If you’re like us, Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) occurs on every day ending in “y.” But for many wine lovers, it’s an annual event that takes place on the last Saturday of February where you’re encouraged to pull the cork on that special bottle of wine you’ve been saving for “someday.” This unofficial (and glorious) wine holiday is the brainchild of former Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. Created in 1999, the idea came about when the two noticed there was one question readers always asked: “what bottle should I open?”
Gaiter and Brecher believed that the whole point of their weekly “Tastings” column was to communicate to people that wine is so much more than the liquid in a bottle. It’s about history, geography, relationships and memories.
It was clear that people were putting too much stock in saving new wines or reserving dusty old bottles and not enough in time spent enjoying the liquid wonders within. So, their response was a tradition designed to get people to open some of their “moldy oldies” or the wines they’d stashed away for special occasions that may never come and share them with others.
What’s Wine is Yours
Whether you have an impressive wine cellar or a modest, little wine rack, the goal for OTBN is not to select your most expensive bottle, the most celebrated vintage, or whatever bottle best compliments the ribeye steak you’re having. The aim is to choose a bottle that has special meaning to you or has a story behind it. Then, uncork that memory and share it with friends and family.
Sounds amazing, right?! Well, if you plan on joining the party on February 29 (Yes, we do have extra day this year to drink wine), here are some tips that will help you make the most it.
Choose the Wine
Every adventure requires a first step, right? Don’t try to show off with your most impressive/expensive bottle. You also don’t have to pull the oldest (or even an old) bottle. Hey, for this special night, it doesn’t even need to be an Idaho vino. You’re looking for memories in a bottle or something personal. Red, white, whatever.
Take a Stand
Prior to the 29th, say, on Wednesday, make sure you stand up any older and horizontally inclined wines. This allows any sediment that may have built up inside to sink to the bottom.
Consider the Cork
Old bottles of wine are notorious for having corks crumble upon opening. Be prepared for any fragile corks by having a carafe and a coffee filter on hand. Just pour the tainted wine through the filter until all the bits of cork are captured.
Have a Plan V
Select a backup wine in case your go-to vino selection has actually gone bad. It happens. It’s sad. We soldier on.
Seize the Day Night
Savor every sip and really soak in the precious moments you’re spending with your friends and family. The amazing memories you create on OTBN, just like (some) wine, will only get better with age.
Desire The Date
Feb. 29 is already booked? Don’t have to wait another whole year before you open that bottle. Not all wines age well, or age forever. Don’t miss out on a special experience because of your calendar, just pick a new night and make it your own.
Picture Your Perfect Pour
We get FOMO from missing all your great parties. Post a pic of your vino victory (and a humble Bottle Brag) by tagging the Idaho Wine Commission or using #OTBNIdaho.