Falling into the Season of Thanksgiving – Loosen Bros. USA Monthly Newsletter

Oct 27, 2023 | Villa Wolf, Dr. Loosen, J. Christopher, Maximin Grunhaus, Wittmann, Featured, Appassionata

As November rolls in, it signals a shift from celebrating the hard work of the harvest to sharing heartfelt gratitude with our dear ones. It’s a time of reflection and appreciation for the art of winemaking and the next vintage. While harvest and Thanksgiving customs have evolved worldwide, many values remain the same, from Germany to North America. Take a jaunt to Germany’s Thanksgiving holiday of “Erntedank” and tantalize your tastebuds with a recipe for traditional German roasted pork shoulder. It’s sure to give your Thanksgiving celebrations an exciting twist!


Harvest Celebrations Bring Us Together

For centuries, harvest festivals have been a time to express gratitude for the year’s plentiful crop and good fortune. In Germany, the holiday of Erntedank is marked by celebrations, church services, and parades, typically held on the first Sunday of October. Today Erntedank celebrations continue to commemorate the hard work in Germany’s fields and gardens with a great day of gratitude that is shared with loved ones and delicious food.

In German churches, the customary celebration of Erntedankfest commences with a sermon and a choir performing hymns. This is followed by a thanksgiving procession, where the Harvest Queen (Erntekönigin) is presented with the customary harvest crown (Erntekrone).

Thanksgiving Dinner Table

North American Thanksgiving customs are grounded in gratitude.


Both the North American tradition of Thanksgiving and the German tradition of Erntedank are grounded in the act of expressing gratitude. What better way to celebrate than by sharing a meal with friends and loved ones? This roast pork shoulder recipe, paired with a Pinot Noir from our portfolio, is just one example of the many dishes that can bring people together and create lasting memories. As we continue into the holiday season, let us take a moment to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for and cherish the time we have with our loved ones. Have a happy Thanksgiving and Erntedankfest!


A Recipe for German Schweinebraten (Roasted Pork Shoulder)

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

Pinot Noir is an excellent wine to compliment roasted pork dishes. Its light to medium-body and fruity undertone provides a well-rounded flavor profile. The subtle earthy and spicy notes of the wine also enhance the rich, savory flavors of the pork. Additionally, the wine’s acidity can cut through the fattiness of the pork, making it an ideal pairing for this roasted pork shoulder recipe and other dishes like roasted pork tenderloin and pork chops.

Whether you’re looking for a Pinot Noir from Oregon or Germany, our extensive portfolio has you covered. Surprise your dinner guests with sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé from Dr. Loosen and Villa Wolf, or stick with a classic German Pinot Noir from Maximin Grünhaus, or Wittmann. Or transport yourself to the Pacific Northwest to experience Willamette Valley greatness from Appassionata Estate and J. Christopher Wines. The perfect pour awaits!

Roast Pork Shoulder

Grace your Thanksgiving table with a classic German roasted pork shoulder.


Active Time: 45 minutes   |   Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes   |   Serves: 8

  • 3 medium (about 6 oz each) leeks
  • 1 (4.5 pounds) boneless pork shoulder, preferably with a nice, even fat cap (or a 5.5-pound bone-in pork shoulder)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 large (about 12 oz) yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 3 large (about 6 oz each) carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 3 large (about 5 oz each) parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 2 (12 oz) cans of dark German beer
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1.) Remove and discard dark green tops from leeks (or save for stock). Rinse leeks thoroughly under cold water to remove all sand; pat dry. Slice leeks into 1/2-inch rounds (you’ll have about two cups). Set aside.

2.) If the butcher did not remove the bone: using a boning knife, carefully remove the shoulder blade from the pork shoulder (be careful not to damage the fat cap); discard the bone (or save for stock). Trim the shoulder until uniformly shaped and between 4.5 to 5 pounds in total weight.

3.) Using a sharp pairing knife, score the fat cap of the pork in a crosshatch pattern, slicing no more than 1/4 inch deep into the fat. Set aside, uncovered at room temperature on a roasting pan fitted with a rack.

4.) Cook cumin seeds and caraway seeds in a small skillet over medium, stirring often, until toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; let stand until completely cooled, about 5 minutes.

5.) Place cooled cumin mixture and mustard seeds in a spice grinder; grind into a coarse powder, for about 10 seconds. Transfer back to the small bowl and add the paprika, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper; stir until combined. Rub mixture evenly over the pork shoulder to completely coat and position the rack in the roasting pan, fat cap up. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.

6.) Bake pork, uncovered, until deep golden brown, and a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the pork registers 100°F, about 1 hour. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and move the rack with pork to a cutting board (it will go back into the oven shortly). Measure 2 tablespoons of rendered pork fat from roasting pan into a large bowl; add potatoes, onion, carrots, parsnips, leeks, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange vegetable mixture in roasting pan around the pork; pour beer over vegetables, and return roasting pan to oven; bake, uncovered, at 350°F, basting pork with beer mixture in the roasting pan every 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of pork registers 165°F and vegetables ate tender and golden, 1 hour, 30 minutes, to 1 hour, 45 minutes more.

7.) Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven, and transfer the pork to a platter. Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a platter around the pork; reserve the beer mixture in the roasting pan. Loosely cover pork with aluminum foil; let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

8.) Meanwhile, skim and discard fat from pan juices in the roasting pan, and pour pan juices through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bow. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, until roux is folded and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Whisk pan juices into the roux and whisk together until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium-low; simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper. Serve pork and vegetables with gravy.