Wine Folly Logo
Tips & Tricks

Wine vs Grill: Which Wine with BBQ Wins?

- Updated

My friends are hosting a barbecue and they gave me the option to bring booze. Beer and gin would be the classic summer choice (and tequila when applicable). But I am a wine person and they know this. So, how do I serve wine with bbq without looking ostentatious?

Also, what are classic barbecue wine pairings?

Shed some light on wine pairing with barbecue because with a few tricks in addition to finding a great wine. Here are 3 tips and 13 wines to drink at a barbecue.
 

Barbecue with Wine

Brisket Burgers Chicken Sausage Mushrooms
Sparkling Wine
Sauvignon Blanc
Dry Riesling
Dry Rosé
Pinot Noir
Zinfandel
Carignan
Carménère
Cabernet Franc
Tempranillo
Malbec
Syrah
Touriga Nacional
Classic outdoor barbecue wines. Most of these varieties can be found around the $10-$15 mark.

 
barbecue grill on fire


TIP 1: The Wine Substitute for Beer

Popular Cava Producers Brands
Sparkling wines like Cava are often cheaper than beer per serving.

Beer is the go-to for barbecue because it acts as a palate cleanser. Drinks like this scrape out richness and fat on your palate with acidity, carbonation and coldness.
 
Looking for the same effect with wine? Sparkling wine has the same palate-cleansing effect. A great, wallet-friendly sparkler is Cava; it’s like the Spanish equivalent to Champagne. There are also several dry, high-acid white wines like dry Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc that offer a similar effect.
 
Compare different wine substitutes for common beers


TIP 2: Hot Outside? Serve It Chilled

Port Wine Cocktail - Ruby on the Rocks
“Ruby on the Rocks” Port wine cocktail

It was nearly 95 degrees out when I just randomly decided to throw a bottle of 2004 Reserva Rioja into the fridge. Wine aficionados may shiver in their boots but the fact of the matter was, that under those circumstances, it tasted better. When you chill a wine with big tannins it acts more like iced tea: extremely refreshing.

Chill your red wines. Don’t think, just do it.

When the president of Portugal’s largest independent wine company hands you a glass of Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Port on the rocks, you try it. You’ll never see Port wine the same again.


TIP 3: Think Cheap

Easy-Sangria-Recipe
Hands down, cheapest best Sangria recipe ever.

Forget splurging that extra $3-$10 for the perfect bottle of wine and use the money for barbecue accoutrements like chips. Also, if your wine selection is super limited and you’re going to buy something under $6, check out this Instant Sangria Recipe. We’ve tested it against the Sangria in Rioja, and still think it’s less-sweet and more delicious. Or make the season’s current fave: Kalimotxo.

See Also:

Buy the Book - Get the Course!

Get the Wine 101 Course ($29 value) FREE with the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition Collectors Edition.

Learn More

AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

Cover Image for An Intro to Dry White Wines

An Intro to Dry White Wines

Understand how to choose a dry white wine for cooking and find out about the 3 dominant styles of dry white wines. These white wines are anything but sweet.

Read More
Cover Image for Thanksgiving Wine Survival Guide

Thanksgiving Wine Survival Guide

Thanksgiving is nigh! Hopefully at this point you have some sort of vague plan of what you’re doing. Never fear, let’s pick the best wines to match with all kinds of Thanksgiving dishes

Read More
Cover Image for Make Your Valentine’s Day Wine Dinner at Home

Make Your Valentine’s Day Wine Dinner at Home

How to pull off the most intimate Valentine’s Day wine dinner at home without breaking a sweat. See how white wine and Champagne create a sensorial meal.

Read More
Cover Image for What are You Drinking? Holiday Wine Guide

What are You Drinking? Holiday Wine Guide

Check out this complete holiday wine pairing guide which includes the best Thanksgiving wine, Christmas wine and great affordable holiday wine alternatives.

Read More
Cover Image for Guide to Wine For Beginners (Infographic)

Guide to Wine For Beginners (Infographic)

The wine for beginners infographic has the answers you’re looking for. Learn the different wine styles, wine glasses and tips on tasting like a wine connoisseur.

Read More
Cover Image for How to Order Wine Like a Sommelier

How to Order Wine Like a Sommelier

The goal is simple, learn how to order wine that not only pleases your dining partner but works great with the food. Also, avoid embarrassing moments during “The Wine Presentation” by knowing what’s expected…

Read More