I like to post my annual Thanksgiving wine recommendations in the prior week, so people have time to read them and then shop for them.

 As a locavore and also as a historian, I promote drinking locally, especially since Thanksgiving is an East Coast American tradition. Here are a couple of guidelines if you plan to observe Thanksgiving with a traditional menu:

  • You can find the best wine matches for the traditional menu with East Coast/Midwest wines instead of West Coast/European wines. 
  • Think “ABC”, or “anything but Chardonnay and Cabernet.” You need vibrant, fruity wines with good acidity to match the rather heavy/fatty Thanksgiving fare, and reds should be low tannin varieties like Chambourcin, Norton, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir or Gamay.
  • Look for wines made from these varieties:


For vinifera (European grape varieties), I recommend:

  • Riesling
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Viognier
  • Petit Manseng
  • Pinot Gris (not grigio)
  • Vermentino

For white hybrids, I recommend:

  • Traminette (a hybrid from Cornell University; one parent is Gewürztraminer, the other is a Seyve white French hybrid)
  • Vidal blanc (a long-standing French hybrid that does well from the Midwest to the East Coast, making an aromatic Loire Valley-style white wine from dry  to dessert-style)
  • Diamond (also known as Moore’s Diamond, an old American hybrid that is delicately floral/aromatic and can make elegant wine from dry to sweet styles)


 For vinifera (European grape varieties), I recommend:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Gamay (Noir)
  • Blaufränkisch/Lemberger (an Austrian grape with boysenberry-like fruit, low tannins but bright, fresh acidity)

For red hybrid grapes, I recommend

  • Chambourcin (long-standing French hybrid making dark-colored reds with bright red cherry aromas and flavors and fresh acidity, like a hybrid version of Gamay)
  • Norton/Cynthiana (“Virginia’s grape”, an accidental hybrid that is ¼ vinifera, with unique and assertive dark plum flavors and fresh acidity)
  • Chancellor (seen more in Michigan and New York than in the Mid-Atlantic, with nice black cherry and berry flavors, moderate to low tannins and balanced acidity).
A few of my 2022 Thanksgiving wine recommendations

Specific Wine Recommendations


  • Veritas Vineyards Sparkling Rose NV, Monticello, VA (Cab Franc, Merlot)
  • Dr. Frank Celebré Riesling NV (semi-dry)


  • Atwater Vineyards Dry Rosé Finger Lakes, 2021(69% Cab Franc, 31% Blaufränkisch)
  • Barboursville Vineyards
  • Dr. Frank Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, 2021
  • Dr. Frank Dry Rosé Finger Lakes, 2021 (Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, Blaufränkisch/Lemberger)
  • Hector Wine Co. Gewürztraminer, Finger Lakes, 2020
  • Hector Wine Co. Pinot Gris, Finger Lakes, 2020
  • Horton Vineyards Viognier Barrel Select, VA, 2020
  • Keswick Vineyards Viognier, Monticello, VA, 2021
  • Keuka Spring Humphrey’s Vineyard Finger Lakes, 2021
  • Merrie Mill Rosé, Monticello, VA, 2021 (Merlot/Cab Franc)
  • Merrie Mill White Blend, Monticello, VA, 2021 (Chardonnay, Viognier, Petit Manseng)
  • Ox Eye Vineyards Traminette, Shenandoah Valley, VA, 2020
  • Pippin Hill Vineyards Petit Manseng, Monticello, VA, 2021
  • Rockbridge Vineyards Traminette, Virginia, 2019
  • Valley Road Winery Destana, Monticello, VA, 2021
  • Veritas Vineyards Momentarius White, Monticello, VA, 2021 (blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Petit Manseng)
  • Weis Dry Rosé, Finger Lakes, 2021


  • 12 Ridges Vineyards Riesling, Virginia, 2021
  • DuCard Vineyards Gibson Hollow White, Virginia, 2020 (Traminette-based blend)
  • Dr. Frank Muscat Ottonel, Finger Lakes, 2021
  • Lakewood Vineyards Semi-Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, 2020
  • Weiss Vineyards Semi-Dry Riesling Finger Lakes, 2020
  • Weiss Vineyards Winzer Select Riesling “K” Finger Lakes, 2021 (1% R.S.)


  • Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir, Virginia, 2021
  • Dr. Frank Blaufänkisch, Finger Lakes, 2019
  • DuCard Vineyards Norton, Virginia, 2020
  • Lakewood Vineyards Lemberger (Blaufänkisch), Finger Lakes, 2020
  • Ox Eye Vineyards Pinot Noir, Shenandoah Valley, VA 2019
  • Point of the Bluff Blaufränkisch Reserve, Finger Lakes 2020
  • Keuka Spring Blaufänkisch Finger Lakes, 2020


  • Ankida Ridge Patina, VA 2015 (solera-aged white port-style)
  • Barboursville Malvaxxia, VA 2018
  • Rockbridge V d’Or 2018