10 Donut and Wine Pairings

Thankfully, there’s no rule that says you can only pair wine with soufflés and crème brûlées. If you’re old enough to drink a glass of wine, that means you get to make the rules. And as far as we’re concerned, donut and wine pairings sound like the perfect happy hour.

While we love simple, dressed-down donuts and donut holes, speciality donut shops have been popping up for the last decade, bringing with them an explosion of new and delicious flavors. From cake to glazed to maple bacon, these little balls of goodness are now considered trendy and even – dare we say – gourmet desserts.

Whether you’re bringing a box of the classics to a casual gathering, or unveiling a platter of these tasty pastries at your next dinner party, here’s are 10 donut and wine pairings!

Pairing Tips for your Sweet Tooth

When it comes to pairing wine with sweet treats, the basic rule of thumb is to pick a wine that’s as sweet or slightly sweeter than the dessert, otherwise the whole combination can end up tasting bitter.

How will you know the level of sweetness in wine? As the name suggests, dessert wines tend to go well with desserts. These are the sweetest wines out there. 

The term “off-dry” or “demi-sec” on a wine label means semi-sweet. You may see this term on sparkling wine bottles, or white wines like Riesling.

If you prefer a dry style of wine, here’s some good news: Fruit notes in wine can make up for a lack of sweetness. So a fruit-forward wine from a New-World region like California or Australia will also be a good choice alongside dessert.

Our Favorite Wine & Donut Pairings

1. Original 

As you know, plain ol’ donuts are anything but plain. Light and fluffy, these heavenly bites pair well with a lightly oaked Chardonnay – and not just because both have been accused of being basic. The richness of Chardonnay matches the richness in these donuts, plus tropical fruit notes take this pairing to the next level.

Bright Cellars Meet Cute Oaked Chardonnay
Bright Cellars’ Meet Cute Oaked Chardonnay

Our favorite wine for this pairing is Bright Cellars’ Meet Cute Oaked Chardonnay! This creamy and rich Chardonnay has flavor notes of lemon curd, pineapple, mango, and coconut!

glazed donut and wine pairing

2. Glazed

Glazed donuts pair well a fruity red like Merlot. Notes of dark plum and cedar in Merlot are a good match for the hint of vanilla in these donuts. Alternatively, you could go with a off-dry sparkling wine, like Cava or Champagne.

chocolate donut

3. Chocolate 

Chocolate donuts – whether glazed or topped with sprinkles – pair well with a rich red wine like Syrah. New-World Syrah, also known as Shiraz, has notes of blackberry and vanilla, plus a touch of sweetness. You could also pair chocolate donuts with a sweeter red, like Grenache-based Banyuls

Silverscape Syrah Bright Cellars
Bright Cellars’ own Silverscape Syrah

Our favorite Syrah for this pairing is the Silverscape Syrah from Bright Cellars. This vino features flavors of spice, earth, and fruit-forward raspberry notes.

4. Strawberry Frosted 

These delightfully pink donuts pair well with an off-dry rosé – a delightfully pink wine – thanks to its fruity notes of strawberry. You could also go with a Moscato, a sweet white wine with notes of pear and honeysuckle.

Vanilla frosted donuts

5. Vanilla Frosted

Vanilla frosted donuts pair well with a slightly sweet white like Riesling – with notes of green apple and jasmine – or Gewürztraminer, a floral white wine with notes of lychee and ginger. Fruity and floral notes are a nice match for the sweetness and spice of vanilla.

Dreamlet Gewürztraminer - Bright Cellars
Bright Cellars’ own Dreamlet Gewürztraminer

The perfect wine for this pairing would be the Dreamlet Gewürztraminer from Bright Cellars! This vino balances acidity and sweetness with flavors of lychee, peach, and lemon zest.

6. Jelly

Jelly-filled donuts have that perfect combination of sweetness and berry goodness, so you’ll want a fruity red wine with jammy notes to match. Zinfandel is a great choice or you can go with an off-dry rosé

apple cider donut and wine pairing

7. Apple Cider

Thankfully, these delicious donuts are back in season. Enjoy a cinnamon apple cider donut with Chenin Blanc – a white wine with notes of pear and honey – or sherry, a fortified wine.

8. Creme 

These luscious donuts pair well with ruby port, a red dessert wine with notes of raspberry, cinnamon, and chocolate. You could also pair rich creme-filled donuts with a lighter sparkling wine for a contrast.

9. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon flavored donuts and gooey cinnamon rolls pair well with a fruit-forward Pinot Noir from a region like California. You could also go with a tawny port, a dessert wine with notes of caramel. 

Hazelaire Pinot Noir
Bright Cellars’ Hazelaire Pinot Noir

Our favorite Pinot Noir for this donut pairing would be the Hazelaire Pinot Noir. This light-bodied red wine has flavor notes of vanilla, earth, raspberry, and black cherry.

maple bacon donut

10. Maple Bacon 

Feeling decadent? Maple bacon donuts are salty, sweet, and crunchy, making them a complex bite before you even factor in the wine. Pinotage, a South African wine with notes of black cherry, fig, and roasted meat, is a good pairing for these donuts. You could also go with a light, semi-sweet sparkling wine.

donut and wine pairing

In Vino Finito

The right glass of wine can enhance your favorite donut, no matter which flavor you love the most. Need some help pairing your favorite specialty donut with wine? Email us and we can help out.

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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