As we are invited to holiday gatherings at friends’ homes and begin to realize that our runway for shopping for gifts is rapidly running out, I had a few suggestions for the wine lovers on your list.

At this season, we are often dashing in to the liquor store for a bottle to bring to a party.

We may just be looking for a bottle to be opened at the party, or we may want something a little more special to leave behind for a good friend to enjoy over the next two or three weeks.

At this season, and in this place, it seems to me that far more people drink reds than whites. If you want to bring something that may provide a tasty sip for yourself or your friends, I would currently steer you towards Spanish or Portuguese wines.

I have yet to taste one that I didn’t like from the Yukon Liquor Corporation (YLC) shelves, and you will be bringing something that likely will be a different choice than the usual suspects that appear. You have about a half dozen good and interesting choices priced at $13 to $20.

If you are thinking of something a little more special to leave with your host or hostess for a more intimate gathering, or perhaps to serve at Christmas dinner or New Years Eve, here are a few suggestions.

You could bring a bottle of wine to suggest your friend serve with the holiday dinner.

While white wines are the traditional accompaniment with a turkey dinner, and the mere thought of a French Sauvignon from the Loire Valley is making my mouth water as I write this, several more adventurous pairings could include a red Pinot Noir or even a California Zinfandel (the red ones, not the white/pink sweet ones).

A number of these options can be found for under $25 a bottle.

For a special treat that could do double duty at New Year’s or be served with your holiday dinner, consider one of the three or four Prosecco Italian dry (not sweet) Champagne-style wines from northern Italy.

If someone on your list has been very good, you might want to consider a bottle of Madeira or Port.

They generally run $25 and up, but are a tasty way to end off a holiday evening, and go very nicely with fruit cake, plum pudding and shortbread, not to mention chocolate!

If you happen to be shopping for a Christmas present for the wine lover on your list, there are a number of terrific solutions to be had, even in our small community. Wine glasses are always great; you can get a nice set of four simple 18–24 ounce examples from Superstore for less than $20.

If you’d like something a step up, stop in at Coffee Tea & Spice. They have some world-quality glasses, as well as a ton of great wine toys that I would love to find in my stocking on Christmas morning.

If you have a wine lover who also enjoys the outdoors, both Coffee Tea & Spice and Coast Mountain Sports have terrific stemmed and stemless camping wine glasses.

Coast Mountain also has the Platypus wine bladders, which are a perfect way to transport a bottle of wine without the breaking risk and weight of glass bottles.

This past summer I took the better part of a case of wine in these bladders, and they were brilliant!

So, there are a few final ideas for the holidays.

At this season I thank you, dear readers, for letting me share my reflections on wine experiences and hope that, in some small way, I have contributed to your wine-tasting experiences.

I encourage you to enjoy tasting wines this holiday season, but make arrangements to not drink and drive. Arrange to stay over with friends, or rely on a non-drinking friend to drive you home. I value my readers, and want them around in 2011 to read my columns!

Finally, I wish you warm fires, safe travels, the view of loved ones and friends by the generous light of candles, and health and happiness in the coming year.

Cheers, and Merry Christmas!