grilled meat background


Written by: Greg Rixen

 As the snow melts in the Spring, two things come to my mind: time to clean up the yard and fire up the grill. And what goes with sunshine and BBQ…cocktails!   If you are wondering how to match up those smoky, spicy, sweet treats from the grill with wine or beer…I have the answers ready for you!


Steak, Chicken or Pork with Sweet BBQ Sauce:   A great wine to pair with sweet BBQ sauce is Zinfandel or Zinfandel based blends.  Zinfandel is full bodied with a friendly, dark berry and smoky character that will compliment the sweet BBQ sauce.

Recommended Wines:   The Culprit Red Blend, California or Duxouop Charbono, California

Recommended Beer:       Fargo Brewing Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale


Steak, Chicken or Pork with a Spicy Seasoning or Spicy BBQ Sauce:  When spices become the focus of the meat, such as Cajun or Black Pepper, we want to select a wine that is full bodied and has those spice flavors too. Shiraz/Syrah is a fantastic wine to pair with meats that have a spice accent for flavoring.  Shiraz is similar to Zinfandel, but tends to have a little more body and spice.  If you are going with extra spicy heat like Jalapeno or Habanero – stick to beer to cool off your palate.

Recommended Wines:   Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah, California or Dandelion Vineyards Barossa Shiraz, Australia

Recommended Beer:       Founders All Day IPA


Venison, Wild Game with Traditional Spices or Smoked :  When you are working more with the natural flavors of the meat, you want to select a full to medium bodied red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir are great wines to pair with grilled or smoked meats. This is especially true if you are using a charcoal grill or smoker.

Recommended Wines:   Fog Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, California or Angel’s Landing Pinot Noir, California

Recommended Beer:       Old Tankard Ale


Fowl, Fish or Pork with Traditional Spices or Smoked:  When preparing lighter fare without BBQ sauces, you can transition to a full bodied white like Chardonnay. If you are preparing your meat with citrus such as lemon, you will want a lighter bodied white like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

Recommended Wines:   Columbia Winery Chardonnay, Washington or Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris, Oregon or Boulder Bank Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

Recommended Beer:       Leinenkugel’s BeerGarten Tart (Seasonal)


The first rule of pairing food with wine or beer is to “always drink what you know and like.” If you do not enjoy full bodied red wines, then you certainly don’t want to drink that kind of wine with your meal.  Select something you and your guests will enjoy!  The following wines will cover just about anything you throw on the grill and are very approachable.

Additional Wines to Try:

Carl Sittmann Riesling, Germany

Sean Minor Four Bears Vin Gris, California

Happy Camper Merlot, California

Poggio Roscato, Italy

Poggio Moscato d’ Asti, Italy



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