The barrels were placed by the chimney with care. Photo via St. Nick's Winter in Woodinville.

As if there wasn’t enough gluttony happening this time of year, the season also brings a host of holiday barrel tastings and special events in wine country. First up, the 12th annual Saint Nick’s Winter in Woodinville event November 30 through December 2, the event that basically ushers in the holiday season for local wine folk.

Things kick off with a 5:30 tree lighting at Chateau Ste. Michelle on Friday, November 30 for the imbibing and nonimbibing alike. This wholesome affair is followed at 7 by a new Nick’s at Night tasting (yes, we get the reference) for just 200 people in the Chateau Ste. Michelle ballroom, so presumably the tree won't be the only thing that gets lit.

The 45 wineries pouring Friday night include some big names like Betz and EFESTE. Still more wineries throw open their doors for the traditional open house weekend. Some 40-plus wineries will be pouring special tastes—reserve wines, library wines, new releases—for revelers. Dusted Valley, for example, will pour the newly released 2011 chardonnay, while Woodinville newbie Lauren Ashton Cellars will be open for the first time and pouring the Proprieter's Cuvee.

Tickets for Friday are already sold out, but $65 gets you two days of tasting on Saturday and Sunday, and—new this year—coupons for 2-for-1 wine tastings, 15 percent off a case of wine, as well as other oeno discounts and swag. For those who only want to sip on Sunday, the price is just $50. 

Oh yeah, and do a seasonal good by filling the barrels as you empty them. Just about every participating winery will be acceptiong a nonperishable items to benefit Northshore YMCA.