Red Wine Popcorn

Red Wine Popcorn

Oh yes, you read that correctly! Red. Wine. Popcorn. Red Wine Popcorn, hooray! It’s here! Can you tell I’m giddy over this latest recipe?! And this is not just any Red Wine Popcorn. This latest creation was inspired by the upcoming “Scandal” season finale and Olivia Pope’s evening ritual of winding down like with a big glass of wine and an even bigger bowl of popcorn!

Hmm, as I write that I really could be talking about myself or my mother-in-law! I guess Pat and I channel Olivia Pope every single night, ha!

“Scandal” is such a monumental show and Olivia Pope is a character we will always remember. So the show and Olivia definitely needed a gladiator send off. This Red Wine Popcorn is my tribute to the end of an era, and the hope that Shonda Rhimes will come out with a new show that will be just as good.

Make sure to check out my YouTube video demonstration for this recipe!  OLIVIA POPE RED WINE POPCORN VIDEO!

Cheers, and let’s get winey!

The Popcorn

The first step to making this Red Wine Popcorn? Making some fresh popcorn!

First, get a huge pot that has a lid. Put it on a burner that is turned to Medium. Add some Sunflower Oil to the pot and 4-5 kernels of popcorn.

As soon as those kernels pop, put in the rest of the kernels. Then close the lid and as it pops, shake the pot over the burner. When the popping slows, remove from the heat. Give it about 30 more seconds for the rest of those kernels to catch up. Then spread the popcorn onto a parchment lined baking sheet to relax and wait for its red wine bath!

The Red Wine

When settling on the perfect Red Wine Popcorn, it took me some trial and error to come up with the ideal red wine caramel sauce. I tried this a handful of ways. Then I realized that I, like Olivia Pope, have some consultants! So I reached out to my friend, and wine expert, Nelson Gerena of The Vintner Project. He is not only knowledgeable about every wine varietal ever made, he gets to know each wine maker! What a life, right?! Nelson brings so much passion to the wine industry. He highlights new Vintners each week. Go check out his blog here, The Vintner Project.

When making a red wine caramel sauce, you can go about it two ways that both yield fantastic, yet different results. First, you can make a traditional brown sugar based caramel sauce that infuses a sweet dessert wine like port. For this method, Nelson suggested I try a Tawny Port since it has caramel notes.

Second, you can make a straight up red wine sauce that will let the wine flavor and color be the star of the show. Bingo! This second method is the one I knew I wanted to use for this particular “Olivia Pope Red Wine Popcorn”! So for this wine forward sauce, I used a full bodied Cabernet.

After Nelson guided me in the direction of which kind of sauce I was looking for, I needed to move on to my next consultant! Which then took me to my friend, Fletcher, over at our local Total Wine. 

Wow, I feel like I’m in the middle of the “Scandal” Board Game!

Fletcher suggested I use a bottle under $10 that I still like to drink. Easy enough! I used one of my favorites, which you can browse here, 5 Best Wines Under $25!

The Red Wine Caramel Sauce

Now it is time to make that Red Wine Caramel Sauce! First, get your Cabernet reducing into a small saucepan.

reduce wine

This took about 20 minutes to reduce down to 1/4 cup. That sounds like a long time for wine to be bubbling away, but as Elsa would urge, just let it go!

Meanwhile, when your wine reduction only has about 5 minutes left to go, start on your caramel.

In a separate saucepan, combine your water, granulated sugar, and salt. Whisk constantly for 3 minutes. It will look like a white and thick paste, like below. That’s good!

white sugar caramel

Then, remove from the heat. Take your reduced wine and begin to slowly pour it into the sugar mixture. Do this from the side of the pan since it foams and sizzles up.

Red wine caramel sauce

Look how gorgeous that wine reduction is! That is the color that will be coating your Red Wine Popcorn in mere seconds! Note that you want to stir this for about a minute after adding the wine. This will give your sauce time to get smooth.

red wine caramel popcorn sauce

You will notice that the sauce is thinner than you would be expecting caramel to be. This will thicken as you bake it and form a coating all over each piece of popcorn.

red wine infused popcorn

After you pour that gorgeous wine sauce all over the popcorn, make sure toss it so each piece gets coated.

Olivia Pope Red Wine Popcorn

Then bake this on a low setting for 20 minutes, stirring the popcorn halfway.

Red wine coated popcorn

Stunning, delicious, and oh-so Scandalous! This is a dish fit for Olivia Pope, Shonda Rhimes, and all the gladiator fans out there! And anyone else who loves Red Wine Popcorn!

Goodbye “Scandal”! You will forever live on through this Red Wine Popcorn!!

Scandal Series Finale Viewing Party

Red Wine Popcorn



  • 6 cups of freshly popped popcorn
    • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
    • 2 tablespoons Sunflower oil
  • 1 cup Cabernet
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • Optional: Red Wine sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pop up your popcorn in a large pot. Start with 4-5 kernels. When they pop, toss the rest in and close lid. Then, gently shake the pot while they all pop. Remove from heat and when popcorn is cool enough, spread popcorn onto the baking sheet. Remove any stray kernels!
  • In a small saucepan, pour in your wine. Let reduce for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, when wine has 5 minutes remaining, begin the rest of your caramel. In a saucepan, melt butter.
  • Then, add sugar, water, and sea salt. Then keep stirring constantly for 3 minutes, until thick and not yet browning.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Gently and slowly, pour the wine on the side so it doesn’t steam up, sputter, and burn your hand!
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Then, pour the red wine sauce all over the popcorn and toss to coat.
  • Then bake your popcorn for 20 minutes, stirring halfway.
  • Enjoy with a big glass of wine at your “Scandal” viewing party!


  • First, go check out my YouTube Video demonstration for this recipe!
  • For extra flair, sprinkle on some Red Wine infused Sea Salt!
  • If you don’t use Cabernet, try a Merlot!
  • Make sure to tag me in the photos of your Red Wine Popcorn!
  • Try to make #shondawhy a trending hashtag since none of us want this show to be over!!
  • SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube so you don’t miss anymore upcoming fun!!



Check out these other Ritzy Recipes!

Red Wine Braised Pot Roast

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle