A Singular Perspective

A Blog by Nickel & Nickel Winery

For Winemaker Darice Spinelli, the holidays are all about family, with great food, wine and a few lively games thrown in for FUN! That FUN – with a Capital F – starts on Christmas Eve with oyster stew, apple salad, and Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay. This year, there may be some library vintages of Suscol Ranch Merlot on the table, too.

As for Christmas Day, Darice shares a snapshot of her Napa Valley Holiday, by the hour, below. Read on…

6:30 am: Our dog, Bentley, is up.

Time to make coffee and take him on a Christmas walk.


8:30 am: Arrive at Mom and Dad’s just in time to help Dad make his famous Aebleskivers.

About the size of a kiwi, they are Danish, a bit like pancakes, but filled with fruit. My favorites are apple, blueberry or raisin filled. My dad’s been perfecting the recipe for years, and everyone in my family has a “seasoned” Aebleskiver pan. On Christmas, we make about 120 for breakfast and serve them with lemon sauce.  One Aebleskiver has an almond tucked inside of it, and whoever gets the one with the almond wins a prize.  Of course, you have to show the evidence so you can’t eat the almond!  It’s lots of fun.

10:00 am:
Christmas stockings are next and then…


11:00 am: It’s time to PLAY.

My favorite parts of Christmas are the surprises and games.  They always lead to singing, dancing, and mischief.  This year my dad is bringing his accordion, so I’m trying to get my son to play his guitar with him. Also, my niece has been taking hula lessons, and at some point in the afternoon, all the men have to accompany her.  It’s a riot! With our family, it’s not unusual for our Christmas games to require water balloon launchers or Nerf guns. FUN, FUN, FUN! Although I’m not 100% sure of what’s in store for this Christmas, I do know that this year’s games will involve ping pong balls, solo cups, playing cards, headbands.


2:30 pm: Head over to my in-laws
to do it all over again!

4:00 pm: White Elephant time.

Everyone pulls a numbered star from a bag, and the number corresponds to either a gag gift or a great gift. Thank goodness my older son has a great sense of humor, because he has about an 80% track record for getting the gag gifts.


7:00 pm: Christmas dinner for 12.

We all bring different mains and sides, which gives us more time to spend time together. My sister-in-law loves the Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay and my brother-in-law loves Dolce, so those are definitely on the wine menu.  I’m going to reach into my cellar and serve a 1999 Stelling and a 2002 Sullenger as well.


9:00 pm: Still at the dinner table!

We usually sit around the Christmas table long after dinner has finished, listening to stories of long ago. We can often sit for hours, perhaps because, as chaotic as the games and festivities can be, none of us are eager for Christmas Day to end.