Wines for Thanksgiving and Holiday Entertaining from Across Pennsylvania

PA-made, nationally recognized wines like Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer go well with turkey – and impress without breaking the bank


HARRISBURG, Pa (Nov. 20, 2015) – You don’t have to search far and wide when it comes to finding excellent wines to pair with the cranberry sauce, candied yams and Thanksgiving turkey next week – or for the holiday parties soon to follow.

Pennsylvania-made and nationally recognized, wines like Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer are perfect complements to this season’s heavier, heartier meals. And not only are they readily available from the 200-plus wineries across PA Wine Land and through, but they’re also great conversation starters at holiday parties (“this is from where!?”) and for ringing in the new year.

For Thanksgiving dinner, avoid wines that are oaky and buttery, like Chardonnay. (If Chardonnay is a must, opt for a domestic unoaked vintage like the Paradocx Vineyards Haywagon Chardonnay.)

When it comes to keeping everyone at the table happy – from Grandma and quirky Aunt Dottie to your cousin Jake who’s home from college – you can’t go wrong with a Pinot Noir, according to Jesse Haik.

“First, you have so many great Pinot Noir options to chose from. That range of readily-available options is important when you’re looking for something to satisfy a lot of different guests and preferences,” said Haik, a manager at The Dime in downtown Allentown. “And while Pinot Noir is light enough for, say, salmon, it’s still complex enough to hold up against much richer meats like duck – or turkey.”

Haik himself prefers a medium-to-heavy Pinot Noir with turkey, but cautions that the wine can be overpowered if your family’s recipe for cranberry sauce is sweet or other foods on the table are very acidic. In that case, slightly drier wines like Riesling and Gewurztraminer, both aromatic whites with a little residual sugar, go well with poultry and will hold up against a bounty of side dishes.

Julie Ellis, executive director of Lake Erie Wine Country, agreed and said “don’t go any drier” than the Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Super-dry wines will die in the presence of all that sugar and fruit and salt, she explained.

Clover Hill Winery, Nimble Hill Vineyard & Winery and Seven Mountains Wine Cellars each make award winning dry Rieslings. Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery’s Gewurztraminer is excellent, as is Narcisi Winery’s 2014 Gewurztraminer, which is a perfect complement to poultry, wild game and strong cheeses. (For dessert, Ellis is a fan of Mazza’s Ice Wine of Vidal Blanc with hints of fig, honey, marmalade and apricot.)

Whether you decide to serve red or white with dinner, just make sure the wine is fruity.

To that point, sparkling wines – with their underlying fruit and acidity bubbling up – are also a solid, although somewhat non-traditional, choice, said Joshua Mast, co-owner of POSH at The Scranton Club. The former event planner for fashion mogul Kimora Lee Simmons points to examples such as 2013 Celebration from The Winery at Wilcox, and the Brut Rose (a Pinot Noir Rose) and Cuvee Chardonnay (more classical in style and crisper than the Brut), both from Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Kutztown.

And if your menu does include that bubbly, pick up a few extra bottles. New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, after all.


For more information, contact:

Matthew Vlahos, 267.687.0226 or [email protected]

Jennifer Eckinger, 717.234.1844 or [email protected]

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