Love and wine seem to go together so easily. There are countless country songs that use wine as the context for a romantic experience. Sometimes it seems like whatever happened couldn’t have without the wine. Like Garth Brooks singing “A replay of last night’s events roll through my mind, except a scene or two erased by sweet red wine” in Callin’ Baton Rouge or the entire Deana Carter song Strawberry Wine. The stars have aligned this year for the perfect romantic/wine centric week.

We all know Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14, but did you also know that Feb. 18 is National Drink Wine Day? Valentine’s Day is a Tuesday and a perfect excuse to carry over into the weekend. Gents, this is the type of planning that garners “Husband of the Year” credentials. I’m going to help you rock this holiday and roll it into the weekend.

First of all, Valentine’s Day. You’ve got two options: go out for a nice dinner or stay in and cook. Luckily, there are some great restaurants in town with specials on Valentine’s Day and they also usually bring in some special wines or have a specialty cocktail for the day. But don’t wait to make your reservations. A few of my favorite date night places are Wine Country Bistro, 2Johns Steakhouse, Lucky Palace, Zocolo, L’Italiano or Frank’s.

If you decide to stay in, go to your favorite wine guy or gal and tell them what your spouse’s and your wine preference is. Are you going to try something different or grab a bottle to reminisce over? I know a wine my parents always talk about from when they were dating is Chianti. It always says a lot to pop the cork on a bottle and use it as a time machine to get back to that one time. Grab a bottle and get to planning that meal.

What will really push it over the edge is letting them know you are going to celebrate twice this week. On National Drink Wine Day (Saturday), you’ll be able to pull out another great bottle or get dolled up again to hit the town. We are lucky to have multiple great wine shops in town as well as some restaurants with stellar wine lists. If you decide to get out of the house, take the opportunity to grab some appetizers at a new or favorite spot and ask your server to pair wines with them. Tailoring your wines to your food is an amazing way to create a memory of a special night.

But what do you do if you’re single? Celebrate National Drink Wine Day! I feel like it was created just to give us another excuse to drink wine, as if we needed one. “How to?” you ask? Throw a wine party and say the entry fee is a bottle of wine. You could even make it educational by putting a $20 limit on it and specifying a region for the wine to come from or grape varietal for it to be. It will provide a comparison of producers throughout an area or just show you how different wine makers use this one grape.

Whichever way you decide to celebrate, it’s the perfect reason to pick up a bottle or two.

Judd Smith is a local wine enthusiast who also works as Cadre Hospitality Group’s beverage director. To read more from Smith, check out his blog at