By Stephanie Roberts
Founder and Wine Educator, Corks & Boards






Don’t let selecting wine for Thanksgiving Dinner stress you out


While the holidays are about gathering with our friends and family, we often incur a lot of pressure to prepare a homemade meal and serve it with perfectly paired wines.



First, the menu

I always start the planning process by sketching out the menu: appetizers, meat/protein, vegetables, other sides, bread, and dessert. I also identify the items that I’ll prepare/order vs what I ask guests to provide. This is such an important step as it dictates my favorite part of the planning…




Next, the wine

There are two options for selecting wine:  Serve what you/guests like,—an easy choice OR pair the wine with the menu—my choice! I know pairing may seem overwhelming but putting in a little effort significantly enhances the experience.


Here is an easy way to approach it:

Start with bubbles!


Bubbles are fun, festive, appetizer friendly and delicious! Cava or Prosecco are budget-friendly choices and Champagne being a fancy choice; however, my personal choice is rosé Crémant. It provides the quality and sophistication of Champagne without the price tag. Rosé Crémant from Burgundy or Alsace regions of France are made with Pinot Noir grapes. What I love about a rosé Crémant is that you can drink it throughout the evening as it also pairs well with turkey, ham and root vegetables.



White Wine

Image courtesy Total Wine


White wine is a perfect pairing for appetizers, vegetarian dishes or those who oppose red wine. Chardonnay is a safe choice, but why not try Grüner Veltiner (Austria) or a Rhône style white blend? These wines tend to have more body and complexity, an ideal match for holiday meals and the cold weather.






Red Wine

Image courtesy Total Wine


With so many choices and preferences, it can be quite intimidating. My red of choice for Thanksgiving is Pinot Noir, which complements rather than overpowers the meal. Pinot Noir from California or Oregon is a solid and safe selection, but why not pick something a bit more exciting from Beaujolais or Burgundy (the original home of Pinot Noir) or even a Zweigelt (Austria).





The experience

Personalize your wine choices by providing your guests with a story about each wine. How did you discover it? Why did you select it? Investigate what is distinguishing about the producer, region or grape varietal. This connects your guests to the wine, highlights your thoughtfulness in the selections and most importantly, sparks conversation elevating the entire holiday celebration.


Help is on the way!

Many wine retailers provide suggestions during the holidays, so bring your food menu and ask for help!



My selections

Alternatively, I’ve personally curated a Holiday Wine Selection that includes three wines – Crémant d’Alsace Rosé, Rhone style white blend (Paso Robles), Pinot Noir/Gamay (Burgundy).  This is perfect for any holiday get-together or gift giving. The selection is available at Old Town Public House (OTPH) in downtown Cornelius through the end of December for $67 (30% off bottle pricing) and includes a tasting and pairing card.

The Holiday Wine Selection available at OTPH through December. Photo courtesy of Kyle Scharf.



Stephanie Roberts, WSET® Certified, is passionate about educating people about wine and all its complexities. She believes that through education comes enlightenment and approachability – elevating the wine and food experience. Stephanie is the founder of Corks & Boards, offering unique and tailored wine experiences, and topic driven tastings/education. Furthermore, she has developed a wine education series that she will launch January 2020. She currently offers wine experiences and education to the Lake Norman community at Brick Row and Old Town Public House, and the Charlotte community at Camp North End and The Loyalist Market.