There’s no better way to nurse a turkey-hangover than easing through the weekend with a few glasses of wine. Good, enzyme-rich wine, that is, from the country’s best vineyards. Luckily, Oregon’s Willamette Valley wineries and The Garden State Wine Grower’s Association have planned a weekend of wine tastings, music and holiday treats. So no matter which coast you’re on, you can wash down Thursday’s meal the right way (and maybe escape some crazy relatives while you’re at it).
Just in case wine alone won’t tempt you to get off the couch, Michigan’s Old Mission Wineries is offering an additional incentive in the form of mac ‘n cheese. So ditch your plans to go to the gym and definitely don’t go to the mall. This weekend, it’s all about getting out to a rockin’ food festival.
Wine Country Thanksgiving
Willamette Valley, OR
Nov. 29-Dec. 1
There’s plenty to be thankful for this weekend in the scenic Willamette Valley. The Valley is Oregon’s leading wine region and is globally celebrated for its premier pinot noir production. In celebration of Thanksgiving, more than 160 wineries will join together to offer unique tastings, food pairings, music and holiday discounts. Wineries include A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery, which will offer guests Caramel Sea Salt Chocolate with Port and Anam Cara Cellars, which will serve up special Reserve Pinots and Chardonnays with local cheese and fresh-baked holiday cookies. It'll be a good time to visit the Allison Inn as well, one of the northwest's most luxurious hotels and home to the fine-dining restaurant Jory.
Holiday Wine Trail Weekend
Various New Jersey Wineries
Nov. 29-Dec. 1
What better way to work off that Thanksgiving feast than trekking through New Jersey’s most renowned vineyards and wineries? The Garden State Wine Grower’s Association hosts Wine Trail Weekend’s throughout the year, and the holiday edition will feature six wineries including Cape May Winery at the southern most tip of the state and Cava Winery up north in Sussex County. So grab a ticket, get outside and pick up a few bottles for holiday gifts — it sure beats battling the Black Friday mall crowds while trying to digest yesterday’s candied yams.
Gourmet Comfort Food Competition
Old Mission Peninsula, MI
Not that there’s anything wrong with a straight-up, no-nonsense wine and cheese pairing festival, but while we’re all indulging our holiday season comfort food cravings, why not melt that cheese onto some macaroni, sprinkle on some bread crumbs and take it from there? This Saturday, the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula is hosting The Great Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off featuring unique mac ‘n cheese dishes from local chefs paired with Old Mission’s finest Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and more.
Holiday Ale Festival
Just when the weather threatens to be too nippy for an outdoor food fest, the food haven of Portland responds with a cozy events replete with gas heaters and plenty of quality ales to keep guests warm and satisfied. The festival provides three varieties of beers: Standard Releas, Limited Release and Sunday Brunch Beers. Note: the Belgian Sunday Brunch Beers pairs excellently with homemade waffles, which guests will be greeted with upon check-in. As the event approaches lunchtime, guests will nosh on local award-winning cheeses from Willamette Valley Cheese Co., a selection of cured artisan salamis, and mini chausson aux pommes — French applesauce turnovers. Sounds like the perfect menu to keep your belly full and the rest of you warm.
Noe Valley Holiday Wine Walk
San Rafael, CA
On Thursday, December 5, take a walk down 24th Street from Diamond to Chattanooga and sip and sample wine, finger food, and tasty treats from the Valley’s best food and drink merchants. The 3rd annual Holiday Wine Walk offers guests specialty items from participating vendors including Cupcake Vineyards, Whole Foods Market, Spicy Wines and Dogwood Cellars.
Celebrity Chef Tour
Since 2004, the Celebrity Chef Tour has brought the experience of dining at New York City’s renowned James Beard House to different cities around the country. The Columbus event, hosted at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro of Hilton Downtown Columbus will celebrate the city’s rich agriculture and culinary craftsmanship with a night of celebrity chef-worthy dishes, extensive wine and spirits offerings and local artwork. Celebrity chefs include Jonathan Sawyer, Drew Sayes, Josh Dalton, Daniel Wright, Matt Danko, Trevett Hooper and host Bill Glover. With a wine list curated by Master Sommelier Matt Citriglia, guests can be assured a delicious and relaxing evening.