Winter might be coming, but wine has been here for a long time, and it’s not going anywhere. If you’ve watched, like, 10 minutes of Game of Thrones, you’ll know that the Westerosi rival the French when it comes to per capita wine consumption. From Winterfell to Asshai, wine is consumed with fervor as a means of celebrating, forgetting and simply washing down really gross food.
The great fans of Game of Thrones have studied the books and pieced together a great deal of information about the wines fictionalized by author George R.R. Martin. And, much like in the real world, the folks in the Seven Kingdoms have some fierce feelings and snooty tastes when it comes to vino. If you caught that Ed Sheeran cameo, you’ll remember that even our little rough-and-tumble Arya Stark still choked a bit on some wine one of the Lannister infantrymen had made.
In general, most wine in the series comes from the south where climates are warmer and the soil is fertile. The private collection, special vintage, vineyard select wine of Game of Thrones is largely considered to be Arbor Wine. Sweet, dry and decadent, Arbor Wines are prized by the houses that can afford it (think Lannisters and Tyrells). And, of course, “Arbor Gold” is the nickname for the rich white wines that come out of the little isle of the same name.
But, the Dornish would not be caught dead (though, find me a living Dornishman these days, am I right?) drinking weak and watery Arbor Wine. Dornish reds are characterized as sour and heavy wines. Stiff ports would give you a similar experience.
Further south, in tropical, exotic lands like Myr, Qarth and Volantis, those hailing from the Narrow Sea in Essos have their own preferred libations. If Danaerys had a wine label—assuming there would be one large enough to accommodate her ever-growing honorific—it would likely reflect the light fruity flavors of the varietals produced in the Free Cities.
With colors ranging from a incredibly pale green to soft yellow, these wines are sweet with notes of pear and honey. Weaker, less prized varietals are produced in Slavers Bay, and those creepy face-stealers have their own wine, too, called “Shade of the Evening. This not-so-palatable wine will turn your lips blue. Qarthians also enjoy a mysterious spicy wine called “dreamwine” (but isn’t most wine pretty dreamy?).
In a world where wine is part of breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s bound to be a glass or two poured in every episode. Next time, listen closely for some regional wine shade getting thrown between the northerners and southerners. And let us not ever forget the wise words of Tyrion Lannister, whose fondness for wine can hardly be rivaled: “Everything is better with a little wine in the belly.”