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The Five Best Wines for Friendsgiving

The Five Best Wines for Friendsgiving

Three hands make a toast with Champagne and red wine. Champagne is an excellent Friendsgiving wine because toasting to friendship is a great holiday memory.

Do you need a quick and easy way to have a memorable Friendsgiving? Sharing a unique wine that’s both easy to find and versatile for food is the answer! Here are some of my favorite Friendsgiving wines.


Firstly, an All-American fall holiday calls for an All-American fall wine. Norton is a native hybrid wine grape, which means a native American grape hybridized with a european wine grape. the Okay, I’m probably Norton’s biggest fan, but its clove and cinnamon notes plus fresh dark berries make it simply amazing for Friendsgiving. This wine is especially common in the midwest, but not as much in the West where the warm climate can better support vitis vinifera (that is, original European) wine grapes. The wonderful folks at Jaramillo Vineyards introduced me to Norton when I started working for them and I’ve been a fan ever since. It’s a wine paradox—big, bold, and inky purple, but smooth and balanced on the palate (when you drink it).

Norton is overall just a cozy wine for Friendsgiving.


Im talking about full-bodied red Zinfandel and not White Zinfandel. (Though if you enjoy White Zin, this is a shame-free area. Winery Crasher celebrates the White Zin lovers!) Zinfandel is actually kind of similar to Norton: an inky All-American wine with spice and berry notes. The main difference is that Zin is a vitis vinifera grape. I personally find Zin to be a little lighter in body and has some earthiness to it. I discuss Zinfandel and its role in American wine history, as well as other awesome facts, in one of my latest posts. It’s been too long since I last enjoyed Norton, and it’s time I actually taste these two side-by-side.

Due to their spice notes and flavor profiles, both Norton and Zinfandel are fantastic as mulled wine! Mulled wine is the perfect treat for a fall Friendsgiving.
Mulled wine in a pot with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and oranges. Mulled with is an outstanding Friendsgiving wine.
I made mulled Norton for my brother and his girlfriend’s Halloween party last year.


This white wine, big in Sardinia, Italy, is unique and versatile. Because of its strong lemon, tropical fruit, and herbal notes, Vermentino pairs quite well with turkey, fresh cheeses, charcuterie, or roasted fall vegetables. Think of it as a lemony Sauvignon Blanc. But among the refreshing lemon, fresh cut grass, and basil flavors, there is one note that is a game changer and makes it worthy of fall: the pine nut finish. The finish, or aftertaste, is a wonderful flavor of pine nuts! Therefore, this balanced wine is rich and complex for fall food, but still refreshing, especially for a warmer climate. When the dog days of summer start finally getting cooler (like now), I’m telling you, Vermentino is a godsend.

Vermentino stands out as a both refreshing and hearty Friendsgiving wine!

Several friends make a toast, as if they're at a Friendsgiving event enjoying wine.
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash.

Champagne – the classic Friendsgiving wine.

Simply put, I don’t need to get into too much detail here. Every good Friendsgiving needs a toast. Whether that be to friends, what you’re thankful for, or simply making it through the year; the small luxury of a nice bottle of sparkling wine makes it all better! You don’t need to wait until New Year’s Eve to celebrate with a toast!

Three hands make a toast with Champagne and red wine. Champagne is an excellent Friendsgiving wine because toasting to friendship is a great holiday memory.
Have a little celebration to round out the year on a good note! (Socially distanced glass raising recommended.) Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash.


Pronounced vee-un-yay, this wine is going to be a sure hit among your friends at Friendsgiving. With peach, honey, and floral notes, Viognier is a rich wine that pairs great with foods like turkey, as well as rich fall vegetables–carrots, parsnips, turnips, butternut squash, pumpkin, etc. Call me weird, but the floral notes give that classy aroma perfect for fall reminiscing. Both Viognier and Vermentino are racy (acidic and refreshing), but have uniqueness to them that creates a hearty white wine.

Winery Crasher PSA: Be responsible!

Most importantly, I decided that I will end every holiday wine article with a friendly-yet-blunt reminder:


Let’s not lie about what’s happening; 2020’s been a hard year to say the least. With the pandemic, anxiety, and little social life, we’re desperate to have a sense of normalcy. That means you may party pretty hard during Friendsgiving, or any other fall/winter holiday.

I am begging you to make responsible choices.

Don’t drink too much. If you are drunk, or even buzzed, take a rideshare and consider staying put for the night. Don’t over-serve yourself or others, and never pressure people into drinking alcohol. Make sure your friends are okay, and hold people accountable if they think tonight is the night to take advantage. And if you think it’s okay to take advantage of drunk people, I sincerely recommend you consider seeking professional help.

Seriously, don’t make 2020 worse for you and others!

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