It’s time for one of wine’s favorite holidays. Thanksgiving brings ample opportunity for wine pairings — there are tables filled with turkey, stuffing, casseroles, and more, with each family representing their culture and background through food.
With such a wide array of flavors and so many different preferences, it can be rough out there in this dizzying holiday wine-buying environment.
Fret not, though. We’ve compiled a list of wines that will make this Thanksgiving epic. From bubbly to still, all of the hues and many of the world’s leading winemaking nations are represented here for drinkers of all budgets.
Wines that tend to work well for Thanksgiving typically have bright acidity, are low in alcohol (it’s a long day), and offer flavors that complement the dishes, like red fruits and herbs. This year’s list features classic holiday bottles like juicy Gamay, peppery Cabernet Franc, and zesty Riesling as well as more unexpected picks that work just as well like brambly Blaufränkisch and spicy Schiava. Read on for the 30 best wines to drink this Thanksgiving.
Table Of Contents
Best Red Wines for Thanksgiving
Bedell Cellars Merlot 2020
This bottle from the North Fork of Long Island is one of the friendliest styles of Merlot for the Thanksgiving table. It has soft, concentrated fruit with a little weight to it. But it also showcases this coastal region’s signature breezy acidity that brightens up the wine on the palate. It’s a lighter side of Merlot that goes great with white meat.
Average price: $20
Field Recordings ‘Fiction’ Red 2022
Every Thanksgiving has a wonderful integration of individual cultures that come together at the dinner table. And this red blend right here is for the lasagnas in the room. It has a homey feel with soft fruit that’s a little rustic around the edges. There are notes of chocolate-covered cherries, raspberries, and a hint of earth. It’s like drinking your uncle Dom’s wine but with amazing balance and character.
Average price: $20
McIntyre Vineyards Kimberly Merlot 2018
This is a Merlot for the denser dishes. It’s such a beautifully structured wine with a plush core of fruit that’s deep and soulful. It’s the Merlot that will make you fall in love with Merlot again.
Average price: $24
Division-Villages ‘Les Petits Fers’ Gamay Noir 2022
This is Oregon’s answer to Beaujolais and it works so well. Division Winemaking Company was inspired by the fresh fruit characteristics of French Gamay and worked to emulate those characteristics in this wine, using semi-carbonic maceration to bring out the grape’s bright red fruit characteristics. Beyond the fresh, juicy flavors, this wine offers subtle earthy notes with a nice waft of pepper and herbs. Name a holiday dish. Yeah, this will pair with it.
Average price: $26
Abbazia di Novacella Schiava 2022
Schiava is a light-bodied red from northern Italy’s Alto-Adige region that deserves a spot on the holiday table. It’s extremely food-friendly with bright acidity and notes of red fruit, baking spices, and almonds. This wine could even do with a slight chill and still be delicious and expressive. It’s a great red to start off dinner with.
Average price: $27
Laura Lardy Fleurie ‘Les Côtes’ 2019
Due to Thanksgiving’s proximity to Beaujolais Nouveau day — as well as Gamay’s natural ability to pair with a myriad of dishes — Beajuolais has always been a popular choice for the holiday. And for good reason. This bottle from Laura Lardy is brimming with notes of raspberries, cherries, and dried leaves. It’s medium-bodied with a quenching acidity that can help keep you going in the all-day food-a-thon.
Average price: $30
Moric Blaufränkisch Burgenland 2021
Speaking of medium-bodied reds, Blaufränkisch from Austria is another great pick. The earthy, forest floor, and dark fruit characteristics of this wine are built for a meal like Thanksgiving. The palate has just enough natural acidity to lift the brambly, concentrated fruit notes.
Average price: $34
Dogwood & Thistle Shenandoah Valley Cabernet Franc 2022
This Cab Franc from Virginia brings tart, round, and juicy fruit with a big dollop of green pepper. If you like savory, this is it with an awesome pop of fruit. If you’re piling the cran sauce onto that bird, grab a glass.
Average price: $36
Scar of the Sea Topotero Vineyard Gamay 2022
This is a day to go all-in on Gamay. And this stellar single-vineyard example comes from the cool, ocean-influenced climate of California’s San Luis Obispo Coast. It has vibrant red berry and citrus notes with subtle flecks of pepper.
Average Price: $36
Outward Curtis Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2022
This Santa Barbara Cabernet Franc brings tart notes of strawberries and sour cherries. Cab Franc’s inherent green pepper notes are subtle and well integrated, adding the perfect savory edge to the wine. Dark meat, anyone?
Average price: $38
Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir 2019
This bottle from Moorooduc, a small, cool-climate region on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, shows the spicy side of Pinot Noir. The palate brings dark blueberry and blackberry fruit alongside notes of cloves, cinnamon, and cooking herbs that perfectly complement seasonal fall flavors.
Average price: $40
Hundred Suns Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir 2021
This wine will make you giddy with excitement. Earthy with ripe cherries on the nose and a palate that’s so balanced you may shed a quiet tear of joy. It’s OK, we aren’t looking, please keep enjoying your slab of white meat with this amazing Oregon Pinot.
Average price: $45
Ryme Cellars Grenache 2021
While Grenache can occasionally be high-alcohol and jammy, this example from Sonoma’s high-elevation Fountaingrove AVA shows off the grape’s lighter side. It opens with red berry notes and a zesty citrus tinge that floats out of the glass. The palate is perfectly balanced between punchy fruit, subtle tannins, and great acidity.
Average price: $55
St. Innocent Winery Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
An Oregon Pinot Noir with structure and style. It has fleshy fruit, a slight tannic grip, and a wonderfully long finish. This is one of the great American Pinots and it’s ready to match any of the dishes in front of you.
Average price: $70
Wentworth ‘Wentworth Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2021
This is a Pinot Noir that soaks into your palate, coating every corner with its elegant tannins and soulful fruit. It will make your mouth water for the next sip. There’s only one issue with this wine, and that’s having to share it.
Average price: $125
Best White Wines for Thanksgiving
Von Winning Sauvignon Blanc II 2021
A German Sauvignon Blanc for Thanksgiving? Uh… yeah. This herby and ginger-kissed wine is vibrant and balanced with a little added peach note. It can be a great pairing for appetizers or any fish dish.
Average price: $17
Hermann J. Wiemer Semi-Dry Riesling 2022
Having an off-dry wine on the table can help provide the perfect complement to the slightly sweeter dishes on the table. For example, this Finger Lakes Riesling is the perfect match for syrupy cranberry sauce or roasted sweet potatoes. What’s more is that this wine’s laser-like acidity will help balance all that sweetness and allow the dish to shine. It could also jive with apple pie or a cheese plate.
Average price: $20
Bernhard Ott ‘Am Berg’ Grüner Veltliner 2022
Babbling brook minerality with notes of lemon and a touch of cream. Sounds delicious, right? How about a citrusy palate with subtle herb notes and round fruit? We’re sold. If you haven’t had Grüner Veltliner yet, this is the place to start. Now pass the salad bowl.
Average price: $23
Köfererhof Pinot Grigio 2022
Pinot Grigio is a lighter white wine, but when it has this kind of texture it can hold up to appetizers, salads, or even seafood. It’s refreshing and mineral-driven with grippy acidity and a rich, fruity mouthfeel.
Average price: $34
Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2021
If you aren’t into the bigger styles of Chardonnay, then this is your wine. It has a wonderful slaking minerality swimming through the soft citrus fruit and blossoming acidity. Great for white meat and all the veggie dishes.
Average price: $36
Pax Lyman Ranch Chenin Blanc 2022
If there’s one white wine that can stand up to the holiday’s heavy sauces, it’s this California Chenin Blanc. It has baked orchard fruit and a dazzling minerality. There’s a good weight on the palate, but that weight is balanced by bracing acidity that will enhance any food you pair with it.
Average price: $38
Mayacamas Vineyards Chardonnay 2021
This Chardonnay perfectly toes the line between rich oak flavors and mineral notes, resulting in a wine with absolute harmony. It’s aged in used barrels, so there’s just a kiss of vanilla and baking spices — not a punch. The acidity is just right, and the palate provides a great creamy texture. The perfect wine to sip between bites of butter-covered mashed potatoes.
Average price: $58
Bergström Wines ‘Sigrid’ Chardonnay 2021
A Chardonnay that’s buttery and round with a toasty nose, but not from California. It’s an Oregon wine and the Willamette Valley’s cooler climate really lets Chardonnay’s natural acidity shine. It’s big and creamy while maintaining absolute balance. A great bottle to gift the holiday host.
Average price: $122
Best Sparkling Wines for Thanksgiving
Argyle Knudsen Vineyard Blanc de Blancs 2018
An American Sparkler from an Oregon winemaking pioneer. It has a rich nose with some lemon-zested almond biscotti aromas. The soft bubbles make the wine comfy with balanced, round fruit. If you’re frying anything up, this wine will cut through the fat.
Average price: $60
Champagne Chavost Blanc d’Assemblage Brut Nature NV
This is the perfect bottle of welcome bubbles to pour as guests arrive. Not only is this Champagne delicious, but it’s a great value for the price. Fresh apple aromas on the nose, and a crisp palate with good structure and active bubbles.
Average price: $60
Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé 2019
There’s always room for a sparkling rosé on the table, and this bottle from Gloria Ferrer is a winner. It’s creamy and effervescent with notes of cranberry and strawberry jam on the nose. The fruit on the palate is coating, but the soft, persistent bubbles keep everything refreshing.
Average Price: $62
Best Rosé and Orange Wines for Thanksgiving
Lieu Dit Santa Barbara County Rosé 2022
It’s no secret we think Cabernet Franc is a great pairing for Thanksgiving, as evidenced by the three great bottles previously mentioned on this list. But Cab Franc also works in rosé form for this meal. This bottle from Santa Barbara is delightfully herby with some green pepper notes and punchy fruit. It has a creamy mouthfeel with wildly active acidity. Pair this with the lighter fare to amplify the seasonal herbs and spices.
Average price: $25
Paraschos ‘Orange One’ 2019
This skin-contact blend of Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, and Malvasia from Friuli is a great pairing for all of the meats and sauces on the table. It’s layered and divine with complex notes of mint, rosemary, citrus, and a waft of almonds. The palate has a red-wine-like depth with a tannic edge. But the high acid keeps it from weighing the palate down.
Average price: $42
Best Sweet Wines for Thanksgiving
Vigna Petrussa Picolit 2016
Picolit from Friuli is only made in the highest-quality vintages, so it isn’t made every year. But when it is — it’s stunning. This wine is impeccably balanced and not cloying at all. There are notes of caramel and honey popping through the bright palate. Break out the cow’s milk cheeses; this one will blow your mind.
Average price: $60
Capezzana Vin Santo di Carmignano Riserva 2015
Go back in time with this Vin Santo. It’s the perfect pair for pecan pie or post-dinner cookies like almond biscotti. It’s dense and caramelized with a dollop of butterscotch and a viscous palate. E buono!
Average price: $67
What is the most popular drink for Thanksgiving?
While there’s no one drink or alcoholic beverage associated with the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, one might assume that wine, beer, and whiskey — specifically bourbon — are all widely consumed on Thanksgiving.
How do you pick wine for Thanksgiving?
To pick an appropriate wine or wines for Thanksgiving, consider first the type of meal you’re having. Will your spread feature turkey as the star? Or perhaps something less traditional, like chicken or a pork loin. Will there be Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce? Once you have a sense of the menu, picking a crowd-pleasing versatile wine that goes with most things (think Pinot Noir or Chardonnay) is your best bet. You also might consider your own wine preferences or the wine preferences of your guests. If you don’t particularly love Pinot Noir, or you know Aunt Christine prefers white wine, opt instead for a dry Riesling or rosé, or even a sparkling wine.
What wine goes best with Thanksgiving turkey?
In most cases, you can’t go wrong with a Pinot Noir or a Chardonnay when you have a Thanksgiving turkey in mind. But there are plenty of options, as this list demonstrates, for wines that can pair wonderfully with turkey.
Is white or red wine better for Thanksgiving dinner?
Because of its cornucopia of flavors and sheer abundance of food, Thanksgiving is a good time to offer both white and red wine, as different styles of both can pair well with the many dishes offered on Thanksgiving.
VinePair’s tasting methodology
Throughout the year, VinePair conducts numerous tastings for our popular Buy This Booze column, and wine and spirits reviews. Our mission is to provide a clear, reliable source of information for drinkers, providing an overview applicable to day-to-day buying and drinking.
Tastings are not typically conducted blind. In alignment with our reviews mission, we believe in purposefully tasting all products as our readers typically would, with full knowledge of the producer, the region, and — importantly — the price.
For Buy This Booze roundups, we typically include a maximum of one expression per brand, though we do allow multiple products from the same production facility (i.e., released under different labels).
For this Thanksgiving wines roundup, we considered a number of different factors before finalizing the list. Overall, we aimed to highlight the range of great wines available that work well for this particular holiday and the foods traditionally served as part of the Thanksgiving meal. While many might limit their selection to just red or white wines, it’s important to us to include options in the rosé and orange wine categories, as well as sparkling wines and dessert wines, all of which have been tasted and scored over the course of this year.