Two friends looking at recipes You’ve just finished your yoga class with your friend and the two of you agree it would be great to have a glass of wine together. Do you invite her back to your place? If so, which wine to serve?

The mother of your child’s playmate arrives to pick up her child. Do you invite her in for some vino? Which one?

The holidays are right around the corner, when unexpected guests will be the norm. Are you ready with your house wine?

If not, here are 5 tips on choosing a great house wine:

1. Why wine? Wine is important to have on hand because people like to confess and converse over wine. Wine is the new coffee during playmates or book clubs. I call wine at 5 p.m. ‘Mommy’s little helper.’

2. How many wines? Have at least one a couple bottles each of a white wine and a red wine on hand, with the white wine already chilled.

3. Which wines? Riesling and pinot noir both have a lot of flavour but are not heavy, so they appeal to many tastes. These wines tend to be low in alcohol since they flourish in cool climates where the grapes don’t acquire as much sugar (which converts to alcohol) as do grapes from warmer regions.

4. Riesling and the pinot noir also go with many dishes. Post-playdate bonus: Riesling is brilliant with Kraft Dinner, if you’ve got leftovers. It has the right amount of acidity (not a bad thing) to cut through rich dishes.

5. Both can be Canadian wines, as Canada excels at making them, so you can go local.

Here are my Top 10 House Wines as a shopping list.

The extra benefit of having some great house wines on hand is that when you get a last-minute invite to a friend’s house, you can bring a along a bottle and treat her. Leave the juice boxes for the kids and enjoy your wine at home.