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Wines Add to a Great Thanksgiving Celebration: Choosing Wine for an American Holiday

Published by Damon Gillingham

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Thanksgiving Day is a national annual holiday, declared by Abraham Lincoln in the Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863. The first Thanksgiving feast was held in the Massachusetts colony in 1621. To honor the historic nature of Thanksgiving be sure to consider serving wines produced here in the US.

Sparkling Wines and Champagnes for Thanksgiving

There are many flavors during the Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, spicy dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green salad and pie. Is there a particular wine that will go with all of these flavors? It may be good to serve a sparkling wine or Champagne with this festive holiday dinner. Some excellent sparkling wines/Champagnes are produced in the US. Yes, some wineries in the United States are allowed to use the word Champagne because they are grandfathered in. Consider brut sparkling wines. Anyone looking for an unusual Champagne may want to consider Almondage produced by Thornton Winery in Temecula Valley. This Champagne has a light almond flavor. Other Champagnes to consider are Blanc de Blanc or Blanc de Noir.

Cranberry Fruit Wines

Winemakers produce some stunning wines using a variety of everyday fruits. For Thanksgiving consider a cranberry wine. Surprisingly Wisconsin and Michigan are two states that are sometimes overlooked for their production of cranberries. These states have wineries that produce cranberry wines. Be sure to check out wineries in any of the cranberry producing states for a cranberry wine. The most difficult part in choosing a cranberry wine is choosing between a tart and sweet cranberry wine. Some of these cranberry wines begin with a sweet taste and end tart.


There are many types of meads available. Frequently mead has fruit added for additional aromas and tastes. Wineries that focus on meads include Montezuma Winery in New York, Earle Estates Meadery along Seneca Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region and Meadery of the Rockies in Colorado.

Red Wines

Turkey dinners tend to be heavy meals. With mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, turkey and additional side dishes. A heavy bodied red wine may be too much so consider a light red wine perhaps a Sangiovese or Chianti.

White Wines with Turkey

Many dishes on a Thanksgiving table pair well with a white wine. Consider choosing a Riesling or Viognier. Dry and semi-sweet white wines are available.

Wine Price

Consumers may be are worried that the wine they choose must be expensive; that is not necessarily true. For those who feel the need to impress people, consider serving a good, inexpensive wine in a decanter rather than the wine bottle itself. After everyone comments on the good quality of the wine pull out the bottle. What a find!

Purchase an Extra Bottle of Wine

Seldom is a wine faulty, however since most wineries and wine shops are closed on Thanksgiving Day you may want to purchase an extra bottle of wine to have on hand in the event you have a corked wine. For those who are still stymied by what wine to purchase for Thanksgiving, visit a nearby winery and do a tasting. Upon tasting the wine that would be perfect for Thanksgiving, it can be purchased immediately.

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