New Years Eve was always an exciting holiday for me. Growing up, my mom would drop a couple cranberries in our sparkling apple cider and tidy-up a little present for my sister and I, placed delicately on our expensive-feeling dinner plates (my mother regarded New Years Eve as the one holiday she would trust me and my sister with the nice dinnerware). This tradition of giving a present on New Years Eve was always anxiously awaited, due to the fact that I believe my sister and I were still electrically charged with the compulsion to rip open gifts because of the proximity of Christmas.
Looking back, I think this lure of always having presents for us was a sly tool implemented by my mom in order to keep us in the house and keep us out of “teenager mayhem”…
Regardless, I believe New Years Eve has just as many familial and cultural traditions as Christmas does. Spanning from across the globe, this particular holiday brings some of the quirkiest and most unique traditions out there. From eating twelve grapes for each toll at midnight to offering gifts to the sea, countries near and far each have a unique twist on this holiday.
Particularly, Spain happens to be the home of the grape eating bonanza. Each of the twelve tolls of the midnight hour indicates the tradition to eat a grape. The explanation behind this tradition? It is believed to date back to 1909, when grape growers in Alicante implemented it as a means to deal with their production surplus they had that year. Present day, if you consume all twelve grapes at midnight, it is believed to have brought good fortune. Restaurants, ballrooms, and residential homes all practice this long-lived tradition in Spain.
As for the oceanic offerings? Brazil is responsible for this tradition. Iemanja, a Brazilian mythological goddess of the sea, is an important deity to give offerings to on either New Years day or the night before. Throwing flowers into the ocean or creating almost inflatable gift-baskets is a common practice for this particular ritual. If the gifts float back to shore, it is OK–you just have to try again next year to try and get them out to sea.
Yet there does seem to be one steadfast character in each living tradition: the clinking of flutes and the sipping on sparkling wine to ring in the new year. And what better, more delicious way to do that than with our highly esteemed 2003 Carneros Cuvée: Gloria’s flagship wine, this sparkler is aged for over a decade to produce the smoothest, most exceptional bubbles possible. Now, if you really want to ring the new year in party-style, grab a bottle of our 1.5 liter Sonoma Brut Magnum and keep that bubbly pouring in abundance (and style).
So to all those New Years Eve traditions out there,: I raise my glass and cheers you all, whether you’re here or far!