7 Tips for Winning with Wine This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is special. How nice to have a major holiday that, instead of revolving around gift giving, revolves around sharing and caring. Surely, you never feel overwhelmed by the pressures of cooking, and, heaven forbid, selecting the perfect wine.


Well, if presenting your guests with your supermarket wine selection feels something like walking over hot coals, heed not. Here are 7 tips for winning with wine this Thanksgiving.


Wine doesn’t have to be complicated. It should be a source of enjoyment, not stress. And Thanksgiving is no exception to this rule: No expensive gadgets, crystal stemware, or obscure grape varieties required. Stick with what is comfortable.

Check your Gear

That being said, make sure you have what you need. A set of stemware, or stemless glasses, is a must. You don’t need to cash in your 401k to acquire a set of glassware, nor should you be concerned about having different glasses for each wine variety. The differences are actually nuance. Instead, consider setting the table with a single set of glasses with a significant bowl (to allow room for swirling), and a slight inward taper at top. When it comes to wine openers, choose what is most efficient for you, whether it is an electric gadget, a levered opener, or a classic waiter’s corkscrew. Also be sure you have a foil cutter that does its job, so as not to end up with shiny floaters in the glass.

Consider Diverse Tastes

Wine pairing is creative, not absolute – much like pairing a condiment with your meal. With a traditional Thanksgiving Feast, you have many great options – sparkling, rose, Gewürztraminer, dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, cru Beaujolais, Grenache, Syrah. You get the point. So diversify! Choose two or three bottles to satisfy everyone’s interests. And I should note, sparkling wine and dry roses are exceptionally versatile, and probably a better talking point than whatever has happened to your high school girlfriend.

Don’t Under-Budget

Confidently navigating a wine shop is the result of lots and lots of trial and error. But I do have one rule of thumb when I am looking to impress: Don’t spend less than $15 per bottle. Obviously, price doesn’t ensure that you’ll love it. But it does weed out lower-quality wines and increase the chances of picking a winner.

Ask for Help

With that said, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most wine shops have experienced staff wandering the aisles. And when I say experienced, I mean there is a good chance they were sitting there when the wine was tasted and selected for the shelves. So tap their knowledge, especially if you know you want a nice sparkling wine, Viognier, and Syrah for $20 a piece.

Have Enough On Hand

A single bottle of wine equals 4 or 5 glasses. And, lucky for you, unopened wine can be saved until your next 12-hour workday from hell.

Be Patient

Decanters and other such gadgets are all the rage and supremely classy. But decanters aren’t necessary to enjoy a nice bottle of wine. Wine is pretty cool, actually. As you sit and enjoy it and allow it to breathe, it will continue to blossom over time – allowing you, too, to breathe, and give thanks. Imagine that!

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