Wine for Your Holiday Table

Are you still full from last week’s big dinner? Or, are you already looking forward to more feasts coming up this season? If the latter, planning wine for your holiday table is not as hard as you might think. To get you primed for the next event, let’s review what is freshest in memory: Thanksgiving.

Plate and Glass Surprises

The weekend before Thanksgiving, our Sheldrake Point Winery event Goes Good with Turkey explored classic Thanksgiving dishes with five of our Sheldrake Point wines:

The Menu

Tasting events in our Vintage Room occur throughout the year! Check out our events page...

Tasting events in our Vintage Room occur throughout the year! Visit our events page…


Acorn squash risotto, made with squash harvested from our secret garden!

Duchess root vegetables

Cranberry sauce

Apple crisp

(Click each to see our recipe!)

The Wines

2015 Gamay Noir
2015 Dry Rosé
2015 Pinot Gris
2014 Gewürztraminer
2014 Ice Apple


Our secret garden kept giving this season, so we shared our bounty!

Pairing Notes

  • While we have always assumed that Gamay is a go-to for pouring with Thanksgiving turkey, our tasting event guests decided otherwise. No one cared for this combination, and even our winemakers Dave and Julia were not crazy about it.
  • The standout and most surprising pairings were, by far, with the fresh cranberry sauce. This recipe almost didn’t make the cut for our menu due to the extreme flavor profiles involved —tart cranberries and tangy orange peel. In the end, we decided that since most Thanksgiving tables include a dish of cranberry sauce, then we should, too. Our guests loved it with both the Ice Apple wine and the Gewürztraminer, both owing to the high acidity of the cranberry sauce being complimented by the high residual sugars in the wines.
  • Another surprise was how the Duchess root vegetables transformed the Gamay Noir experience. The flavor profile of Gamay is never perceived as ‘creamy.’ Yet, somehow, the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, pear, and cream mash softened our Gamay on the palate.
  • The subtle, creamy baked squash risotto paired best with the Dry Rosé, Gamay, and Pinot Gris.

Bubbles Go With Everything

nydrinksny_thanksgiving_09-postcardThese surprises are exactly why we hold tasting events! If you are looking for more guidance on choosing wine for your holiday table, check out this graphic from and (Click the image to expand.)

And, try these hints:

  • Sparkling wines are extremely versatile. The bubbles are palate-cleansing and refreshing, especially with salty or deep-fried dishes. Plus, fizz makes people smile. While Sheldrake Point Winery does not produce a sparkling wine, there are plenty of stellar bubbles available from other Finger Lakes producers.
  • Fruity white wines, such as Riesling, are classically versatile and can match nearly every dish’s acidity, spiciness, or texture.
  • If you prefer red wines, Pinot Noir, Barbera and Gamay classically pair with a diverse assortment of foods. At the heavier end of the spectrum, Syrah and Nebbiolo also are good choices.

The Perfect Wine For Your Holiday Table Is What You Like


Open red, white, rosé, sparkling—an array of wines will please all guests at your holiday table.

Exploring food and wine flavors is the only way to know how best to pick wine for your holiday table.

It is not just about “what goes with turkey,” or ham, or duck, or lasagna, or whichever dishes are on your menu. Your holiday table is also laden with sauces, spices, textures, and the various flavors that make up your holiday table traditions.

So, think of holiday feasts as opportunities to explore wine and food flavors. Open a wide assortment of wines that will go well with the variety of dishes on your holiday table. If you and your guests like it, then it is a good pairing!

If you missed our Goes Good With Turkey tasting event, there are more opportunities to join us for special pairings! Click over to our events page to see what’s coming up.

Born and raised in the Finger Lakes, Whitney has always been passionate about the region.  She attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she earned her degree in English and Education.  After a tasting room position at a local winery, she traveled to California, New Zealand, and Washington State to work harvest and gain production experience, returning in early 2015 to join the Sheldrake Point team.