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Did you know there are no records of the Pilgrims enjoying their Thanksgiving feast with wine?

At the time, potable water was hard to find. So instead, early colonists relied on alcoholic beverages that were void of bacteria. The Pilgrims were encouraged to bring alcohol of all types on their journey west.

Many historians believe their 66-day journey had likely drained their stocks of alcohol. If the Pilgrims had brought wine on their journey, it was long gone by the time they celebrated the first Thanksgiving.

The colonists were resourceful, though, with skills to make fermented beverages with whatever they had on hand. But the grapes in the area weren’t fit to make an enjoyable wine. Fortunately, the area around Plymouth was abundant with wild apple orchards.

That’s why many historians believe the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving with hard apple cider.

While we enjoy our fair share of ciders, we thought it’d be fun to share some wine for Thanksgiving. These varietals have notes of apples that’d please any Pilgrim, and are sure to help add to your own Thanksgiving celebration.


Albariño is a varietal of white wine that’s primarily grown in Spain. This varietal isn’t as commonly known in the U.S. as other light-bodied white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris, though it’s one you should get acquainted with. Albariño has a strong acidity and light body with flavors and aromas of grapefruit, lemon, melon, and yes—apple.


Vermentino is a complex white wine grown in southern France and central Italy. It has the complexity to pair with the richer Thanksgiving dishes like stuffing.

This wine has a common bitter finish with notes of apple, almond, and grapefruit. If you enjoy Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll be delighted by this varietal.


Chardonnay is a common full-bodied white wine with over 491,000 acres grown around the world. This wine varietal has common notes of lemon, apple, and butter.

The unoaked versions of Chardonnay from Chablis have a dominant flavor of apple that is sure to be a hit around your Thanksgiving table.


Riesling is a white wine varietal that originated in the Rhine region of Germany and is now grown all across the world. This varietal comes in a range of styles from sweet to dry, and has a palate that includes apples, lime, orange and honeysuckle.

Try a Kabinett (dry) or Spatlese (sweet) style from Germany for dominant apple notes that’ll have you asking for a refill.

No matter what you pair with your meal this holiday, be thankful for those you have to celebrate the season with. Do you have a go-to varietal for the season? Let us know!

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