Wine Pairings for Parenting Moments

That phrase “it’s five o’clock somewhere” must have been created by a parent. Who else really needs a drink at 10:00 a.m. other than a parent who has been completely humiliated by their child’s public behavior or horrified by their actions? 

Sommeliers go through years of training so they can perfectly pair a wine with a meal. Privately, I often wonder what they drink after those special parenting moments. Kids don’t come with a rule book, but they should come with drink recommendations. I’ve decided to put my years of “training” as a parent and my previous experience in the wine industry to good use. Today, I will be your parenting sommelier. You can thank me later.

The Toddler Years

When your toddler son uses the contents of his dirty diaper and the leaf from a houseplant to paint his masterpiece…on his friend’s face.



Wine Pairing: Zinfandel –The higher alcohol content and strong fruit and spice notes will help you balance out any pungent odors while providing you with a sense of much-needed relaxation as you clean the “aromatic” children and furniture. 

Wine4Food suggests: OZV Old Vine Zinfandel

When you remind your clumsy daughter, who is already covered in bruises, that she will fall again if she doesn’t stop running through the store, and she loudly responds, “Mommy, I don’t want another bruise!”

Wine pairing: An Italian Barolo – This noble red wine brings you back to your honeymoon in Florence when life was perfect and uncomplicated. Back then, your future looked bright. 

Wine4Food suggests: Palazzo Scavino Barolo

Elementary School

When your son fills the sinks with paper towels, turns on the water and floods the school bathroom – again. This time, he achieves this feat while his teacher is standing right outside the door.

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir – This wine pairs nicely with most meals, making it the perfect gift for the [ . Speaking of gifts, it’s time to start thinking about end-of-year presents for his teacher and the school janitor.  

Wine4Food suggests: Valley of the Moon Pinot Noir

When, during a school assembly, your daughter raises her hand to share that the place you visit most often is the village pub, and she’s allowed to sit at the bar with Mommy and Daddy!

Wine pairing: A vintage port – After reading the tenth email from a parent in your child’s class, it’s time for this day to end. As your bartender always recommends, ports are a great nightcap, no matter the time. 

Middle School

When the vice principal calls your house so often that you begin answering the phone with, “Which one’s in trouble now?”

Wine pairing: A crisp, chilled Pinot Grigio – It’s time to start thinking about summer when you can ship both kids off to summer camp. You’ll enjoy a bit of relaxation by the pool, knowing you and the vice principal are on a two-month break. 

Wine4Food suggests: Dantello Pinot Grigio

When your not-yet-teenage daughter screams that you’ve ruined her life and she’ll never speak to you again. She just can’t believe you refuse to let her leave the house in a shirt that ends above her bellybutton, paired with a skirt that barely covers her rear.

Wine pairing: Rosé  – A refreshing, light wine will remind you of the innocent times when the Disney Channel guided her wardrobe choices. 

Wine4Food suggests: Castello delle Regine Rose delle Regine

High School

When your 17-year-old son gets dropped off at home by his friends, even though he took the car earlier that evening. He then tries to explain that he was involved in an accident where an unassuming guard rail suddenly “leaped out” in front of his car, totaling the vehicle.

Wine pairing: A first growth Boudreaux – You can’t help but enjoy a rare wine that you can no longer afford. Thanks to Junior’s higher insurance rate and new car, your “lush fund” has gone the way of the dodo bird.

Wine4Food suggests: Chateau la Rose Haut Medoc

When your 14-year-old daughter “wants to talk” so she can explain why she needs birth control pills. 

Wine pairing: California Cabernet – This full-bodied, smooth wine pairs perfectly with research on chastity belts and all-girls Catholic boarding schools. 

Wine4Food suggests: Mira Cabernet Napa Valley

If you’ve raised them well, by college they will have learned from the master (you!) and know exactly how to help you survive their latest “great news.”  Meeting the new lover who boasts a decade of additional life experience, a request for more money after being fired, or the announcement of a year-long break off to find themselves is always easier to manage with a nice glass of fermented grapes.

Gia is the wearer of many hats – freelance writer, mother of two creative young humans, owner of a crazy dog, sometimes the better half, best advice giver (according to her friends), and a lover of delicious food paired with the perfect wine. Fifteen years ago, she made a New Year’s resolution to learn how to cook, and it was one of the best decisions she ever made. On most evenings, you’ll find Gia happily cooking a homemade meal while sipping a glass of great wine and dancing along to whatever music is playing on Alexa.