When you want to know the correct wine to serve, you should go to an economist.
Lynne Kiesling addresses the problem here: "Wine Recommendations For Holiday Entertaining".
In 2003 Professor Bainbridge served "Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs (California) 1999" at a party. In 2003 he also provided some wine notes for Thanksgiving - I'd bet these would work for Christmas as well: "Thanksgiving Wine Notes". And here is some advice on "Sparklers for New Years". Bainbridge devotes a whole blog to wine: "Professor Bainbridge on Wine". I'm sure the advice there is good.
Nobel prize winner Daniel McFadden has his own vineyard in Napa Valley. Kevin Courtney of the Napa Register reports:
"McFadden's neighbors in Soda Canyon know him not as a professor who
makes pronouncements on national issues, but as a man with a yearning
to make ever better wine. Growing grapes wasn't the idea when his
wife, a photographer, stumbled upon the Soda Canyon property in
1992. They simply wanted a country get-away. Banchero Vineyard had
begun winemaking there in 1880, but by 1992 all that was left of the
original operation was the stone base of the wine cellar. The
vineyards had long since disappeared. That was fine with McFadden. It
was enough that the operation had cows and chickens and some ancient
olive trees. "A little working farm," as he put it.
Two years later, a new friend at Atlas Peak Vineyards discovered a row
of over-ripe cabernet sauvignon and merlot fruit that had been missed
at picking. Did he want it? "I didn't know anything about it. I was
sort of thrown off the dock," said McFadden, who scrambled to buy and
learn the winemaking basics. "It turned out to be a marvelous
wine. It made a luscious, fruity, meaty wine," said McFadden, who soon
signed up for winemaking courses with his wife at UC-Davis. He
planted 3,500 vines on two acres, most of it in cabernet sauvignon
which he sells to Dave Cronin at Blackford Wines. He makes a barrel or
two for family use, lavishing extra care on his zinfandel. Ever the
academic, McFadden is one of the organizers of this year's annual
meeting of the Vineyard Data Classification Society, an international
group that focuses on the quantitative and analytic study of vineyard
and wine technologies.
McFadden has occasionally tried to marry his economic research with
his new interest in wine, with less than spectacular results. His
statistical tool, discrete choice analysis, showed how a restaurant
could sell more high-profit wine, he said. The trick is to charge the
same price as a wine of inferior reputation and lower profit margin.
Seeing the two choices next to each other on a wine list, diners will
feel compelled to buy the wine with the greater profit, he said. When
McFadden told this to a friend in the restaurant business, "He said,
'Tell me something I don't know.'" "