Wine Tips for Summer Grilling & Gatherings


Summer is the perfect time for gatherings—to grill and sit out on the patio and enjoy the sunshine. Whether you’re just throwing some hotdogs on the grill or are going all out with a juicy steak, a refreshing glass of wine could be just what you need. Here are some tips for incorporating wine at your next summer event:

Choosing Your Wine

Very generally, white wines tend to go well with seafood, chicken, grilled vegetables, and salads while red wines tend to pair with steak, burgers, and hearty meats. However, the best rule of thumb is to choose what you like. If you’re hosting a party, have a variety of selections available and allow your guests to try several to taste what they prefer.

Rosés are often popular choices in the summer—the color is fun and inviting and the flavor is refreshing. There are a lot of excellent choices made all over the world, and it tends to pair well with a vast variety of foods.

And, of course, white wines can be very refreshing—especially those with citrus, peach, and pear. Try a stainless steel white for extra crispness (stainless steel chardonnay pairs excellently with grilled veggies).

While many enjoy the refreshing citrus flavors and crispy tastes of white wine in the summer, many still enjoy red wines year-round. When selecting a red wine for an outdoor gathering, try to select wines on the lighter side. Selecting an unoaked wine (or lightly oaked) will give you a lighter and fruitier taste. Also choose a light to medium body as it will be easier to drink and more refreshing on hot, heavy days. Some excellent red varietal choices include Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Valpolicello. For a little refreshing kick, try lightly chilling your reds.

Chilling Wine

Prior to serving, make sure you chill your wine—especially on those hot summer days. The fastest way is to fill a bucket with ice, water, and a little bit of salt. Bury the base of the bottle in the ice for about 20 minutes before serving. This is much faster than putting it in the refrigerator (by 3 hours!), and you can make it part of the décor for a fun backyard BBQ with friends. Just make sure to store the bucket in the shade or inside out of direct sunlight. We do advise against popping bottles in the freezer for just a few minutes. Freezers and wine are not friends.

Also, do not leave your bottles of wine in the hot car; heat can damage your wine within just a few minutes. If it’s too hot to leave your pet in the car, it’s probably also too hot for your wine.

Light dry white wines, rosés, and sparkling wines should be served at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, full-bodied whites and light reds at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and full-bodied reds and ports at 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serving Wine

Make sure to have a couple of selections for a gathering so that your guests will have something they like. One bottle typically serves 5 glasses, each at 5oz. If you’re drinking a chilled white wine, you may want to serve even smaller pours so that the wine doesn’t heat up while you’re still trying to enjoy it.

All in all, don’t worry too much about if you selected the exact wine for your pairing or if you’ve got it chilled to exactly 60 degrees in a 5oz pour. Relax, have fun, and enjoy that summer sun.

Tags: chilling wine, serving wine, summer grilling