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Wine at Home

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards & Winery

Being stuck at home can be mundane. Here is the ultimate time-passing trifecta: binge-worthy shows, alongside gourmet popcorn and wine pairings! While our binge-worthy television blog post isn’t quite ready just yet, we encourage you to enjoy these delicious gourmet popcorn and wine pairings in the meantime. Cheers!


About These Gourmet Popcorn Recipes

I think it might be important for me to preface these recipes by saying I created most of them using plain popcorn kernels in a microwaveable popcorn maker. I understand that not everyone has one of these in their homes, but if you love popcorn as much as I do, I highly recommend purchasing one. They vary in price, depending on the seller, but most are between $12 and $30 online. Mine has been around since the 1990’s, so it’s a justifiable purchase, if you choose the right one. An eight pound jug of Orville Redenbacher’s unpopped popcorn kernels can be purchased on Amazon for $11.49 and will last you 3-4 months (even if you are an avid popcorn eater) or longer. I’d say it’s a pretty reasonable investment overall.

If you choose not to purchase a popcorn maker and unpopped kernels, a microwaveable bag, or bags (dependent upon the recipe), of plain popcorn may be used in their place. I do not recommend using plain pre-popped popcorn because the consistency and quality is just not the same.


I also want to say thank you very much to my brave taste testers, Andy and Tina Halvorsen, for their honest input on each of these pairings. Cheers!


Binge-Worthy Television, Gourmet Popcorn, and Wine Pairings

Similar to our Worldly Wine & Picture Pairings blog post, the overarching theme of this one is based on the fact that people are stuck at home right now, probably spending a lot of their time drinking their stash of good wine and binging streamable shows and movies. I know this is something I often find myself doing when I’m not working. There are so many excellent shows that are easily streamable on various networks, it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose which one to watch. I’ve done the work for you, by pairing these gourmet popcorn and wine pairings with a television genre and several show suggestions for each. All you have to do is choose your favorite wine or your favorite T.V. genre, then whip up your popcorn recipe and choose a show! Simple enough, right?

Why did I choose popcorn to pair with these wines and T.V. shows? Well, everyone likes popcorn. Unlike its Jelly Belly flavor, actual popcorn is loved by all. It’s also effortless to make and so versatile; there’s practically a million different ways to jazz it up. Most importantly, it’s the best snack to mindlessly stuff your face with when watching T.V. and movies. Gourmet popcorn and wine pairings could be an entire meal if you’re willing to let it be.

Keep reading for all of our wine and popcorn pairing recipes OR tap the button below for our Binge-Worthy Television, Gourmet Popcorn, and Wine Pairings blog post.


All Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings Recipes


A Jó Élet, “the Good Life,” Cabernet Sauvignon & Spiced Mexican Chocolate Almond Popcorn

Makes about 7 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

ALMONDS
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne
  • pink Himalayan sea salt to taste
POPCORN
  • 1/4 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pink Himalayan sea salt to taste
SPICED MEXICAN CHOCOLATE
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate flavored melting wafers
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. almond cocoa spread
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup 72% cacao dark chocolate chips

Directions:

ALMONDS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl or Ziploc toss all ingredients, coating almonds evenly in spice mixture.
  3. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  4. Bake for ten minutes, then remove from oven, and allow to cool.
POPCORN
  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over popcorn. Gently toss to coat popcorn evenly with olive oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cinnamon, and sea salt.
  4. Sprinkle spice mixture over popcorn and gently toss to distribute.
SPICED MEXICAN CHOCOLATE
  1. In a microwaveable bowl, heat melting wafers on defrost setting. The instructions on melting wafer package said to melt on defrost for 30 seconds to a minute, but it took me almost three minutes to get them completely melted. Make sure to take out and stir about once per minute.
  2. Once melting wafers have melted and are still hot, add cocoa almond spread and cinnamon. Stir well.
  3. If chocolate mixture has begun to harden, microwave on defrost for a little longer.
  4. While still hot, drizzle chocolate mixture over popcorn. Quickly sprinkle dark chocolate chips over popcorn, so they begin to melt. Toss popcorn to coat evenly in melted chocolate.
  5. While still warm, sprinkle spiced almonds over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn until almond slivers stick to melted chocolate.
  6. Serve warm with a glass of our delicious Good Life Cabernet Sauvignon!

Austin James Cabernet Sauvignon & Smoked Paprika BBQ Bacon Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pieces thick sliced bacon
  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. bacon grease
  • 1 tsp. dry mild BBQ rub (I used Kinder’s)
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • pink Himalayan sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place bacon slices about an inch apart on lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake bacon slices for about 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees F. Make sure to keep an eye on it. Bacon should be as crispy as possible, but not burnt. Save 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease to use later. Mince sliced bacon.
  4. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  5. Melt butter. Add bacon grease to melted butter so it becomes liquified. Stir.
  6. Drizzle about half of butter mixture over popcorn at a time, gently tossing popcorn in bowl after each drizzle to evenly distribute butter mixture throughout popcorn.
  7. In a small bowl, combine dry BBQ rub, onion powder, paprika, dry oregano, and pink Himalayan sea salt. Mix together.
  8. Sprinkle about half of dry seasoning mixture over popcorn at a time, gently tossing popcorn in bowl after each sprinkle to evenly distribute seasoning mixture throughout popcorn.
  9. Sprinkle with minced bacon. Gently toss to distribute.
  10. Enjoy right way with a glass of our Austin James Cab.

C. Tarantino Cabernet Sauvignon & Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. dry garlic & herb dressing seasoning
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup roasted pine nuts
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. In a food processor or blender, blend together olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes, until a paste is formed. Wait a few minutes for the oil to settle before removing from blender or food processor. Use a spatula to scrape out as much olive oil as possible.
  3. Drizzle about half of olive oil paste over popcorn at a time, gently tossing popcorn in bowl after each drizzle to evenly distribute olive oil mixture throughout popcorn.
  4. In a small bowl, combine nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, and dry garlic & herb dressing seasoning. Mix together.
  5. Sprinkle about half of dry seasoning mixture over popcorn at a time, gently tossing popcorn in bowl after each sprinkle to evenly distribute seasoning mixture throughout popcorn.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and pepper. Gently toss to distribute.
  7. Enjoy right away with a glass of our amazing C. Tarantino Cab!

Charlie Rae Chardonnay & Salted Caramel & Butterscotch Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 4 tbsp. salted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch chips
  • optional: 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • pink Himalayan sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on 2 lined sheet pans.
  2. Preheat oven to 230 degrees F.
  3. Heat butter in a small pan over medium.
  4. Once melted, add brown sugar, corn syrup, and sea salt. Stir to combine.
  5. Turn heat to low. Simmer for four minutes. Be sure not to stir.
  6. Quickly whisk in vanilla and baking soda.
  7. Immediately pour over popcorn on sheet pan, then toss to coat evenly in caramel.
  8. Bake in oven for 45 minutes, tossing once or twice to further coat popcorn in caramel mixture.
  9. Remove from oven. While popcorn is still hot, sprinkle with butterscotch and optional white chocolate chips, so they begin to melt. Toss popcorn to coat evenly in melted chocolate.
  10. While still warm, sprinkle pink Himalayan sea salt over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn.
  11. Enjoy with a glass of our delicious Charlie Rae Chardonnay.

Colton’s Cabernet & Herbs de Provence Asiago Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. dried herbs de Provence
  • pink Himalayan sea salt to taste
  • rosemary and olive oil asiago cheese, finely grated (I used Trader Joe’s version, but I think other brands may be easily found at various grocers)

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. Drizzle about a third of olive oil over popcorn at a time, gently tossing popcorn in bowl after each drizzle to evenly distribute olive oil over popcorn.
  3. Repeat step 2, but instead of drizzling oil, sprinkle the dried herbs de Provence seasoning.
  4. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan sea salt and gently toss to distribute.
  5. Serve warm with a sprinkling of rosemary asiago. You may use as much or as little as you prefer.
  6. Enjoy immediately with a glass of our Colton’s Cabernet Sauvignon!

Gracie Sparkling Brut & Orange Lavender Vanilla Honey Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp. organic coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. dried culinary lavender
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • vanilla bean, cut down the middle
  • 2 tbsp. organic honey
  • 1/2 tbsp. orange zest

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  2. In a small pan, heat coconut oil on low, until it is melted.
  3. Add lavender, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Stir. Allow to cook in coconut oil on low for about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add honey and stir until it is melted into coconut oil.
  5. Add orange zest. Stir.
  6. Using a mesh strainer, strain debris from coconut oil mixture. Do not allow to cool.
  7. While coconut oil mixture is still hot, drizzle over popcorn on sheet pan, evenly coating popcorn in mixture. Toss popcorn together while mixture is still hot to further distribute coconut oil mixture.
  8. Optional: Garnish with more orange zest or 1/2 teaspoon finely minced culinary lavender.
  9. Serve with a glass of our Gracie Sparkling Brut!

James Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon & Dark Chocolate Coconut Cashew Popcorn

Makes about 14 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp. organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup 72% cacao dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews, chopped
  • pink Himalayan sea salt

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  2. In a small pan, heat coconut oil on low, until it is melted.
  3. Add shredded coconut flakes. Allow to cook in coconut oil on low for about 3-5 minutes, or until slightly brown, stirring attentively.
  4. Remove from heat. Once coconut oil and flakes have cooled for about 1-2 minute, add vanilla extract.
  5. While coconut oil mixture is still hot, drizzle over popcorn on sheet pan, evenly coating popcorn in mixture. Toss popcorn together while mixture is still hot to further distribute coconut oil mixture.
  6. Quickly sprinkle dark chocolate chips and chopped cashews over popcorn, so they begin to melt. Toss popcorn to coat evenly in oil and melted chocolate.
  7. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan sea salt and gently toss to distribute.
  8. Serve with a tasty glass of our James Vincent Cab!

Kylie Ryan Rosé & Classic Kettle Corn

Makes about 14 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat vegetable oil on medium.
  2. Stir in popcorn kernels, sugar, and sea salt.
  3. Once popcorn begins to pop, continuously shake the pot to ensure popcorn does not burn. When popping has slowed to about every 3 seconds, remove pot from heat.
  4. Pour popcorn in a bowl or over a lined baking sheet, breaking up any clumps.
  5. Enjoy with a chilled glass of our Kylie Ryan Rosé!

McGrail Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve & Black Pepper BellaVitano Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup black pepper BellaVitano cheese
  • pink Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. Drizzle about half of olive oil over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute oil throughout popcorn. Drizzle second half of olive oil mixture over popcorn. Toss again.
  3. Sprinkle cheese over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute through popcorn.
  4. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute through popcorn.
  5. Enjoy immediately with a glass of our McGrail Cab Reserve.

McGrail Clone 8 Cabernet Sauvignon & Savory Sharp Cheddar Mustard Onion Thyme Popcorn

Makes about 19 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. dry thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. garlic and herb dressing seasoning*
  • 1 tsp. green onion dip mix*
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • pink Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups honey mustard onion pretzel pieces, smashed into small pieces
  • extra sharp cheddar, finely grated

*you may use 2 teaspoons of either the garlic and herb dressing seasoning or the green onion mix if you wish not to use both.

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, olive oil, and mustard. Stir to combine.
  3. Drizzle about a third of olive oil mixture over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute oil throughout popcorn. Drizzle another third of olive oil mixture over popcorn. Toss again. Drizzle last bit and toss again.
  4. In a small bowl, combine thyme, garlic and herb dressing seasoning, green onion dip mix, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute through popcorn.
  6. Add pretzel pieces. Mix.
  7. Sprinkle cheddar over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute through popcorn.
  8. Enjoy immediately with a glass of our Clone 8 Cab.

McGrail Clone 15 Cabernet Sauvignon & Pomegranate Balsamic Aged Gouda Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. pomegranate balsamic vinegar reduction (I used Gourmet Blends’ version, but Amazon has some highly rated alternatives too)
  • aged gouda, finely grated
  • pink Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute oil throughout popcorn.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute throughout popcorn.
  4. Sprinkle aged gouda over popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to evenly distribute through popcorn.
  5. Add pink Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Enjoy immediately with a glass or two of our Clone 15 Cab.

McGrail Family Chardonnay & Asian-Inspired Vegan “Chicken” Ramen Popcorn

Makes about 15 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 1 tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 tsp. vegan chicken-less seasoning salt (I used Trader Joe’s version)
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 7 oz. dry uncooked Japanese style ramen noodles, smashed
  • 1 cup dry roasted unsalted cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted pistachio meats
  • 1 cup sesame stick snacks, smashed into small pieces
  • 1 cup Japanese rice crackers, smashed into small pieces
  • 2 cups garlic ginger wonton strips

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. Melt butter on the stove or in the microwave. Add sesame oil and stir.
  3. Drizzle about a half of butter and oil mixture over popcorn at a time, gently tossing popcorn in bowl after each drizzle to evenly distribute oil mixture over popcorn.
  4. Repeat step 3, but with vegan chicken-less seasoning salt and sesame seeds.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently.
  6. Enjoy with a tasty glass of our McGrail Family Chardonnay!

McGrail Malbec & Dark Chocolate Berry Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 3 oz. organic raspberry 70% cacao dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. organic blackberry marmalade
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • pink Himalayan sea salt

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  2. In a microwaveable bowl, heat organic raspberry dark chocolate on defrost setting until melted completely. Make sure to take out and stir about once per minute.
  3. Once chocolate has melted and is still hot, add blackberry marmalade. Stir well. If chocolate mixture has begun to harden, microwave on defrost for a little longer.
  4. While still hot, drizzle chocolate mixture over popcorn. Toss gently to coat popcorn with chocolate. Quickly sprinkle dark chocolate chunks over popcorn, so they stick to popcorn.
  5. Sprinkle pink Himalayan sea salt over popcorn.
  6. Enjoy with a glass of our yummy McGrail Malbec!

McGrail Merlot & Truffle Sharp Cheddar Parmesan Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. truffle oil
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • pink Himalayan sea salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated*
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan*

*I used 2/3 cups Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar cheese, finely grated, instead of both sharp cheddar and parmesan

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and truffle oil. Stir.
  3. Drizzle about a third of oil mixture over popcorn at a time, gently tossing popcorn in bowl after each drizzle to evenly distribute oil mixture over popcorn.
  4. In a small bowl, combine dried basil, onion powder, dried oregano, and Italian seasoning. Mix well.
  5. Repeat step 3, but with dry seasoning mixture.
  6. Serve each bag or bowl of popcorn warm with a healthy sprinkling of cheese and pink Himalayan sea salt.
  7. Enjoy straight away with a glass of our Merlot!

Patriot Cabernet Sauvignon & Brown Butter Dark Chocolate Toasted Hazelnut Popcorn

Makes about 14 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 3/4 cup dry roasted unsalted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted hazelnuts, whole
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup 60% cacao dark chocolate chips
  • pink Himalayan sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  2. In a small pan, heat butter on low. Allow to cook until it begins to brown.
  3. Add hazelnuts and brown sugar. Stir. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring attentively, not allowing ingredients to burn.
  4. While still hot, drizzle butter and hazelnuts over popcorn. Quickly sprinkle dark chocolate chips over popcorn, so they begin to melt. Toss popcorn to coat evenly in butter and melted chocolate.
  5. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan sea salt and gently toss to distribute.
  6. Serve with a glass of our delicious Patriot Cabernet Sauvignon!

Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc & Hot Chili Lime Street Corn Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 4 tbsp. salted butter
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. low sodium chili lime seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chili and lime flavored rolled tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1/2 cup giant Peruvian Inca corn snacks, smashed into small pieces
  • 2 cups chili and lime flavored rolled tortilla chips
  • 2 cups freshly grated cotija cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. In a small pan, heat butter on low. Once melted, add lime zest. Allow to simmer for about 2 minutes.
  3. While still hot, drizzle butter and lime zest over popcorn. Toss popcorn to coat evenly in butter.
  4. In a small bowl, combine chili lime seasoning and nutritional yeast. Mix together.
  5. Sprinkle chili lime seasoning and nutritional yeast over popcorn, so it sticks to butter on popcorn. Gently toss popcorn to coat evenly in chili lime seasoning mixture.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently.
  7. Enjoy right away with a tasty glass of our Peyton Paige Sauvignon Blanc!

Shamus Patrick Red Blend & Taco Popcorn

Makes about 10 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 tsp. lime zest
  • 1 tsp. mild taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/3 cup salted giant Peruvian Incan corn, smashed
  • 3.5 oz. Santa Fe style tortilla strips
  • 1/3 cup salted giant Peruvian Incan corn, smashed
  • 1/3 cup oven-baked cheese bites, smashed
  • shredded Mexican cheese blend

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Place in large bowl.
  2. Spray liberally with cooking spray. Toss gently. Spray again. Toss again.
  3. Sprinkle lime zest over popcorn. Gently toss to evenly distribute through popcorn.
  4. In small bowl, combine taco seasoning, paprika, cumin, and coriander. Mix well.
  5. Sprinkle dry seasoning over popcorn. Gently toss to evenly distribute through popcorn.
  6. Add smashed salted giant Peruvian Incan corn and oven-baked cheese bites to popcorn. Toss to mix.
  7. Serve warm with a sprinkling of shredded Mexican cheese blend. You may use as much or as little as you prefer.
  8. Enjoy immediately with a glass of our delightful Shamus Red Blend.

Slainte Red Blend & Peanut Butter, Chocolate, & Potato Chip Popcorn

Makes about 7 servings.

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup uncooked popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate flavored melting wafers
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Reese’s baking pieces and candy
  • 1/2 cup lightly salted reduced guilt potato chips, smashed
  • pink Himalayan sea salt

Directions:

  1. Prepare popcorn according to cooking directions. Lay out in a single layer on lined sheet pan.
  2. In a microwaveable bowl, heat melting wafers on defrost setting. The instructions on melting wafer package said to melt on defrost for 30 seconds to a minute, but it took me almost three minutes to get them completely melted. Be sure to take out and stir about once per minute.
  3. Once melting wafers have melted and are still hot, add peanut butter. Stir well.
  4. If chocolate mixture starts to harden, microwave on defrost for a little longer.
  5. While still hot, drizzle chocolate mixture over popcorn. Toss gently.
  6. Immediately sprinkle chopped peanuts, Reese’s pieces & candy, and smashed potato chips over popcorn, so they stick to chocolate. Toss popcorn to coat evenly in melted chocolate.
  7. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan sea salt.
  8. Enjoy with a glass of our Slainte Red Blend!

Did You Make Any of These Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings?

Which one(s) did you try? Which gourmet popcorn and wine pairing is your favorite? Did you try the gourmet popcorn and wine pairings while enjoying our binge-worthy show suggestions?

Gourmet Popcorn and Wine Pairings

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Vineyard Related

December 2020 Vineyard Updates

By Mark Clarin of McGrail Vineyards & Winery

Autumn is a time to reflect and to give back. The leaves of the vine give back their carbohydrates to the vine to be stored in the root system for the winter. It is a very important piece in the cycle of life for a grapevine. The green leaves turn to beautiful colors of yellows, golds, and reds, as the vine takes back what was not needed to ripen the glorious clusters that we harvested at the end of summer. 

Winegrowing requires attention in the vineyard all year long. The tasks change as the seasons change. This time of year, we are spreading compost and looking for grape stakes that need replacing. We are looking for volunteer plants and removing them. It always amazes me how many volunteer trees we get every year. This year we found over 40 trees on our Lucky 8 vineyard. Mother nature is prolific. 

As I reflect on the vintage 2020, I remember an almost perfect growing season. The fires during the harvest created less than ideal working conditions, but we seem to have come through relatively unscathed. Tasting through the vintage confirms that our efforts throughout the year in the vineyard are worth it in the glass.


A new season means new tunes…

Enjoy our playlist featuring dormancy ditties!

Wine Cocktails

Holiday Mulled McGrail Wine

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Regardless of the fact our winemaker isn’t always pleased with me when I make cocktails and other drinks that involve adding something to his wine, Mark and I both know some people LOVE that sort of thing, and in this business, it’s all about making customers happy. It’s fun, trendy, and just a change of pace. While discussing this sometimes sore subject with our SIP Club members, Mark mentioned having drunk Glögg (or did he call it Glühwein?) in his younger years.

What the heck am I talking about? Mulled wine. Glögg and Glühwein are the Swedish and German names, respectively, for it. In Swedish, it translates to “glowing ember,” and in German, it means “glowing wine,” which seems to imply that this stuff can make you feel pretty dang good when you drink it. Mark recalled having a foggy memory after just one glass. Somehow he’s still quite fond of the stuff, but I’m curious to know exactly what was in it.

Traditionally, mulled wine contains baking spices, fruit, and wine, of course, and it’s typically drunk around Christmastime. It’s quite simple to make, but it sure can make you feel warm and fuzzy inside! This is an easy recipe I’ve made up using our Shamus Patrick Red Blend. We’re looking forward to sharing this with our SIP Club members this week!


Holiday Mulled Wine

Ingredients:

  • 750mL bottle McGrail Shamus Patrick Red Blend
  • 1 navel orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • 2 star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple or orange juice (optional)
  • 1/3 cup brandy, dark rum, or bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup whole cranberries, as a garnish (optional)
  • extra cinnamon sticks, as a garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan, combine Shamus Patrick Red Blend, orange slices, lemon slices, star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, black pepper corns, bay leaf, brown sugar, and optional juice and liquor. Stir to combine.
  2. Heat the wine over medium-high, until it just reaches a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Do not allow to boil, as this could cook out the alcohol. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes and up to three hours.
  3. Use a mesh strainer to remove all non-liquid ingredients from wine before serving.
  4. Serve warm in your favorite mug and garnish with cranberries or extra cinnamon sticks, while enjoying your favorite holiday movies.

What You Should Know About Mulled Wine

  • Glühwein is sometimes prepared “mit Schuss,” or with a shot, which is why I included the optional brandy or rum in the recipe.
  • If you somehow have leftover mulled wine, it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and should ideally be consumed within three days.
  • To reheat the mulled wine, simply bring it to a simmer on low heat in a large sauce pan on the stove.
  • Fresh ginger, cardamom pods, nutmeg, allspice, and raisins can be added to mulled wine, depending on one’s personal preferences.
Wine Cocktails

Holiday Sangria

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Regardless of the fact our winemaker isn’t always pleased with me when I make cocktails and other drinks that involve adding something to his wine, Mark and I both know some people LOVE that sort of thing, and in this business, it’s all about making customers happy. It’s fun, trendy, and just a change of pace.

Sangria is perhaps one of the most popular drinks to create with wine. Traditionally, sangria contains chopped fruit, red wine, and some kind of spirit. It’s quite simple to make, but it sure can make you feel fun and festive! This is an easy recipe I’ve made up using our Red Blend. I hope you like this recipe and try it out for yourself!


Holiday Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped honey crisp apples
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped Bosc pears
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped D’Anjou pears
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange slices
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime slices
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon slices
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 bottle of McGrail Red Blend
  • 3/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup ginger beer
  • 6 oz. lemon lime soda
  • 6 oz. can berry-flavored sparkling water
  • 6 oz. can orange-flavored sparkling water
  • Rosemary sprigs and cinnamon sticks for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large punch bowl or very large pitcher, combine cranberries, chopped apples, chopped pears, orange slices, lime slices, lemon slices, pomegranate arils, cinnamon sticks, cloves, Cabernet, brandy, orange juice, and cranberry juice. Stir.
  1. Chill for at least an hour. We’ve found that allowing it to sit overnight maximizes the fruit and spice flavors.
  2. Add ginger beer, lemon lime soda, and sparkling water. Stir.
  3. Serve over ice. Add rosemary sprigs and/or cinnamon sticks as a garnish.
  4. Enjoy!
Wine at Home

Blue Cheese Rosemary Butter Sauce On New York Steak…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

We are officially more than a month into fall, which means things are starting to cool down a bit. One thing I love about the cooler weather is that people are more inclined to eat warm, hearty meals. This one definitely falls into that category!

At first, the idea of a blue cheese butter sauce seemed daunting to me, but it was actually so easy to make and the result is luxuriously rich and creamy. The velvety tannins in the big, bold James Vincent Cabernet are tamed by both the cheese and the steak. The wine and the steak dish are perfectly complementary to one another. I could easily imagine this pairing as a Christmas dinner staple. I hope you’ll try this one out! It’s so worth it.


Blue Cheese Rosemary Butter Sauce & New York Steak

Makes about 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

For the blue cheese rosemary butter sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 oz. blue cheese crumbles (about 1 cup)
  • leaves from one fresh 8″ sprig of rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the toppings:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine

For the steak:

  • 2 lbs. New York steak (4 1/2 lb. pieces of steak)
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

For the blue cheese rosemary butter sauce:

  1. In a large pan, heat the butter on medium-low. Allow butter to brown just a bit. Add shallots and cook until soft.
  2. Add milk and allow it to cook down to about half, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add cream of mushroom soup, blue cheese crumbles, and fresh rosemary leaves. Stir well.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or cover to keep warm while preparing toppings and steak.

For the toppings:

  1. In a small pan, heat butter on medium. Add shallots and cook until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until soft.
  2. Add red wine and allow to simmer until most wine has evaporated. There will still be some liquid in the pan from the butter; this is fine. Set aside.

For the steak:

  1. Remove steak from refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature.
  2. Preheat grill on medium.
  3. Liberally season steak with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Grill steak for three minutes on each side, then another three minutes on each side (a total of 12 minutes per steak and 6 minutes per each side of steak). This is how I grill a steak that has a medium thickness to achieve a medium-rare doneness. Steaks can be cooked for a longer or shorter amount of time to achieve desired doneness.
  5. Place steaks on a plate and cover with foil. Steak will continue to cook while resting.

To put it all together:

  1. Plate each steak. Spoon toppings and liquid in toppings pan onto each steak. Spoon blue cheese rosemary butter sauce over steak.
  2. Serve with a side of steamed green beans and/or boiled red potatoes and a bottle of our rich, velvety James Vincent Cabernet.

Please let us know if you end up making these pairings and if you have any feedback! We’d love to hear it.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Mushroom Truffle Risotto & Shamus Patrick Red Blend

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

While our Shamus Patrick Red Blend is always a delicious blend of all five of the red Bordeaux varietals, the composition changes every year. The most recent vintage of our Shamus Patrick Red Blend contains 20% each of our Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Since past vintages of our Shamus have been more Cab-heavy, the 2018 vintage certainly contains more earthy notes than most others. With that said, there are many fall foods that can be paired with the blend. Mushrooms, which are super underrated in my opinion, can bring out the richest, most flavorful layers of this complex wine. Not only do they perfectly complement the earthiness of the Shamus, they also bring a certain warmth to the palate that allows the baking spice and fruit notes in the wine truly shine. Alternatively, the risotto also has a creamy component to it that allows it to pair with the notes of creamy butter in our Charlie Rae Chardonnay just as well. Either way, it’s a great dish for the colder autumn and winter months. I could imagine this pairing being great for Christmas dinner or on any cold winter night. I hope you’ll try this one out for yourself!


Mushroom Truffle Risotto

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup Chardonnay
  • 3/4 cup crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 drops truffle oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp. chives, chopped thinly

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium pot, heat one tablespoon olive oil on medium-low.
  2. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, making sure not to brown the onion. Add rice and toss to coat in olive oil. Continue to cook on medium-low and toast the rice, stirring attentively.
  3. Add Chardonnay and stir. Allow Chardonnay to be absorbed entirely.
  4. While the Chardonnay is being absorbed into the rice, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a small pan on medium. Cook mushrooms until soft, then remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Add one cup chicken broth to the rice and allow it to be absorbed by the rice, stirring occasionally. Once the first half of chicken broth has been absorbed, add remaining chicken broth and condensed cream of mushroom soup. Stir well. Allow the rest of the chicken broth to be absorbed into the rice, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once all the chicken broth has been absorbed into the rice, add your cooked mushrooms, butter, truffle oil, and parmesan. Stir well.
  7. Plate your risotto and garnish with chives.
  8. Enjoy this delicious risotto with a glass of our Shamus Patrick Red Blend or our Charlie Rae Chardonnay!

Please let us know if you end up making this tasty pairing and if you have any feedback! We’d love to hear it.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Pear, Burrata, & Basil Flatbread & Charlie Rae Chardonnay

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Pear, Burrata, & Basil Flatbread

Makes about 8 servings (4 flatbreads; 2 servings per flatbread).

INGREDIENTS:

  • Cooking spray
  • 8 oz. burrata cheese (2 balls, 4 oz. each), cut into 8 pieces
  • 12 oz. traditional naan bread (4 pieces, 3 oz. each)
  • 2 oz. sliced prosciutto, or 4 pieces
  • 1/2 one large Bartlett pear, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 one large granny smith apple, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup d’anjou pear white balsamic (I used Gourmet Blends’ version, but Amazon has some highly rated alternatives)
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 honeydew melon, sliced thinly into small pieces
  • 4 oz. blackberries
  • 6 large basil leaves, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Lay naan pieces face up on sheet pan, about 1-2 inches apart. Place two quarter pieces (1/2 burrata ball) on each naan, about an inch apart. Tear up prosciutto and place pieces around burrata. Top with slices of pear and apple. Drizzle white balsamic on each flatbread. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan sea salt.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, or until desired crispiness is attained.
  5. Place slices of honeydew, blackberries, and sliced basil on each flatbread.
  6. Serve with a glass or two of McGrail Charlie Rae Chardonnay!

Please let us know if you end up making this pairing and if you have any feedback! We’d love to hear it.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Smoky BBQ Slow Cooker Country Style Ribs & Austin…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

Our Austin James Cabernet is a three vineyard blend of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from our estate vineyard, the C. Tarantino Vineyard, and our Lucky 8 Vineyard. We created this wine with the hopes of bringing out the best aspects of each vineyard, we combined the three different clones from the three different vineyards. The blend is produced using approximately one third from each vineyard. This bold, carmine wine initially opens with a hint of mintiness, then follows into notes of bright cherry cola, vanilla, cassis, and bright red raspberry. The red fruit on the palate contains undertones of clove and dark chocolate, and is further complemented by notes of red licorice, blackberry, and a bit of tobacco. The smooth, but bold tannins linger for a bit and leave this easy sipping wine ready for another taste. 

One of the most important things to consider when pairing wine with food, especially when the wine is tannic, is that the fat in the food will cut down bold tannins. This is something I find myself contemplating often, as many of our Cabernets can be quite tannic. With that said, this recipe can also be paired with our James Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon, another big red wine. The fat in the pork tames the tannins in both of these delicious Cabs!

If you’ve never made country style ribs before, just be forewarned that these are not regular ribs. This meat just literally falls off the bone, especially when it’s been slow cooked. It can be enjoyed like pulled pork on a sandwich with coleslaw, over steamed potatoes or rice, or on a grilled cheese sando. The possibilities are endless.


Smoky BBQ Slow Cooker Country Style Ribs

Makes about 10 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into sixths
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3-3.5 lbs. pork country style ribs
  • 14 oz. BBQ sauce
  • 4 stems green onions, sliced thinly

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium slow cooker, spray the insides with a cooking spray.
  2. Place the sixths of the onion at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. In a small bowl, combine pepper, salt, paprika, cumin, chipotle powder, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and cinnamon to create a rub for the meat. Mix well.
  4. Liberally rub the meat with the seasonings, covering all sides of the meat.
  5. Place meat in the crockpot, cover, and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  6. Once cooked through, pull the meat out of the crockpot and taking care not to burn yourself on the hot meat, remove the bones and any fat or grisly chunks from the meat. The meat should fall off the bones easily, but some pieces may be tougher.
  7. Add BBQ sauce and mix to cover the meat in the sauce. Garnish with green onions.
  8. Serve on a bun with coleslaw or over some soft boiled and buttered potatoes with a few glasses of our Austin James Cabernet or James Vincent Cabernet.

Please let us know if you try making this at home! I’d love some feedback and to hear from you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Cheese, Herb, & Onion Bavarian Egg Noodles with Chicken…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards

I’m a huge proponent of authentic German food, especially during the fall months, and I wanted to share the happy, warm feeling I get from this comfort cuisine with you all. I will admit, this recipe is cheating just a little bit, because I mostly use the easiest packaged dry ingredients where I felt was necessary. I don’t think packaged is necessarily bad, but actually making spaetzle noodles from scratch just sounds like a headache to me. Plus, these ingredients actually come from Germany, so there has to be some level of authenticity to them, right? Anyway, I hope you consider making this tasty Bavarian specialty. It pairs amazingly with our crisp, California-style Charlie Rae Chardonnay!


Cheese, Herb, & Onion Bavarian Egg Noodles & Chicken Apple Sausages

Makes about 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced finely
  • 1 package (3 cups dry) Bechtle Traditional German Egg Noodles Spaetzle (1.1 lbs. or 17.6 oz.)*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 8 chicken apple sausage links (about 26 oz. or 3 1/4 oz. per link)
  • 3 oz. chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. Chardonnay
  • 8 oz. Jarlsberg cheese, chopped finely
  • 1 packet dry Maggi Fix & Frisch Kase-Spatzle (35g or 1.23 oz.)*

*The Maggi Fix & Frisch Kase-Spatzle and Bechtle Traditional German Egg Noodles Spaetzle can be found on Amazon or at Cost Plus World Market online or in-store.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium. Add small diced yellow onion and sautée until soft and slightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Prepare dry German egg noodles as directed on package.
  3. While German egg noodles are cooking, heat the remaining olive oil on medium in the large pan. Add sliced medium yellow onion and sautée until soft and slightly browned. Add chicken apple sausages and cook until slightly brown on all sides, turning occasionally. Add mushrooms and Chardonnay and continue to cook until mushrooms are soft and wine has been cooked out.
  4. When noodles are still hot and have been drained, add chopped Jarlsberg cheese and stir well. Add packet dry Maggi Fix & Frisch and sautéed onions. Mix well.
  5. Enjoy the cheese spaetzle and chicken apple sausages with some Terrapin Ridge Pumpkin Honey Mustard (can be found at McGrail) and a glass of McGrail Charlie Rae Chardonnay!

Please let us know if you make this yummy Bavarian staple at home! I’d appreciate feedback and would love to hear from you.

Cheers and enjoy!

Wine at Home

Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts & McGrail Clone 8 Cabernet…

By Laina Carter of McGrail Vineyards


Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Makes about 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) Brussels sprouts, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 tbsp. red wine
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large, thick-bottomed pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium. Add onion and garlic and sautée until soft.
  2. Add bacon and sautée with onions and garlic until cooked through.
  3. Add Brussels sprouts and allow to soften and brown slightly, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add red wine and stir. Cook until absorbed completely.
  5. Add apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar reduction, and chicken broth. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to cook while covered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Uncover and add mushrooms. Stir. Allow liquid to cook out of Brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parmesan once plated.
  8. Enjoy with a glass of our Clone 8 Cabernet Sauvignon.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make this warm dish at home! Please let us know if you do try out this recipe. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers and enjoy!