If you learn only one thing from me, it should be this.. Four must have varietals around the holidays- Chardonnay, Champagne, Port (or Sherry) and a Red Blend. Be a savvy sipper and have some wine around the house that won't overwhelm your table or conversation. I do believe you should do your homework before you go out to pick up those wines. Whether you are casual drinker or want to get a hold of those 2011 cult cabernet sauvignons that are coming out on the shelves for the season, you need to consult with a few retailers. Wine retailers are not consistent and prices can vary with 10-60% markups. I was reminded of this last weekend, when I was out of town and found a great local wine that I wanted to bring back home. I had to go around to several stores, where the price varied from $15 to $26. My second piece of advice, buy in cases. It may not be advertised, but always ask your retailer if there is a case discount. Most stores offer 10-15% discount. There are so many great retailers that have helpful staff and are doing tastings, take advantage of these opportunities, but don't get distracted. Most will ask you what you are serving and if you have a varietal and country in mind. These questions will help you narrow down your search. Have fun, enjoy and experiment where you can.