When I was a kid, we used to go to my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving. They had a two-bedroom home on the north side of Chicago. The kitchen was small, so tables were set up in the basement. My grandfather had a bar in the corner of the basement near the window so you could see the feet of those passing by. He built the bar himself and kept it stocked with several different bottles of alcohol. Guests at his house could get whatever drink they desired. Even though he was not a wine drinker himself, my grandfather always offered wine at his Thanksgiving table.

As kids, it was our job to help clean up. We carried the food upstairs while someone else had washing duty downstairs in the laundry tubs. Sadly for us kids, there was no dishwasher. My grandparents both helped put things away, including the leftover wine. It was then that I realized how little my grandfather knew about wine. I watched him gather up the bottles of red and white. He then got a funnel out of the kitchen drawer. I saw him pore the red wine into the white wine bottle and cork it up for next time. Even as a kid, I knew that you should not create your own “rose” and imagined that like pop (we ARE from Chicago), it would not be drinkable by just re-corking it.

I am telling you this because Thanksgiving is next week. Many of you will be hosting. You may even serve wine. I don’t think people worry about pairing the wine with the meal. With turkey, you would expect a white wine to be served. However, wine is very personal, so people are going to drink what they enjoy. For my family, the majority will have reds – Pinot Noirs, Nero d’Volas, Cabs, Merlots, etc. I am a white wine drinker, so we will have Chardonnay as well. Sorry rose drinkers – none for you!

I always bring my own wine to a party. I bring a bottle for the host (usually a red) and the bottle that I enjoy drinking. Most of my family and friends drink red, which is traditionally served at room temperature. Actually, that is too warm, but like I said, drinking wine is a personal thing. Here is a chart of storage and serving temperatures for red and white wines.

Non-white wine drinkers think that all white wine is created equal. How wrong they are! “Oh, you like white, I have some Riesling for you.” Ew! That is a dessert wine. I don’t even like that with dessert! Plus, they are usually showing you a bottle that they are pulling out of their cabinet. It is room temperature. When I remind them that white wine is supposed to be served chilled, they offer to put an ice cube in it. Gross! If I chilled your red wine, would you drink it if I popped it in the microwave for a few seconds?

If you are not a wine drinker, I suggest you ask your guests what wine they like or tell them that you know nothing about wine and ask them to bring their own. Wine drinkers will be happy to bring what they like instead of drinking bad wine. And if they complain, have them sit at the kid’s table!

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