Five Great Wild Game Wine Pairings

As president of Hope Family Wines, Austin Hope dedicates much of his day to working in the vineyards and spending time with his wife and two daughters. However, there is one pastime that Austin will always make room for in his schedule: hunting.

Whether he is teaching his daughter the basics of hunting or taking friends on a trip, Austin is a passionate and skilled hunter. He is proof there is more to winemakers than just bottles of Pinot.

Here are his top five wine pairings for your next wild-game dinner.

Deer, Elk — 2012 Austin Hope Grenache, Paso Robles, California
Since elk is a very lean meat, I would pair a lighter-style of wine as to not overpower the delicacy of the meat.

BuffaloDomaine Tempier Bandol Rouge, Provence, France
Buffalo has a unique gamey quality to it that would pair perfectly with the rustic, meaty flavors of this Mourvedre-based blend from Bandol.

Rabbit — 2012-13 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California
The crisp, bright, floral flavors pair well with a rabbit’s unique flavors and subtle gaminess.

Duck — 2012 Treana Red, Paso Robles, California
Since duck has the fullest flavor of any of these meats, you want a wine to match the flavor intensity. The fat from the skin of the duck needs a wine with richness, and the supple tannins make a perfect complement to the full-bodied flavor of the duck.

Pheasant — 2012 Louis Jadot Pommard Les Riugens/Pommard, Burgundy, France The lighter-bodied nature of this wine, along with its delicate fruit flavors and touch of earthiness would pair well with the mild flavors of a pheasant.

Austin Hope’s Marinated Grilled Duck
1 whole plucked duck, pintail or green-winged teal preferred
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups Coconut Milk
2 cups Papaya Juice

Split a whole cleaned duck down the middle.

Prepare Marinade
Place duck in plastic bag with marinade for 24 to 48 hours and refrigerate. When ready to cook, remove the duck from plastic bag and season with salt and pepper.


If you’re in the mood for a great deer roast, try this stuffed venison tenderloin from Stacy Harris. She’s the founder of and author of several cookbooks. This is a great roast to prepare for Christmas and looks very cool, too!

Stuffed Venison Tenderloin

4 servings

Stacy Harris, who created this venison tenderloin, enjoys the ease of preparing this dish, which is fantastic for you and your family. (Photo: Stacy Harris,

Stacy Harris, who created this venison tenderloin, enjoys the ease of preparing this dish, which is fantastic for you and your family. (Photo: Stacy Harris,

2 strips bacon, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 deer tenderloins, silver skin removed
salt and pepper
1/3 cup softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
butcher string or wooden skewers

Lightly brown bacon in a skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until mushrooms are softened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Allow to cool. Butterfly tenderloins, leaving a “hinge” on one side, a lay flat. Season inside with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on one side. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over cream cheese. Spread bacon/mushroom mixture over cream cheese.

Fold outer edges over and roll tightly like a burrito. Tie with string or secure with wooden skewers. Rub outside with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown evenly on all sides, but not past medium-rare. Allow meat to rest for a few minutes, remove string and slice into medallions.


Hunting for Food: A Guide to Harvesting Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game is available now for pre-order at and will be released in July 2015.

Learn how to hunt, process, and cook a wide variety of wild game with Hunting for Food by Jenny Nguyen and Rick Wheatley.

Begin with detailed instructions on the best practices for hunting different types of game, including coverage of how to find or attract the game you’re looking to hunt, best times for hunting, and the gear you’ll need to be successful. Get your copy here!