Choose the right wine for the occasion.
You want something light, portable, and easy to enjoy—and that goes well with cold fried chicken or fruit and cheese. But don't over-think the food part. Any of these wines will work wonderfully. Bonus points if they have screw caps (in case you forget the corkscrew).
- Pinot Grigio: Crisp, mild, refreshing, and all-purpose.
- Riesling: Romantic, fruity yet acidic; pairs perfectly with salami, cheese, and pâté.
- Pinot Noir: Velvety strawberry, lighter than your typical red, and food friendly.
- Chenin Blanc: Sweet and fruity with hints of pears, apricots, and melons.
Learn more about perfect-picnic wines.
Wine has now surpassed beer as America's alcoholic beverage of choice. Which makes it the perfect fit for an all-American tailgate. Whether your style is burgers and chips or brie and baguettes, there's a worthy wine for your tailgate.
- Red Zinfandel: Stands up to grilled meats and barbecue, and produced in America. Perfect.
- Shiraz: Food friendly; works with the grill or a surprise potluck. Be shameless; buy it in a box for portability. We won't judge.
- Cava: Spanish bubbly, it says “celebrate,” without the pretension.
Learn more about wines for tailgating.
The best party choices? According to Andrea Immer in her book Great Wine Made Simple, they are fruit-forward styles, which don't need to be served with a meal to shine. Set them out with a few corkscrews, and you can enjoy the party while guests help themselves.
- California Sauvignon Blanc
- Australian Chardonnay
- California Zinfandel
- Australian Shiraz
Australian winemaker Michael Scholz suggests starting with something light, then building up to more intense flavors as a meal progresses.
- Champagne or sparkling wine to start
- Pinot Noir with turkey
- Shiraz for a spicy follow-up
Learn more about holiday sips.
For Thanksgiving, focus less on the food (which will span the range), and more on the family. Here are a few suggestions.
- Pinot Noir: Food friendly and well loved by many. Choose one from Oregon.
- White Zinfandel, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, or Moscato d'Asti: Sweeter wines that are easier for less experienced drinkers to appreciate.
- Beaujolais: French wine from the Gamay grape that somehow charms both novice wine drinkers and connoisseurs.
- Italian Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese: Pinot Grigio is light enough to be a pre-dinner drink, and tart cherry Sangiovese is a refreshing counterpoint to heavier foods.
Learn more about wines for Thanksgiving.