If you’re new to this site, you may not know this, but we don’t really believe in “Thanksgiving Columns” around these parts — at least not in the traditional drink-this-because-it’s-perfect-with-Thanksgiving-dinner sense. I won’t bore you with my full argument against these popular (with writers, anyway) wine-writing crutches, but I’ll offer a brief, two-pronged reason why I personally dislike them and find them useless:

  1. Read 10 of these columns and you’ll get 10 sets of advice
  2. This fact kinda, sorta means that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ anything when it comes to Thanksgiving wines

So, instead of telling you what you should drink on Thanksgiving (who are we to tell you, anyway?), we’ve started a tradition of giving a glimpse of what people in the New York wine industry will actually be drinking on Thanksgiving. For added fun, we also invite them to share a bit of their own culinary (or other) traditions.

Without further adieu, here’s a glimpse into what our friends in the New York wine industry will be enjoying Thursday…

Kris Matthewson, Atwater Estate Vineyards Bellwether Wine Cellars 
So, my favorite drinks are perfect for Thanksgiving (pinot noirs, rieslings, hard cider, trappistes Belgian ales and Calvados).  Autumn and Thanksgiving foods are just screaming to be consumed with these beverages. After I got your email I started to collect my drinks for the big day. But, could not wait and started to drink some already.

Right now I have a couple of Finger Lakes pinot noirs — the 2011 Forge, 2011 Bellwether and a 2008 Ravines. For riesling we have the 2010 Atwater dry, 2009 Red Newt Lahoma Vineyard, and a couple from the Mosel. For Cider we recently got our hands on some Normandy Cider and a bretty Heritage Hard Cider From Bellwether that should be fun. The hard cider from Bellwether is not for sale to consumers, but I have a few cases and think it will go really well with some turkey. We have some Rochefort 10 and 8 as well as some Ommegang on the beer front. Then finishing the night off with the pumpkin pie  some Calvados From Domfrontais and Pays d’Auge.

Anthony and Lisa Sannino, Sannino Bela Vita Vineyard
Lisa and I are both first generation Americans born from parents born in Italy. Trying to have Italian immigrant parents conform to a traditional Thanksgiving menu is quite the challenge, but the turkey was easily accepted as the main course in our families. It must have been because it went well with the gallon jug of white screw-top wine on the floor next to pop’s chair in both our homes.

Stuffing was very unconventional in both our homes. On my side, I remember one family member stuffing the bird with a spaghetti Carbonarra mingled with tiny meat balls. When my mom made stuffing it was chopped meat, rice and peas, which didn’t even fit an Italian menu. On Lisa’s side it was Italian sausage meat sautéed with mushrooms. For years Lisa and I have kept her family tradition of using the Italian sausage meat and mushrooms but have also added chopped onion , garlic and bread crumbs. Lisa has also added a side dish of bread stuffing because our children have come to realize that most Americans have this on a Thanksgiving table.

Another tradition both our Italian families shared alike was that some kind of pasta dish would be Il Primo, or first dish. To this day we have also kept this tradition by making Il Primo a Bolonese-style lasagna. Our appetizers usually include crumbled Regiano Parmigiano cheese , cured Italian olives, dried sweet and hot Italian sausage and freshly made warm mozzarella. Some of our very traditional side dishes include candied yams, and a baked mashed potato smothered in mozzarella and breadcrumbs. I’m not sure now that the baked mashed is traditional American or Italian, maybe because the mozzarella sounds too Italian. As for wines we usually either open with our mulled holiday spice wine that we have been making for the past few years or close with it at dessert time. I usually serve and drink cabernet franc with the turkey and a steel-fermented chardonnay with the lasagna. My brother in-law prefers a glass of Chianti from start to finish, go figure.

Michael Croteau, Croteaux Vineyards
We have a rosé blend made specically for the fall and it will be on our Thanksgiving table (and holiday parties too). Its is a blend of malbec, syrah, petit verdot, merlot,cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. Fruity and medium bodied, we released it in September, and made a still and sparkling version of the wine. Named ‘Voyage’ after our trip to Paris last year. We have about 120 cases left of 670.

Jennifer Cladyk Cupp, Thirst Owl Winery
We drink Thirsty Owl Dry Riesling (of course) but I also always make sure to have any of the hard ciders from Bellwether on our table! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your fam!

John Medolla, Medolla Vineyards
The Medolla Family will take Thanksgiving to Columbus Ohio this year to celebrate with our son John who attends The Ohio State University. Our daughter Anita who is attending North Carolina State University will also be there. Its going to be challenging to find the foods that we love but I managed to track down a few specialty stores in Dublin where I can find what we need.

We will start with Champagne cocktails made exclusively with Lenz 2006 cuvee. Followed by antipasti such as imported cheeses, prosciutto with figs, and mozzarella caprese. for the main course we will have the traditional turkey with all the trimmings along with homemade lasagna and of course homemade polpette (meatballs). My kids will kill me if we dont make them! In addition, we will serve insalata di fagiolini with a mixed salad as well. If I can find escarole I will saute in olive oil with garlic. Accompanying the meal we will be drinking our 2007 Merlot which is lush, rich and aging very well.

For dessert we will do Pesche Ubriache (drunken peaches) using our 2003 Merlot..followed by espresso corretto (with a shot of sambuca)…..well there you have it…hopefully i will get tickets to the Michigan game on Saturday….

Nancy Irelan, Red Tail Ridge Winery
Red Tail Ridge Dry Rose and Blanc de Noirs are definitely on the table. Actually, i’ts usually a bubbly weekend, with leftover for eggs benedict the following day, and then more bubbles showing up throughout the weekend. For Thanksgiving, I always try to highlight a wine made by a friend. This year it will probably be a “sticky” from Johannes (Reinhardt), or a Champagne from a European friend. I usually try to make one of my mom’s recipes for the meal. Most requested is candied yams. I like to throw local butternut squash in with maple syrup from my sister in Vermont. Gobble gobble…

Gabriella Macari, Macari Vineyards
At the Macari house, there is always cold Champagne to start holidays. Last year, we opened a Jeroboam of Ruinart — it went remarkably quickly! We also made an enormous rum punch following David Wondrich’s classic recipe. We love large formats for the holidays. This year we are planning to open magnums of Champagne, Italian wines, red Burgundies, and bottles of Gavi di Gavi white, grandpa’s favorite. There are always bottles of our current vintage of Early Wine and back vintage Bergen Road bottles at the table.  We always serve Block E dessert wine to pair with pies, cakes and tarts.

The day before Thanksgiving, we always head to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to pick up homemade ravioli from Borgattis and fresh, handmade mozzarella at Casa Della Mozzarella. In the true Italian spirit, we share a bowl of pasta before the turkey around 2 p.m.. Sometimes we even start with small slices of homemade pizza. Most of the vegetables come from our farm or other local farms.  Eggs from our chickens, honey from our bees. We always have a full house — family, foreign friends who may not have ever celebrated Thanksgiving and neighbors stop by. Joey, Thomas and Edward invite their friends over for turkey sandwiches at midnight each year. There is usually karaoke.

Joyce Hunt, Hunt Country Vineyards
Out Thanksgivings are pretty traditional — all the usual things (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash, cranberry, a green vegetable and pie). Sometimes I make a cherry pie as it’s our favorite.

We have a selection of our wines on the table — dry and semi-dry riesling, Pearl and seyval. Cream sherry, late-harvest vignoles and ice wine are offered with dessert.

Our most unusual Thanksgiving was the year after our daughter, Carolyn, graduated from United World College. She had friends from all over the world who had gone on to American universities. She invited all who were in college in the Northeast to come to our house for Thanksgiving. We had every continent represented except Europe. We had Muslims and Jewish friends who don’t eat pork, Hindus who don’t eat beef and vegetarians and vegans who don’t eat any animal products. That year we had beans and rice, tofu and mashed potatoes made with no dairy, along with the traditional dinner.

John Bruno, Oak Summit Vineyard
We hail from Italy’s Piedmont Region where the vintners revel in Barolo, Barbaresco, Spanna, Dolcetto, etc. Although the Piemontese do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they do celebrate St. Martin’s Day with equal fervor.

St. Martin is the Patron Saint of vineyards, and his feast day is November 11. This is the day the Piemontese vineyard workers get paid, and they are allowed to harvest the ‘Rasp di St Martin’. We all know the Rasp di St Martin as the little grape clusters which hide in the upper portions of a VSP vinifera vine. These are not ripe at regular harvest, but they will be sort of ripe on November 11. The Piemontese vineyard workers make a sort of Beaujolais Nouveau from these nebbiolo grapes. For sure, it is not a noble wine, but extremely pleasant. It also is the perfect pairing for the Ragu di Cingale or wild boar stew which the vineyard owner has shot and cooked for his workers.
Sooooooooo, here at Oak Summit, we make a pork stew for St. Martins Day, and keep some for Thanksgiving. They also get a few bottles of the Nebbiolo Nuovo from the crew and enjoy this pairing instead of the usual turkey/pinot  pairing.

Carlo DeVito, Hudson-Chatham Winery
We’ll be hosting — 14 adults — and here’s what we’re going to have…

Cocktails made with Black Dirt Bourbon, Hillrock Estate and Cornelius Applejack along with Hudson Valley Cider Kir Royales made with Warwick, Brookview Station, and Hudson-Chatham with local cassis. Our riesling will be from Brotherhood, Whitecliff and Hudson-Chatham. Pinot noir from Millbrook. Our baco noir, along with Benmarl’s. We’ll enjoy dessert wines and ciders too, including Slyboro Cider House Ice Cider and our own and Harvest Spirits’ Grappa
Local Hudson Valley cheeses will be served throughout — Old Chatham Sheepherding, Twin Maple Farm, Hawthorne Valley, R&G, and Harpersfield. And we’ll have local breads from Our Daily Bread (Chatham), Loaf (Hudson), and Cafe Le Perche (Hudson).
Russ McCall, Owner McCall Wines
I’m cooking an organic turkey outside, slowly, on a Weber grill. Drinking our 2011 Pinot Noir Rose as an afternoon aperitif.  Homemade fresh puree of turnips, fresh cranberries lightly cooked, and heirloom red skin potatoes with local goat cheese.  Of course McCall 2010 Pinot Noir with dinner.
Duncan Ross,  Owner/Winemaker Arrowhead Spring Vineyards
We will be celebrating with chardonnay, pinot noir rose’ and pinot noir.  Our family gets together at the Red Coach Inn, owned by Robin’s cousin. Drinks at noon, dinner at 1:30, home in time for a nap while attempting to watch some football!
We will also be holding our new release party the day after thanksgiving. This is a tradition that has become a big event, though this year we have had trouble getting the word out (ill parents on both sides). This is a busy weekend for us as a lot of people come back to the area to visit family, and most of them like dry red wine.

Edward Lovaas, Pindar Vineyards and Duck Walk Vineyards
Sparkling wine, pinot noir, crenache and a ton of IPA — because I like IPA.

Amanda Fortuna, Roanoke Vineyards
The Roanoke Vineyards DeRosa Rose is a must-have at my Turkey day. I have a large family and therefore three different Thanksgiving dinners that I try to split myself up between.It can get hectic. However, the first question I am always asked when I walk in each door is “Where is the DeRosa?!”

This year, not only is the DeRosa Rose expected but so is the new 2009 Prime Number. They both will pair harmoniously with all three of my dinners.

Russell Hearn, Suhru Wines and T’Jara Wines
As Thanksgiving is not an Australian holiday I have adapted some tweaks over the last 27 years in the US. Even though this is not local wine I am partial to a good ‘cool climate’ Aussie Shiraz (Great Western/Denmark region of Western Australia such as Plantagenet Vineyard or the Pyrennes region of Victoria such as Berrys Ridge or Knights Vineyard.  Or a hearty California zinfandel — A. Rafanellis is my favorite by far.

But at the table my quirk is bok choy — a southeast Asian vegetable that is grown heavily in Australia and I think the bitter green flavors compliment beautifully as a veggie with the turkey meal (typically broccoli to me just doesn’t do it with this meal). There are so many sweet items in the meal it brings a wonderful foil in flavor.

Peter Carroll, Owner Lenz Winery
We are visiting our daughter in Rome, where she is doing a semester abroad, studying architecture. We have rented an apartment, located in the Campo dei Fiori district, not far from the Piazza Navona. One of our selection criteria when we were choosing an apartment to rent, aside from being able to sleep 7 (5 of us plus 2 friends from England), was a good-looking kitchen, because we intended to forsake Roman restaurants for at least the Thursday of Thanksgiving week and try to simulate a Turkey-day dinner right there in Rome.

Well, the apartment is certainly nice, not the kind of disappointment you sometimes get when renting online. But the modern-looking kitchen is, um, not exactly ready for Rachael Ray to show up and do a TV show. There is a single oven, and it is small. The stove looks good, but only 2 of its 5 burners light automatically. The selection of pots and pans selection is weak; there’s only one oven tray; there is no strainer, no coffee maker; no whisk. You get the picture.

And groceries… we do not expect to find a turkey and, frankly, I won’t miss one, but my kids are kind of conservative and we will certainly need to at least roast a chicken or two. And we will explore the local food shops for in-season vegetables that we can make somewhat Thanksgiving-esque. We’ve been here a day and already see that there will be no pumpkins and no cranberries. But potatoes, Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, green beans (good ones), and other things.

As for drinks — Italian all the way, even on the beer front, where, how to put this… the Italians still have something to learn from the Czechs and Germans. Even the Brits and the Americans, come to that. But, we can always get in the mood by downing a handful of Negronis before the cooking gets into top gear. On the wine front — a selection of whites for the ladies and some Brunellos and Barberas for the guys. We haven’t found the specialty wine stores in Rome yet, so unless we do, we will have to make do with the selection at the local stores. But, we do have a few days left to go. Skip the Vatican, explore the specialty wine stores?

Gary Madden, Lieb Family Cellars
The family Thanksgiving menu is traditional — turkey, spiral ham, sweet potatoes, stringbeans, stuffing….and they like really dry Chablis (which methinks can be a bit too austere). So think I’ll try some sparkling cider (apple and pear), some riesling, and for reds maybe some grenache blends and a blaufrankish to spice things up a bit.