Rioja is a true Spanish gem. Traditionally made with predominantly Tempranillo grapes, Rioja offers a balanced combination of ripe fruit flavors, woody notes, and a touch of vanilla.

This versatile wine pairs wonderfully with roasted meats, stews, and aged cheeses.

California Mourvèdre

For those seeking a bold and adventurous wine, California Mourvèdre is an excellent choice. This dark red wine, also known as Monastrell in Spain, showcases a full body and a profile of rich flavors.

Expect notes of blackberries, plums, and spices dancing on your palate. Pair this wine with hearty dishes like grilled lamb, beef stew, or portobello mushrooms for a delightful culinary experience.


Open That Bottle Night is an opportunity to bring life to the stories that fill our cellars and wine racks. By celebrating this special night, we create moments that encapsulate the essence of good food, great company, and the memorable wines we hold dear.

Whether you choose a Bordeaux, Chianti, Rioja, or California Mourvèdre, may your Open That Bottle Night be an evening of fond reminiscing and new memories made.

Hosting an Open That Bottle Night Dinner

Inviting friends and family

One of the joys of Open That Bottle Night is sharing the experience with loved ones. Hosting a dinner party allows you to gather friends and family together to enjoy an evening of wine appreciation and storytelling.

Choose a date that works for everyone and send out personalized invitations, making sure to mention the significance of the occasion. Encourage your guests to bring their own cherished bottles to contribute to the celebration, creating an even more diverse wine selection.

During the dinner, take the time to introduce each guest’s wine and let them share the story behind it. This creates a sense of connection and adds to the overall experience of the evening.

By including others in your Open That Bottle Night festivities, you not only enhance your own enjoyment but also create lasting memories for everyone involved.

Food pairing

A well-chosen menu can elevate the entire Open That Bottle Night experience. To create the perfect food pairing, consider the characteristics of the wine you plan to open.

If you have a red Bordeaux, opt for a complex meal that includes a succulent roast beef accompanied by roasted vegetables. The robust flavors of the Bordeaux will pair harmoniously with the richness of the meat.

For a lighter wine like Chianti, a charcuterie board filled with cured meats, olives, and cheeses will provide a delightful pairing. The combination of the Chianti’s herbal notes and the saltiness of the cured meats will leave your taste buds rejoicing.

If your chosen bottle is a Rioja, consider serving a Spanish-inspired meal. Try tapas dishes like chorizo and Manchego cheese, or a hearty paella filled with shrimp, chicken, and saffron-infused rice.

These dishes will complement the Rioja’s earthy and fruity flavors, bringing out the best in both the food and the wine. Lastly, if you have a California Mourvèdre, embrace its boldness with flavorsome dishes such as slow-cooked beef stew or a mushroom risotto.

The intensity of the wine will hold up against these hearty dishes, creating a memorable pairing experience.

Creating an Open That Bottle Night Playlist

Song recommendations

No celebration is complete without the perfect soundtrack, and Open That Bottle Night is no exception. Crafting a playlist to accompany the evening adds an extra touch of ambiance and enjoyment to your wine-filled gathering.

Here are a few song recommendations that can set the mood and uplift the spirits during your Open That Bottle Night festivities:

  1. “Dust on the Bottle” by David Lee Murphy: This country classic is a light-hearted anthem that perfectly captures the sentiment behind Open That Bottle Night. Its upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics will have your guests tapping their feet and singing along.
  2. “Good Friend and a Glass of Wine” by LeAnn Rimes: This spirited song is a celebration of friendship and the joy that comes from sharing a good bottle of wine. Its cheerful melody and relatable lyrics make it an ideal addition to your Open That Bottle Night playlist.
  3. “I Will Drink the Wine” by Frank Sinatra: The smooth vocals of the iconic Frank Sinatra paired with lyrics that speak to the allure of enjoying a fine wine make this song a timeless choice. It sets a sophisticated and elegant tone for your celebratory evening.
  4. “Red Red Wine” by UB40: This reggae-inspired hit combines catchy rhythms with a message that matches the spirit of Open That Bottle Night. Its laid-back vibe and memorable chorus make it a crowd-pleasing addition to any playlist.

By curating a playlist that incorporates these songs and other personal favorites, you can enhance the atmosphere and create a soundtrack that resonates with the memories being made that night.

Conclusion: Open That Bottle Night is an occasion that allows us to celebrate the beauty of wine, create new memories, and cherish the stories behind our favorite bottles.

By hosting a dinner party, inviting friends and family, and carefully pairing your chosen wine with delectable dishes, you can elevate the experience to new heights. Enhance the ambiance with a thoughtfully crafted playlist that sets the mood and enhances the enjoyment throughout the evening.

Whether you’re savoring a Bordeaux, Chianti, Rioja, or California Mourvèdre, the combination of good food, great company, and the perfect soundtrack will ensure that your Open That Bottle Night is an occasion to be treasured.

Wine Tips

Making the most of your designated bottle

Open That Bottle Night is a wonderful opportunity to finally uncork that designated bottle you’ve been saving. To ensure that you make the most of this special occasion and truly enjoy the wine, consider the following tips:

  1. Handle the bottle with care: When retrieving your designated bottle, be gentle in handling it. Dust off any accumulated sediment before opening it. Remember, this bottle has been patiently waiting for its moment, and you want to treat it with the respect it deserves.
  2. Decant the wine: Decanting can enhance the flavors and aromas of your wine, particularly if it’s an older vintage. Carefully pour the wine into a decanter, allowing it to breathe and open up. This process helps to soften any harsh tannins and release the true essence of the wine.
  3. Appreciate the color: Take a moment to observe the color of the wine as you pour it into the glass. Hold the glass up to the light and notice any variations in hue. The color can provide valuable insights into the age and potential flavor profile of the wine.
  4. Savor the aroma: Bring the glass to your nose and inhale deeply to capture the aromatic bouquet of the wine. Allow the fragrance to transport you to vineyards and distant lands. Take note of any scents of fruits, flowers, herbs, or spices that you detect.
  5. Take small sips and savor the flavors: When you finally take that first sip, allow the wine to coat your palate and take your time in experiencing the flavors. Notice the different layers of taste—whether it’s the fruity notes of blackberries or the subtle hints of oak and vanilla. Pay attention to the balance between sweetness, acidity, and tannins.
  6. Pair with complimentary foods: Enhance your wine experience by pairing it with complimentary foods. Consider the flavors and characteristics of the wine and choose foods that will enhance or contrast with them. For example, if you have a rich red wine, pair it with meats, cheeses, or even dark chocolate. The combination of flavors will elevate both the wine and the food.
  7. Share the experience: Open That Bottle Night is a celebration meant to be shared with others. Take the time to discuss and share your thoughts on the wine with your companions. Engaging in conversation about the flavors, aromas, and personal experiences with the wine can deepen your appreciation and create a meaningful connection.
  8. Preserve any remaining wine: If there is any wine left at the end of the evening, take steps to preserve it. Use a vacuum pump or inert gas system to remove excess oxygen and extend the life of the wine. Alternatively, repurpose any unfinished wine for cooking or making wine-infused recipes to make the most of every last drop.

Remember, the beauty of Open That Bottle Night lies not only in the wine itself but in the memories and experiences it represents. Embrace the opportunity to savor the flavors, appreciate the aromas, and share the stories that accompany each bottle.

Cheers to making every Open That Bottle Night a truly unforgettable experience!

In conclusion, Open That Bottle Night is a cherished occasion that allows us to appreciate the stories and memories behind our favorite wines. By hosting a dinner party, inviting loved ones, and carefully pairing the wine with delicious dishes, we create an atmosphere of celebration and connection.

Crafting the perfect playlist and following wine tips further enhance the experience, ensuring that every sip is savored and every moment cherished. Remember, Open That Bottle Night is not just about the wine; it’s about the stories, the connections, and the joy that comes with sharing a special bottle.

So uncork that designated bottle, create new memories, and let the flavors transport you to beautiful places and moments in time. Cheers to Open That Bottle Night, where cherished experiences are uncorked and shared.

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