Let’s Wine Down: Introduce wine at tailgates

Ted Wint | Daily Trojan

Trojan Football season is here —  and with that comes the weekly ritual of tailgating with friends and fellow Trojans. While beer might be the drink of choice for many on game day, wine can be a better alternative for those who want to spice things up just a bit. 

Burgers and hot dogs are the main staples of any tailgate experience and they can largely dictate which wines you should drink in the moment. The key to understanding which to pair with food is being aware of the condiments and toppings. These little choices will take wine drinkers on a journey with their wine — hopefully one you’ll enjoy if you keep these few notes in mind.

Note No. 1: If you’re addicted to pickles and ketchup, you’ll want to choose a refreshing wine to even out that heavy vinegar. A wine like 2018 Quinta da Lixa Loureiro ($10) from Vinho Verde, Portugal with its rosy, citrusy taste is the way to go. It’s as casual as you want your tailgate to be.

Note No. 2: If you’re feeling a bit fancy, such as with a burger or hot dog topped with caramelized onions and blue cheese, an overly fruity wine will help add balance. A Radius Cabernet ($11) from Columbia Valley, WA, is the perfect match. This delicious Cabernet will remind you of the homemade jams your grandmother made for you with its aroma of red fruits and black cherries. It’s a sure crowd-pleaser with a surprising finish, so be sure to bring an extra bottle to share with friends.

Note No. 3: Wine-drunk is preferred if you’re planning on actually watching the game. The term “beer belly” exists for a reason — beer can make you bloated. If you’re like me, and going to the game means taking hundreds of photos for Instagram, then you definitely don’t want to look bloated in your gameday outfit. Maybe a bit of wine could assist you in making small talk so it seems like you actually understand the game, because I sure don’t.

Note No. 4: This is perhaps the most important note. Wine is for every occasion. It’s never too pretentious or snobby to drink wine, even if it’s at a tailgate. For so long, wine has been unapproachable for most people, with names that most people cannot pronounce and the financial costs associated with it. But don’t let these factors stop you from enjoying wine. 

You don’t need to know how to pronounce it properly since it’s very likely most people around you won’t know either, and those who do are probably too drunk to care. There are plenty of wines like the ones mentioned that are both affordable and taste just as delicious as the expensive ones that are out of reach for college students.

Drinking wine and tailgating might seem like an odd pairing at first, but the possibilities are endless if you give the combination a chance. In the end, always remember that a red solo cup is a great equalizer and tailgates are meant to be fun, so don’t let anyone stop you from consuming the drink of your choice.

Ted Wint is a senior writing about wine culture for the Daily Trojan. His column “Let’s Wine Down” runs every other Thursday.