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Wine and Food Pairing Ideas for Thanksgiving

Since the early days of our country, Thanksgiving has been a wonderful time when family and friends come together to share and express their appreciation for their time together, and all that life has provided.

And, since the beginning, our attention has been focused on the food and drink we prepare and share.

For this Thanksgiving, Wheeler Farms of Napa Valley offers some expert Thanksgiving wine and food pairing ideas that are sure to heighten the pleasure and enjoyment of the season.

Choosing the Right Wines

If a Thanksgiving meal consisted of only a single main dish, a side, and a dessert, choosing the best wine and food pairing would be pretty straightforward. However, a Thanksgiving dinner is often a “feast” consisting of several core items like turkey, ham, pork roast, or fish accompanied by yams, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, and other desserts,

Which wine and food pairing works best with this “mash-up” of savory, sweet, fried, and salty flavors? Perhaps more than one wine selection is appropriate.

Choosing a Red Wine

For your wine and food pairing, single-vineyard red wines should possess reasonably mild tannins that support rather than overpower the meal’s flavors. Options include Pinot Noir, Syrah, or Zinfandel instead of the richer, more intensely flavored Cabernet Sauvignons.

White Wine Suggestions

A well-balanced white wine, neither too sweet nor too acidic, is the ideal choice for most Thanksgiving meals. These can include a Riesling, Gerwürtztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Albariño.

Champagne, Rosé or Sparkling Wines

If you are determined to serve only one wine for Thanksgiving dinner, a Sparkling Wine or Champagne might be the best choice. An extra dry Sparkling Wine offers a fruitier, more compatible flavor than a “brut” label. While these options are synonymous with celebration and festive occasions, your choice may possess some degree of acidity without overpowering the flavors of the food.

An extra dry Rosé is another option that can serve well as a single wine and food pairing for your Thanksgiving menu.

Fortified Wine with Dessert

Whether it’s pumpkin, pecan, apple, or other Thanksgiving pie or dessert, a Port or Cream Sherry can be a natural choice for after-dinner enjoyment. The flavors should blend nicely with these desserts’ spicy and sweet character.

Visit Wheeler Farms in Yountville

Today, widely respected as one of Napa Valley’s premier wineries, Wheeler Farms is situated on one of the region’s most historic estates. The winery’s legacy reaches back to the second half of the 19th Century when the Wheeler Family first arrived to stake their claim as one of the prominent pioneering families in the area’s wine industry.

Wheeler Farms offers its superior single vineyard wines, produced in their state-of-the-art winery, under their signature label, J.H. Wheeler, a name that refers to one of the prominent leaders of that pioneering family. The single vineyard wines are aged in barrel cellars at ideal wine aging temperature and humidity levels.

The Wheeler Farms winery and vineyards are managed sustainably with a focus on producing excellent single-vineyard wines from grapes that express the unique terroir of historic Napa Valley.

Make your reservations for a delightful culinary experience designed by the Estate Chef Tom Harder and a specially curated wine tasting of four select J.H. Wheeler wines by completing the Reservation Request on the winery’s website.

For groups and special accommodations, interested parties may reach out to Stephanie Farmer, Wheeler Farms’ Director of Membership and Customer Relations, by phone at 1-707-200-8500 or email at


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