Grill & Swill: The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Wine Pairings for Your BBQ

Grill & Swill: The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Wine Pairings for Your BBQ

Hey there, BBQ lovers and wine enthusiasts!

Welcome to our ultimate guide to perfect wine pairings for your BBQ.

Whether you're firing up the grill for some mouth-watering ribs, sizzling up some juicy burgers, or going all out with a full-blown BBQ feast, we've got you covered with wine pairings that will take your cookout to the next level.

From fruity whites that complement big flavours to bold reds that stand up to hearty meats, our recommendations are all about enhancing your BBQ experience with just the right sip.

So, grab your tongs and corkscrew, and let's dive into the delicious world of BBQ and wine pairings. Cheers to good times, great food, and even better wine!


  • If your dish is heavy on the spice, then a fruity, aromatic white with a touch of residual sweetness is your best friend, particularly since they tend to be lower in alcohol. These wines will counteract the burn from spicy foods, soothing your palate and balancing the heat.

    Look for an off-dry Riesling, Gewurztraminer or a Vinho Verde.

    Grilled fish pairs wonderfully with high acid wines that have a touch of salinity or minerality. Muscadets, Picpoul de Pinet and Albariño are all classic examples of white wines that enhance the delicate flavours in fresh fish. If you’re coating your fish with lots of spices, then an off-dry Muscadet or Albariño as well as a Vinho Verde would tick both boxes.

    Shellfish like prawns and meaty fish like salmon or Tuna can be paired with a white, rosé or even a light, slightly chilled red like a young Gamay or cool climate Pinot Noir but if in doubt, get the sparkling out! 


  • Halloumi is quite a salty cheese that pairs well with wines that have a bit of body and fruit. Try a Bordeaux white, Sauvignon or warm-climate Chardonnay

    Green vegetables and salads are notoriously hard to pair with, however a New World Sauvignon or Austrian Grüner Veltliner can handle those green, bitter flavours.

    Other grilled vegetables like red peppers, aubergine or onion could do with a red that has a bit of spice or a herby, tomato-y quality. Try a Tempranillo, Sangiovese or a Montepulciano if you fancy a bigger red. However, lighter reds and flavourful rosés will do the job here as well. 


  • Chicken can be paired with different wines depending on the marinade or sauce. Lemony flavours would need a white that has strong citrus flavours like a Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc or Vermentino. These wines also match with garlic prawns or herby sausages if you prefer white to red. 

    A classic grilled chicken goes really well with a nice Viognier and if you’re opting for more traditional BBQ flavours then a full-bodied Chardonnay is always a great option. If you’d prefer a red, a Sicilian Frappato is a great choice.

    Sweet BBQ pork screams for a Spanish Monastrell or Primitivo. The bold fruit flavours complement the sweet, smoky elements in the sauce.

    When the sauce is more on the savoury and peppery side, my go-to is a Chilean Carménère. The spicy, dark fruit and bell-pepper flavours are also just the thing for any hoisin-based glazes.  


  • Fruity Pinot Noirs and Gamays are always great pairings with sausages. Grenache blends and Nerello Mascalese are also safe BBQ favourites as they’re more full-bodied but fruity, perfect for the juicy meat flavours without overpowering the entire dish.

    When opting for reds for alfresco dining, make sure you don’t let the temperature of your wine reach higher than room temperature (18℃) as it’ll feel like you’re drinking bath water.

    Don’t be afraid to chill the reds slightly before serving and make sure the bottle is kept in a cool place. If it’s an extremely hot day, consider keeping the wine cool in an ice bucket. Who cares if people think it’s weird. It’s what they do in Spain so that counts for something, right?


  • BIg, beefy flavours call for a big, beefy red. You’re looking for something full-bodied with a fair bit of tannin to cut through the fat and balance out the umami flavours in the meat. Malbec, is of course, a favourite. Reserva versions have bold black fruits and sweet notes of tobacco that help balance the richness of the meat, but don’t forget about some other great contenders. Cabernet Sauvignon blends are fantastic with fatty cuts, the peppery, smoky notes in a Shiraz pair perfectly with a peppered steak, and the creamy, oaky notes in an aged Rioja can stand up to any chargrilled cut of beef. 


    As mentioned earlier, the temperature of your wine is really important at a BBQ, particularly if it’s a hot day. No one likes a lukewarm wine so pour small servings and let people top themselves up with a fresh glass that hasn’t been sitting in the sun for too long!

    Don’t forget to think about sauce and marinade. You may think a light Gamay for the sausages but if they’re going to be covered in a thick layer of smoky BBQ sauce, you may want to consider something that packs a bit more of a punch.

    Most things that go well with a white can be substituted with a sparkling if that’s your preference and a sparkling red like a sparkling Shiraz or a quality Lambrusco are always welcome at a BBQ.

    With these wine recommendations and tips, you can take your BBQ to a whole new level and wow your guests with your grilling and swilling skills.

    Iechyd da to your fantastic BBQs!