6 Thanksgiving Wine Strategies

Posted by: samy October 11, 2015 No Comments

Friends toasting wine glassesEat. Drink. Repeat.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, one of our favourite holidays of the year. To make sure we enjoy every last gravy-soaked drop of it, we adhere to a few wine strategies to keep us stress-free, awake and having fun until the last pumpkin pie crumb is gone.

Get Focused

When people come over to our houses, we like them to feel as welcome as possible. However, while we are definitely intent on being hospitable, there is a line to our generosity. We only offer one or two red and white wines, one style of beer for the non-wine drinkers and perhaps – but not always – a whiskey or Scotch for those hankering to put some hair on their chest. This is a dinner party after all, not a bar.

Break out the good stuff

We usually have about 12 people to entertain for the Thanksgiving dinner.

That’s not a small number, but it is small enough for us to feel a little flush and celebrate with wines that make us dig a little deeper in our wallets.

We’re not talking Petrus, here, but we are talking about wines that have been kicking around our cellars waiting for a time such as this, or picking up a favourite bottle at the store to savour while breaking bread with loved ones.

Why? This is a celebration, the occasions memories are made of. If we’re not going to break it out now, then when?

Related: 5 Splurge and Save Wines for Thanksgiving

Be Clear About Potluck

If you’re hosting a pot luck party, there’s nothing wrong with asking people to bring a bottle or two for the group.

When our friends ask if they can bring a bottle over, we’re very clear on what we’d like them to bring – right down to providing the product number. This may sound a bit condescending or harsh, but it actually stemmed from them. Knowing we’re sommeliers, they told us to do them a solid, and reduce the anxiety and stress about buying a wine for us. Now we skip the polite, but useless, pleasantries of “just bring whatever you think is best” and get specific about what we’re looking for. Works for them, works for us. And judging by the number of Facebook messages and emails we get asking about what you should bring to a dinner party, we suspect your guests would be grateful for a little guidance, too.

If you can’t bring yourself to be that ballsy, or you don’t even know what you are looking for, try giving them a ball park: “We’re having turkey with sage stuffing for the main course, so please bring a white wine to go with that.” Now your guests have something to go on and can ask the store clerk for guidance.

Don’t Go For Perfection

At the same time, trying to find that one, perfect, Thanksgiving wine is impossible – trust us. That’s why we suggest serving red and white and letting guests drink their favourites.

There’s so many flavours on the Thanksgiving buffet, so we like to go with a lighter and fuller bodied of each red and white wine. For example, this year we’ve lined up Riesling and Chardonnay for whites, and Gamay and a Super Tuscan Sangiovese/Cabernet blend for reds.

Related: 10 Great Wines for Thanksgiving

Low Alcohol Wines

Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint.

Considering most festive dinners of which we know begin in the afternoon and run into the night, there’s several hours of elbow-bending ahead. You don’t want to be the amateur who passes out on the coach before the turkey is served.

Also, many of you will have more than one feast to attend, so arriving at the second with the booze flu is no fun for anyone.

Consider serving lower alcohol wines in the afternoon, and reserving your big boys for the meal. Starting with low alcohol wines like Riesling, Gamay and Prosecco will keep you fresh, bright and classy for the day.

Numbers Game

We estimate guests (except for the designated drivers, obvs) will have 2 drinks in the first hour and 1 every hour after that, until the last hour when coffee is served. Our Thanksgiving bash usually starts with guests arriving in the late afternoon around 4pm and ends about 10pm. So for a 6 hour party, each guest will have about 7 drinks.

Leave a Reply