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A Tailgate party is an outdoor BBQ and drinking party held in parking lots of sporting events or concerts. It originates in the US back in the sixites and has since spread around the world. No reservations necessary. Show up early and find and empty spot. Lawn chairs and coolers are everywhere.

Walk up and down the aisles of the lot and smoke billows from hibachis ; people are seen tossing around a football or lounging in chairs or old couches. Really! It’s sports ‘fashion’ at it’s finest… everyone wears their team colours; and those that dare—paint them on their faces and bodies. Listen, and you’ll hear everyone’s version of the starting lineups, and the team’s gameplan—everyone is an expert. Breathe in and you’ll smell meat and more meat sizzling on the grill. This is not a vegan fest. Ice cold beer is the drink of choice. If beer bloats you and you prefer wine say no more. Read on and I’ll help you pick wine for tailgate parties.

Nothing fancy needed. Simple wine for simple fare… grilled Brats (Bratwurst sausages), hot dogs, burgers, ribs, spicy Italian sausages.. that type of thing. Since you’ll probably be eating outside and sitting on a lawn chair or eating off the back of a pick-up truck, it would probably be a good idea to leave the Reidel crystal stemware at home. Besides you’ll just be made fun of. Switch to plastic cups.

There are lots of wines out there that are unpretentious and are great for a tailgate party. The weather will be a critical factor in choosing a wine. If your tailgating in Tampa or San Diego and its 30 degrees Celsius then you’ll probably want something refreshing and less boozy like a light unoaked sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or California. If your on the west coast you can find lots of Callifornia or Washington State wines, cheap.

I’ve done my tailgating partying on the East Coast in Philadelphia and Buffalo and the climate is colder. Sometinmes it’s very cold. A heady Shiraz or Malbec from Argentina or Australia will warm you up.

There are hundreds of grat values that you can get for less than the price of a 12-pack of Coors Light.

CHILLY BUFFALO, PHILLY, DETROIT.
MENU: Spicy Beef Burgers, Baby Back Pork Ribs and Chicken Wings with tangy Texas BBQ sauce.

Alamos Catena Zapata Malbec 2008:
This fruit forward wine from argentina is packed with frest black berry notes is soft on the palette. Available at most SAQ’s for less than 20$ great with burgers, ribs with lots of sauce, or wings.

Shiraz E Minor Barossa Valley Estate 2008. 16.90$
This shiraz is not a super-ripe fruit bomb. Balanced and clean, it is full bodied with peppery notes that with pair nicely with BBQ fare and keep you warm and fuzzy till kick off.

WARM SAN DIEGO, TAMPA BAY, SEATTLE
MENU: Grilled brats with sauerkraut, or jumbo hot dogs with hot mustard.

Riesling Pacific Rim Washington 18.75$
Otis Redding said, try a little tenderness. Well, this is a riesling with a little sweetness. Like the great Walter Payton. Great for those Brats or dogs to cool off the hot mustard. Fruity and medium bodied with good acidity.

Sauvignon Blanc BV Coastal Beaulieu Vineyads 14.95$
A light fresh and fruity straight forward sauvignon. Citrus fruits like grapefuit dominate the nose. Great starter wine or with light fare like tailgate grub. Pick up these wines instead or with cold beer for the next game and offer your parking lot pals an alternative to a brewsky and tell them that you took Carm’s advice.
Go team!