Sure, you can buy plenty of wine, beer, spirit or hard seltzer Advent calendars for the holidays. But if you don’t want to face the crowds at stores, or you’re crafty and prefer to do things yourself, check out these DIY Advent calendars. Each festive option has 12 or 24 slots for mini or full-size bottles of wine, beer, spirits and more.
Once you create your perfect calendar, all you need to do is fill it. To that end, you might want to consider some of 2021’s best wines for $15 or less.
1. For the DIY Purist:
12 Bottle Cube-Stack Wine Rack
This DIY Advent calendar is two gifts in one. First, fill the rack with 12 bottles. Then, hang these festive ornaments on the bottle necks to count down the days. To make sure there’s absolutely no peeping at what’s to come, you can cover the exposed sides in wrapping paper. As an added bonus, when the holidays are over your giftee will have a wine rack to use all year.
2. For the Drinker Who Thinks Outside the Box:
Burlap Wine Bags
This isn’t your typical Advent calendar, but five color options allow you to mix and match to perfectly fit your holiday aesthetic. Each sack also comes with a tag where you can write when the bottle should be opened and some notes about the wine inside. When the burlap bags are full, line them up on a mantle or hang them from the individual balusters of a stairway for extra festive decorations. Another perk? The bags can be reused year after year.
3. If You Love to Add a Personal Touch:
Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
This handmade, wooden Christmas tree advent calendar is ripe for customization. Leave it as is, paint it to match your holiday décor or add some lights. No matter what style you choose, make sure you tag the bottles with these equally festive gift tags.
4. If You Want a Little of Everything:
Fill Your Own Wine and Beer Advent Calendar
‘Tis the season to celebrate your favorite things, and this Advent calendar allows you to give the gift of mini wine bottles, beer, spirits and hard seltzer. To help you get started, check out some of our favorite canned cocktails and gluten-free beers.
5. For the Spirits Enthusiast:
Grape Juice Mom Advent Calendar
Designed to look like a Christmas tree decked out in lights and ornaments, this DIY Advent calendar will spice up any holiday mantle. There are 12 perforated slots that can store bottles that are shorter than five inches. With all the extra spirits on hand, you’ll probably want to make some cocktails. Make sure to check out the essential tools every home bartender needs.
Now that you’ve got the calendar, it’s time to fill it. Here are some of the best bottles for $15 or under to try.
A delicate color in the glass, this blend of 56% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 13% Syrah and 1% Petite Sirah pops with bright raspberry, crushed rock, turned earth and lilac aromas on the nose. The palate is tense with rocky edges and yet zesty with pomegranate and strawberry flavors. Best Buy. —Matt Kettman
Honeysuckle, juicy apple and a touch of white peach all come through in a round and smooth wine with instant appeal. The finish remains bright and tangy. The back label indicates this is medium sweet, but it is so perfectly balanced between sugar and acid that it seems just barely off dry and could well accompany a spicy Thai noodle dish or other peppery entrée. Best Buy. —Paul Gregutt
This cherry-hued blend is fresh and modern. Despite some jammy characters, the strawberry and pomegranate fruits are bright and appealing, underpinned by floral and more meaty, savory spice tones. The juicy, silky fruit continues on the medium weight palate, held in place by talc-like tannins. Chill down slightly and drink with barbecue fare on a warm day. Delegat USA, Inc. Best Buy. —Christina Pickard
A generous Bartlett pear aroma and quite ripe flavors of pear and banana are accented by butter and vanilla notes in this full-bodied, well-balanced and smooth-textured wine. It’s one of many great values in Sterling’s current Vintner’s Collection line. Best Buy. —Jim Gordon
Once the reductive onion and seashell aromas blow off, the pungency of this quintessential Marlborough Sauvignon remains. The wine also offers citrus and tropical fruit along with more vegetal ones like shelled peas and tomato leaf. The palate shows a lovely balance of freshness and textural weight. Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits. Best Buy. —C.P.
This tasty red begins with intense aromas of blood orange, juiced red cherry, tobacco and thyme. There’s ample concentration to these tones on the medium-bodied palate, with fresh acidity and soothing tannins framing it all. This is a solid weekday red to enjoy solo or alongside pizza, pasta and other casual fare. Vineyard Brands. Best Buy. —Alexander Peartree
Soapy floral tones perfume flavors of preserved peach and white grapefruit in this vibrantly fresh, fruity Spätlese. Medium-sweet and forward in style, it’s a juicy white wine backed by squirts of tangerine acidity. Best consumed young. Wein Bauer Inc. Best Buy. —Anna Lee C. Iijima