7 tips for the ultimate tailgate party experience

Fantasy Football in the starting lineup. Then the NFL blitz, quickly bull rushed by college ball. Before long, you’re huddling with your home team to talk Super Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl drinks and snacks.

Football season is one of the longest parties of the year. You need a game plan. So, we’re here to coach you to the ultimate tailgate party season.

1. Think big!

Delicious fall weather lasts just a few months. Take advantage of every playtime opportunity of the season beyond football. Tailgate before a concert. Work tailgating into a pre-wedding party. Heck, you could tailgate before a friendly pickleball tournament or set up a bunch of corn hold boards in your granddaddy’s field or your own backyard and call all your friends!

2. Be the gaffer of good drinks

Sure, folks will bring their own, but rally your home team with extra drinks they’ll love. Duplin’s Tailgate Party Tasting Kit is a limited-time offer that delivers seven wines (plus snacks) directly to your door. Free shipping and $38 off! Fan favorites Muscadine Moscato, Orange Blossom and Blackberry are among the wines you’ll get. See them all at the bottom of this post. And if you're doing a "tailgate party" in your living room, share the kit's wine scoring sheet and following along with the tasting video guide above.

3. Quarterback that buffet

Sideline second-string, supermarket conveniences. No ho-hum hummus, healthy veggies or cheese in a can. You need crunchy, extra-large Bertie County Honey Roasted Peanuts. Massive sandwiches like Bourbon Barbecue Shimp Rolls. Cut lackluster hot dogs from the lineup. Jumbo hot dogs simmered in Cherry Balsamic Grilling Sauce and topped with corn chips, kraut and sauteed onions are winners. Find the fixings you need in Duplins Tailgate Party Tasting Kit.

4. Never tuck in your jersey

That’s just wrong on all levels.

5. Fly the GOAT Tailgater flag

Make sure everyone says your name when talking about the best tailgate party in the parking lot. Fly your colors. Float balloons. Hat trick every possible decoration detail.

6. Rev the team

Have some caffeine ready. Extra-strong iced tea. Better yet, iced espresso. Or energy shots.

7. Channel Tim Tebow

Yes, you’re the GOAT Tailgater, but nothing captivates a crowd more than a winner with a humble attitude. Share your Duplin Tailgate Party Tasting Kit, grill up the foods, pose when they ask for selfies by your solid tailgate set up and answer every compliment with “Aww shucks.”

How to taste wine like a Duplin pro

See. Swirl. Sniff. Sip. Savor. Use this 5-step system for each wine on the tasting sheet included in your kit. Here's how. 

See: First, hold a glass of wine up to a light and look at the color. It will allude to the variety of grapes used and what the wine will taste like. Is it Scuppernong? Nobel? Carlos? Another? Color also indicates flavor. A bright, saturated hue often means a more intense flavor. See if you can guess the grape and flavor before you sip.

Swirl: Consider the wine's body next. Swirl the wine in your glass to determine if it is light or heavy. You're looking for the viscous streaks running down the side of the glass after you swirl. They're called "legs." Sweeter wines will leave streaks to cling or move slowly. That means a heavier body.

Sniff: After you swirl, really dip your nose into the glass and inhale the aroma, which wine pros call the "bouquet" or "nose." Pausing to experience the bouquet heightens your senses and anticipation of the first sip. Think about what you are smelling. Is it fruity? What kind of fruit? Berries? Ripe banana? Musky honeydew melon? Pure grape? Are you getting floral notes like honeysuckle or gardenia? See if you pick up unexpected smells like pine or fall leaves. Describe the bouquet and discuss it.  

Sip: Take a sip slightly larger than normal and hold the wine in your mouth for 3-5 seconds. Let the wine coat the tongue and the inside of your mouth. Wine releases more flavors as it warms on your taste buds. Before swallowing, purse your lips and breathe in gently, allowing the air to travel across the wine in your mouth to get the full flavor profile.

Do the flavors you're experiencing match the wine's nose? When and where are you tasting those flavors? Are you getting, say, banana bread on the first sip and then astringency or acidity at the end, which is called "the finish." Where do flavors hit you? On the tongue? On the side of your mouth.

Think back to the wine's body. Compare the texture of different wines, how they feel in your mouth. Light as water or heavier, like the texture of sweet iced tea? If you're sampling a sparkling wine, do the bubbles feel fine or medium in size. Compare your experience to the wine's description and see if it matches.

Savor: As you continue sipping, note how the sensation is slightly different from what you experienced when the wine was resting in your mouth on the first sip. This is the point when you taste and feel the wine's finish. As you continue tasting, note how the wine pairs with the Duplin Gourmet crackers and Muscadine Pineapple Habenero dip. See which wine you like best with those snacks and others you may be enjoying during your at-home or virtual tasting. Cheers!

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Tailgate Tasting KitTailgate Tasting Kit

Tailgate Tasting Kit

Tailgate Tasting Sheet

Now, let's play ball!

Muscadine MoscatoMuscadine Moscato

Muscadine Moscato

Three years in the making, Muscadine Moscato sent our winemakers on a search for the finest Moscato wine to meld with Duplin's famous muscadine. "We're the first to do this, and no one can do it like we can," Dave says. "Muscadine Moscato is the best wine we've ever made, hands down.”

Smooth and sweet, with the Muscat grape’s natural hints of nectarine and white peach, Muscadine Moscato is beautifully sophisticated yet at home in any setting. Lightly chilled or ice-cold, this wine pairs with everything from filet to fried chicken. Like Dave says, “It’s hard to drink just one glass.”



New World explorers of the 1500s couldn’t believe so many wild grapes grew along the shore of what would become North Carolina. That same century, someone on Roanoke Island planted what has been named the Mothervine, a Scuppernong thought to be America’s first cultivated grapevine. Duplin acquired cuttings from the nearly 450-year-old vine in the early 2000s and released this sweet, fruity wine in 2008. With just one vineyard of Mothervine grapes, Duplin releases a limited amount of this wine.

Pelican RedPelican Red

Pelican Red

Pelican Red combines mid-harvest muscadines with Pink Catawba grapes. Catawbas are a cross between Vitis Labrusca and the European cultivar Semillon. Native to France, Semillon is a golden, thin-skinned grape used in sweet and dry wines. Historians aren’t sure who first crossed these two grapes, but early vines were said to have grown on a so-called “Rose Hill property” in Maryland.

With just 7% sugar, Pelican Red is mid-sweet with a smooth floral finish.

Sippin' SweetSippin' Sweet

Sippin' Sweet

When Duplin Winery first started bottling their wines in the 1970s, they had to use mason jars rather than the traditional wine bottle. Not long after, Duplin had to change its jar over to a more standard wine bottle because the mason jars needed to be able to hold 750mL of wine, which were difficult to find at that time.

Fast forward to 2015 and Sippin' Sweet is released to pay homage to the early years and as a wine that would be bottled exclusively in the new location in North Myrtle Beach, SC. 

A special blend of red Muscadine grapes, this wine starts sweet with a clean finish.



Earthy sweetness bursting with blackberries brings us back to summer days spent picking wild blackberries. Our winemakers use fresh North Carolina berries for this Duplin favorite. Expressive chilled or at room temperature, Blackberry pairs wonderfully with honey-glazed ham, brown-sugar-braised short ribs, spice cake and rich holiday meals.

Visit our recipe page for some scrumptious Blackberry drink and dessert recipes.

Orange BlossomOrange Blossom

Orange Blossom

A wine to welcome Florida to the Duplin family as we celebrate the opening of our new location in Panama City Beach. Inspired by the place where warm, orange blossom breezes blow and summer never ends. Refreshingly juicy citrus notes and light marmalade sweetness sparkle in this finely carbonated wine. Elegant enough to pour for special seafood dinners like grilled snapper or crab-stuffed shrimp, but also fun and easy for those times when only cold, leftover pizza and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos will do. 

Honey Roasted PeanutsHoney Roasted Peanuts

Honey Roasted Peanuts

These Honey Roasted Peanuts from Bertie County, NC are lightly salted with a light coat of sugary honey. Perfect for your next gathering with family and friends. 

Sweet Bourbon GlazeSweet Bourbon Glaze

Sweet Bourbon Glaze

Duplin Winery's Sweet Bourbon Glaze is sure to set your tastebuds dancing! Great for good 'ol southern foods and grilling. Add a distinct flavor to your grilled salmon, pork, and chicken.

Cherry Balsamic Grilling SauceCherry Balsamic Grilling Sauce

Cherry Balsamic Grilling Sauce

Very rich and pleasantly smokey, this Cherry Balsamic Grill Sauce mixes tart and sweet and spruces up any dish!

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