Keep festive feasting affordable with bargain priced wines...

There's no reason the wines you serve to your family and friends this year have to be expensive. There is a wide selection of discounted wines to choose from at this time of year. Winter Solstice - price reductions are all over the shelves!

Bargain priced imported wines can come from just about anywhere, particularly in December. From Chile and reduced by $2 from its regular price of $11.99, Carmen Wave Series Sauvignon Blanc $9.99 doesn't quite have the zingy, grassy character we expect from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Instead, soft apple and pear notes fill out the first sip, light, with a spritz of key lime in the finish.

Spain has been a hotbed of bargain priced red wines recently. A popular favourite for years, reduced by $2 from its regular $11.99,

Osborne's Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon $9.99 is a medium-bodied food-friendly red. Over the leathery ripe cherry character of the Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon adds notes of plums and peppery blue and black berries.

Wineries and their agents know how competitive December can be. Many old standards and new challengers are marked down to attract your attention. Whether they are marked down $1, $2 or even $3, they are the same wines as they were before the mark-downs.

It's rare to find BC - Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) - wines in the affordable zone. Labour and land costs here at home push up the

prices of our best locally grown wines. This year the cleverly marketed, masterly blended, Okanagan classic Diabolica wines are marked down up to $3 a bottle, depending on where you shop.

Here's a matched pair that has been around for a few years. These 'devilishly delicious' wines were built to tempt you. It is all about blending to the most accomplished end. Regularly priced at $14.99, these two wines can be found for as little as $11.99 at some private retail stores.

Viognier and Riesling tease the nose with peach and honeysuckle aromas but Diabolica Okanagan Valley White $11.99 is built on a solid base of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris for that lemon and green apple tartness and solid, full-bodied 'weight' on the tongue that floats into tropical guava and pineapple in the finish.

An equally tasty red blend, Diabolica Okanagan Valley Red $11.99 is an easy to like kitchen-sink blend that combines Merlot, Petit Verdot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon with a dash of Cabernet Franc and a splash of Pinot Noir for a mouthful of cherry, berry, plum and pomegranate flavours that slide into blueberries, boysenberries.

It's the gathering together that should be the most important thing at this time of year. Right behind that there is the food itself. Save your finest wines for sipping after dinner and serve one or two of these bargain-priced beauties with your family feast.

Offering exceptional value for a number of years Luccarelli Negroamaro $13.99 is a lusciously dark red from vineyards in sunny Salento in Puglia – the heel of the boot of Italy. Smooth, rich blueberry, black cherry and blackcurrant fruit flavours are enhanced by earthy notes of ripe plums, clove and cardamom.

If it is a white that you'd prefer with your feasting, find a bottle of Farm Hand Organic Chardonnay $15.49 from certified organic vineyards in South Australia's Monash Valley. There's a fresh-picked, elegant balance of peach, apple and lime aromas and flavours, here. And that 'organic' softness in every sip...

Whatever your pleasure this year, there's no need to bust your budget on dinner wines. And be sure to make it home safe!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com