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Best Wine with Turkey: 8 Wines for Thanksgiving (2023)

After weeks of prepping and planning the perfect meal, it’s time to pick the best wines for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, there isn’t just one best wine with turkey, there are lots of wine options for your Thanksgiving meal. I promise you can’t screw it up. This Thanksgiving Wine Guide will not only help you choose the best wines that pair with turkey, but the wines that suit YOUR specific Thanksgiving table. We’ll go through how to pick the right Thanksgiving wine for your guests, your budget, and to go with all the fixings, not just the best wine with turkey.

best wine with turkey
There are a vast array of flavors on a Thanksgiving table. There’s a wine for all of them.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Even though I haven’t lived in the United States for over 9 years, I still host Thanksgiving here in Crete. I love it! I do a very traditional American Thanksgiving meal even though growing up we put a Greek twist on it with spanakopita, dolmades, and lamb. Every year I carefully choose the wines I’ll serve with our Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings. After all, if my guests are going to a sommelier’s house for Thanksgiving, their expectations are high and the turkey wine pairing better be good! 

Since declaring to my family at 21 that I was a wine expert (I wasn’t then, debatable now) I was tasked to pick the wines for Thanksgiving. My first attempt was a complete disaster! Keep reading to avoid the mistakes I made. Here are a few tips and tricks to find the right wine for your Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving wine guide

Thanksgiving Food and Wine Pairing

Consider your guests

The #1 rule with food and wine pairing is to drink what you like. My first year I chose a bunch of different wines that no one in my family ever drinks or even ever heard of. I thought I was such a sophisticated wine connoisseur. Only the most obscure wines would do. I was a total snob. And like most wine snobs, it was because I was clueless. Ha! Lordy have I made plenty of wine mistakes in my life.

wines for thanksgiving

My aunt only drinks California Chardonnay. Did I buy any California Chardonnay? Nope, I did not. Why? Because the internet said that another wine paired better. My parents like wines that are a little sweet but I picked all bone-dry wines for our Thanksgiving meal. Everyone ended up drinking cocktails or beer. I ended up drinking those wines for the rest of November. 

If some of your guests are not adventurous wine drinkers, first, send them my way, and second make sure you include the wine that they are sure to love. The pairing doesn’t have to be perfect. Let it go. Thanksgiving feasts have such an array of flavors that it will match with at least some of the dishes. 

Best Wine with Turkey

The best wine with turkey will be light to medium-bodied with a fair amount of acidity. The basic wine pairing principle is that the wine and food should match in weight. Turkey is rather light so therefore goes best with a lighter wine. A bold wine will overpower turkey. Acidity is a key element in food and wine pairing. Acidity cuts through grease, fat, and oil and cleanses the palate. However, turkey isn’t the only thing on a Thanksgiving table. The best wine for Thanksgiving should also pair well with many different foods as well.

Turkey isn’t the only thing to consider when pairing wine for Thanksgiving dinner.

Best Red Wines for Thanksgiving

Geeky Wine for Thanksgiving- Beaujolais

If you do want to show off a little bit with your Thanksgiving wine pairing, try a red wine from Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a region of France, south of Burgundy that makes light to medium-bodied fruity wines from the Gamay grape. The herbs and spices of the turkey and stuffing are going to love the deeper character of Beaujolais. Heck, you can even go for a Beaujolais Nouveau to start things off. 

Safe Wine for Thanksgiving – Merlot

Merlot is a safe choice for red with for Thanksgiving. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Merlot. I mean, there are the haters, but deep down, everyone loves Merlot. Merlot has plenty of fruit, structure, and appeal to keep it going from appetizers to the main course. Try one from Washington state. 

Most Versatile Wine for Thanksgiving- Pinot Noir 

Pinot Noir has a great savory character to match up with the turkey and all the sides. Pinot Noir is a mainstay on a Thanksgiving table. It’s especially good with gravy! Mmm… now I want some mashed potatoes and stuffing. Why do I only make stuffing once a year!!! 

What Wine I’ll Be Serving for Thanksgiving: Grenache

Grenache will always taste and smell like cranberries to me. Need I say more? It’s pretty perfect. The tart red fruit character was made for your Thanksgiving table. I’m super lucky that my best friend makes a delicious Grenache from right here in Crete. She can’t cook for shit, so that’s her yearly Thanksgiving contribution. Sorry, Alexandra! 

White wine is a natural with poultry and vegetable dishes.

Best White Wines for Thanksgiving

Geeky Wine for Thanksgiving- Gewurztraminer 

One of the best wines with turkey is Gewurztraminer. It’s hard to say, but easy to drink for Thanksgiving. An off-dry Gewurztraminer is the bees knees for your Thanksgiving meal. It’s very aromatic, spicy, and herbal. It brings out the best parts of the turkey and side dishes. Gewurztraminer can take you from the salty appetizers to the sweet desserts.  

Safe Wine for Thanksgiving- Sauvignon Blanc

A safe white wine for Thanksgiving is Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a wine everyone can enjoy and a wine that goes great with turky. Sauvignon Blanc is easy to find even at your local supermarket. Sauv Blanc has a great citrusy character that acts as a palate cleanser between heavy and light dishes. Sauvignon Blanc with a little bit of oak (look for the word Fume on the label) can hold up to the heavier dishes, too.  

Most Versatile Wine For Thanksgiving- Riesling

Riesling with it’s great acidity can hold up to anything on a Thanksgiving table. While I would recommend a dry trocken Riesling from Germany, there’s plenty of dry version being made in the northwest corner of the United States. Rieslings have a great fruit character, plenty of acidity, and complements turkey particularly well.     

What White Wine I’ll Be Serving for Thanksgiving- Vidiano 

I introduced my other winemaker friend to his American wife, so needless to say he owes me. Therefore he always brings me wine. He happens to make my favorite Vidiano that also happens to be the perfect wine with Thanksgiving dinner. Vidiano is a white grape with medium body, medium acid, and medium aromatics native to Crete. It’s impossible not to like it. It’s also a very versatile food wine. A little oak ageing gives it enough body to hold up to the sauces, gravies, and buttery mash potatoes. 

How much wine do I need for Thanksgiving?

Now that we’ve figured out what wine we’re serving for Thanksgiving, we need to figure out how much to buy. There’s a lot to take into consideration here. How many people are you having? Will you be serving a signature cocktail as well or wine only? How long do you expect people will stay? Are your friends and family drinkers?  

Of course, it’s better to have more wine than to run out. Buy extra but open them up as needed- do not open all the wine in case you don’t use it. A rule of thumb is a glass per person per hour of the event. If you want to keep it simple, stick to one type of white wine and one type of red wine. Get at least two bottles of each and add on as your guest list grows.  If you have 10 people over for Thanksgiving and it’ll go for 3 hours, you’ll need at least 6 bottles of wine. Round up or down based on your guests’ drinking habits and what else you plan on serving for drinks.

Grab these adorable Thanksgiving Wine Charms so everyone can keep track of their glass.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your questions about the best wine with turkey. Feel free to add more questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to help you pair wines with your Thanksgiving meal.

Can you drink red wine with Turkey?

Of course! Rule #1 is always drink what you like. But Rule #2 is make sure the wine and the food are in balance. If you would to drink a red wine with turkey, choose a light to medium body red like Gamay, Pinot Noir, or a medium body Merlot.

How much wine should I buy for Thanksgiving?

A good rule of thumb is to buy more than you think you need. Just be sure not to open all the bottles at once. Open them as you need them. Have your whites and roses ready in the fridge for the ideal serving temperature and your red wines on standby. Aim to have at least a half a bottle per guest, for example- 10 guests, get 5 bottles. Know your guests. If your guests tend to drink more, then buy more. Have a white and red option. If you do open up too many bottles, here is how long wine lasts opened.

Thanksgiving Wine Guide
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4 thoughts on “Best Wine with Turkey: 8 Wines for Thanksgiving (2023)”

  1. Anna – I’m really enjoying your wine unraveling! The Thanksgiving post is my favorite so far How do I get the Vidiano?!!

    1. Hi Elaine!
      So good to hear from you.
      That particularly Vidiano might be hard to come by. It’s Dourakis Winery “Lihnos”
      Check out They have other Vidianos to choose from and they ship around the country.
      Be well!

  2. ok I have been in a wine rut and keep buying the same wines which have become our “house wines.” Can’t get my hands on the local red I like so buying some grenache based on your recommendation! xoxo

    1. When that happens I circle back to what I drank years ago. When was the last time you had a Sancerre or Provence Rose? Try a new country… Austria? Gruner Vetliner? Zweigelt! You’re lucky that you can find everything in NY..

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