The Autumnal Equinox Burger

Pairs well with:


Get cozy and get pouring. Our Merlot is the wine for long weekends and lengthy chats.

This New England inspired burger features a patty seasoned with fresh sage and moistened with rich, Sutter Home Merlot.Smothered with thyme infused caramelized onions, it sits on a maple sweetened slaw studded with toasted walnuts and cranberries. This burger is topped with sharp Vermont cheddar and encased in a toasted bun that’s been dusted with freshly grated nutmeg. Hearty enough to serve in the fall when the weather is getting a bit cooler, but one doesn’t want the summer grilling season to end. Brimming with Thanksgiving spices and harvest touches, it’s truly a regional burger!


1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of good quality mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Salt, divided use, 1/4 teaspoon for the coleslaw and 2 teaspoons for the burgers
2 1/2 cups of packaged coleslaw mix (green and red cabbage with carrots)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cranberries, if unavailable 1/4 cup of craisons can be substituted
1 tablespoon of real maple syrup
2 pounds of ground chuck
1/2 cup grated white onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup Sutter Home Merlot
2 medium-large white onions, sliced into rings (enough to yield 4 cups)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons of butter, divided use, 1 teaspoon for toasting the walnuts, 2 tablespoons for caramelizing the onions, 2 tablespoons to brush on the buns
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
6 good quality hamburger buns (preferably fresh from the bakery) split
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
2 cups of shredded sharp white Vermont cheddar cheese


Combine the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Add the coleslaw mix, cranberries and drizzle the maple syrup on top. Mix well, cover and refrigerate.
Combine ground chuck, salt, grated onion, sage and Merlot in a large bowl mixing lightly but thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and flatten into 6 disks. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In a medium bowl, toss the onion rings with the thyme, cover and refrigerate.
Pre-heat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
Heat a medium, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Melt the teaspoon of butter and add the chopped walnuts. Toast the walnuts until golden and fragrant; set aside. Keep grill set at medium-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the thyme coated onion rings and cook about 15-20 minutes over medium heat until all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.
Melt the final 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Brush on the cut sides of the buns, dust with the freshly grated nutmeg and set aside.
Brush grill grates with the vegetable oil. Place patties on grill and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, top the burgers with divided portions the cheddar cheese. Place the bun sections cut side down on the outer edges of the grill until lightly toasted.
Add the toasted walnuts to the coleslaw and toss to combine.
To assemble the burgers, place equal servings of the coleslaw mixture on each bun bottom followed by a cheese topped patty and divided portions of the thyme flavored onions. Cover with a bun top, slice burger in half and serve.