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Thanksgiving with Staglin Family Vineyard

While Shari and Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard have called Rutherford home for nearly 40 years, when it comes to Thanksgiving, they return to their middle-American roots.

“It was always mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, a bread stuffing in the turkey and whole cranberries cooked fresh,” says Shari, originally from South Dakota. “We have all of those same things here, but we have corn on the cob, fresh peas or green beans.”

She loves making mashed potatoes, and she’s thinking of bringing back a Brussels sprouts dish she learned from chef Cindy Pawlcyn. The rest of the menu is a family affair. Son Brandon and his wife, Nancy Abreu, bring stuffing, often seasoned with Italian sausage, that appeals to her Portuguese-Italian family. Daughter Shannon Staglin drizzles Meyer lemon vinaigrette over a hearty salad of bitter greens like escarole and frisée, fuyu persimmons and pomegranate seeds from the family’s tree.

Though they do lots of alfresco outdoor entertaining, Thanksgiving dinner happens in the formal dining room. The long table, which seats 14, is usually filled with friends, their grandchildren, in-laws, son-in-law Artie Johnson II and sometimes his parents, who travel from Texas.

“In South Dakota we didn’t have any wine, which is now part of our tradition,” Shari says. “We serve our Sangiovese because it’s our family wine. We named it after Garen’s father and we toast Papa. We’re definitely filled with thankfulness for friends and family and for being as fortunate as we are.”