Lake Chelan’s Perfect Winter White Wines for the Holidays

Cooler temperatures and longer nights are often associated with red wine season. But would you believe it if we said white wine is just as suitable for the holiday months?

For the upcoming celebrations, we’re swapping out the tropical and melon-forward white wines of summer for those with a little more heft. It’s true — you can still get all the depth of red wine in the form of a quaffable and crisp winter white! 

Here are the Lake Chelan white wines to include at your holiday table.



One of the world’s most popular white wines, Chardonnay is adaptable to various climates and ranges from clean and elegant to rich and buttery. In the Lake Chelan AVA, it’s our most prolific white varietal, accounting for about 22 acres of plantings.

Cool climate Chardonnay typically has a more pronounced citrus profile, and in Lake Chelan, you’ll find both oaked and unoaked iterations of this varietal across our wineries. An unoaked Chardonnay is aged in stainless steel tanks or concrete vessels, helping retain its fresh and vibrant characteristics. An oaked Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels and will exhibit notes of spices, vanilla, and butter, depending on the type of barrel.

What makes Chardonnay perfect for the holidays? It’s highly versatile and naturally pairs with classic holiday dishes, depending on the production style. Try a stainless steel or lightly oaked Chardonnay with lighter meats like roasted turkey or chicken and a heavier Chardonnay with richer holiday dishes such as ham, butternut squash soup, or a festive charcuterie plate.



Like Chardonnay, Riesling may be produced in a variety of expressions, each lending it to a variety of holiday meals. Riesling will generally have notes of nectarine, apricot, lime peel, jasmine, and even petrol.

Traditionally, Riesling has a higher sugar content to offset the high acidity characteristic of this grape. Both sweet and off-dry Rieslings are a welcome addition to any holiday table as they complement dishes like roasted duck, brussel sprouts, honey-glazed carrots, and soft cheeses. 

An especially sweet Riesling stands alone as a perfect dessert wine, but it’s also well suited to crème brulee or aged gouda.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

Herby and acidic, Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect crisp pick-me-up that won’t weigh down the palate. Sauvignon Blanc is known for its light-bodied profile, exhibiting flavors of honeydew, passionfruit, and freshly cut grass.

At the holiday table, Sauvignon Blanc is ideal for a cheese plate of goat cheese, smoked gouda, or brie, and lighter protein dishes, including roasted turkey, seared scallops, and lobster.


Sparkling wine

No festivity is complete without a bottle of bubbly! The holidays are synonymous with sparkling wine, and there is plenty across Lake Chelan to keep everyone at your party merry and bright.

From méthode champenoise to pétillant-naturel, blanc-de-blanc to blanc-de-noir, dry to sweet, there’s a wide variety of sparkling wines produced across the Lake Chelan wineries, and each lends itself beautifully to your holiday celebration. Most Lake Chelan sparklings are made from Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, grown widely across Washington State.

In general, sparkling wines are an excellent accompaniment to hors d’oeuvres, seafood, and lamb, though they stand alone nicely in the glow of good company.

A White For Every Occasion

People drinking white wine

Just because it’s colder doesn’t mean you must give up the joys of sipping white wine. White wine is proving to be a dynamic choice for the holiday season, and with over 15 varietals produced across our 40+ Lake Chelan wineries and tasting rooms, there are plenty of options to keep you warm through the winter months.

Cheers to a holiday season full of great food, excellent company, and award-winning wine.

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