Decking the Halls with Red and Green

In the immortal words of John and Paul, Beatles not Saints, "I get by with a little help from my friends," (With a Little Help From My Friends, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967). And that's exactly what we here at The Wine Shop will be doing this week, getting by with a little help from our friends at Eola Hills Wine Cellars.

We're halfway through Hanukkah and only four days until Christmas, as we do our Weekly Tasting this Wednesday. By this point, we can only assume your halls are decked with whatever kind of ornamentation suits your fancy. But whether you've got a ceiling-height Douglas Fir or a humble little Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, chances are part of your decorative aesthetic have a combination of the colors red and green.

But why these two colors? If you've ever wondered why these colors top the charts of the Christmas palette, here's the reason(s) they are associated with the Christmas Holiday: Originally they weren't! The ancient Celts, centuries ago, believed that holly plants brought beauty and good fortune in the middle of winter. So for the Winter Solstice they would outfit their homes with the red and green plants as a way to promote a prosperous new year. Over time, the Celtic habit of putting up red and green holly transformed into hanging red and green decorations as a whole. And thus, the idea of decking the halls with the merry colors became a passed down, well-known tradition across the world.

But wait a second. Doesn't Christmas have to with Christ, specifically his birth? Right you are! And that's why the early Christians adapted this Celtic tradition of the Holly plant and the wreaths made from it symbolize Christ's crown, with the red berries signifying droplets of his redeeming blood and the spiked holly leaves the thorns that encircled his head during the crucifixion.

Red and green also have a more modern and jolly significance as well. Are you ready for this? Keeping the red-and-green tradition alive is none other than... wait for it... Coca-Cola. Yes, you read that right. While the legend of Santa Claus goes back quite a bit and many depictions of him have existed over the years, it was in 1931 when the cola company hired Haddon Sundblom, a Michigan-born illustrator, to bring Santa to life in magazine ads. The result was a jolly, bearded man decked in red and white (his red outfit closely matching Coca-Cola's red shade), surrounded by verbiage bordered in green. Sundblom’s ads, which showed Santa drinking Coke, delivering presents, and interacting with children, ran from 1931 to 1964. It was these images that defined and solidified the Santa Claus American's conjure in their mind today.

So where does Eola Hills Wine Cellars come into all this? Well, simply put, Eola Hills has in the recent past gone through a marketing change, and with that their labels have also changed. Their Classic Willamette Valley Pinot Noir now has a large red P dominating the the side of the bottle, the P beginning the spelling of Pinot Noir. The Pinot Gris also has a large P on it, for Pinot Gris, but this one is in green. See a pattern emerging here? So yes, we will be celebrating the magic of the season with the festive red and green labels from Eola Hills Wine Cellars.

Rounding out the Tasting, because obviously we'll be enjoying more than just two wines, we'll have on hand the Eola Hills Patriot Red Blend and the Eola Hills Barell Select Reserve Pinot Noir.

Last minute gifts? Stocking stuffer ideas? A night off from the family? We got you! This Wednesday, the 21st, we'll be pouring some delicious Holiday cheer all the while staying within the Christmas color scheme! Join us from 5-7 for a holly, jolly gathering and taste some pretty spectacular Oregon wines.

We'll see you there!


The Wine Shop Team




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