Best Summer Wine Pairings

Rebecca Germolus on Jun 28, 2024

Warm weather beckons us outside for grilling, picnics and sunset dinners. And, we’re always looking for the best wine pairings to accompany these al fresco meals.

Here are some of the best summer pairings with delicious wines found along the Wine Road.


Pairings with Salads


The combination of Greek watermelon salad and a delicious crisp Rosé is tough to top. The brininess of the feta cheese merges with the refreshing melon with just a hint of fresh mint, creating an ideal addition to a picnic or backyard meal. When paired with the Pedroncelli Rosé, you’ve got a heavenly match.

Made with 100% free-run Zinfandel juice, this rosé will soon become a favorite whether you’re pairing it with watermelon salad or a host of other perfect pairings.


Wine bottle of Pedroncelli Rosé is in the foreground, and a salad of watermelon, feta, red onions and mint sprigs is behind the bottle.


Sauvignon Blanc

Once I discovered tabouli salad, it became a staple in my repertoire of summer menus. With garden-fresh ingredients, this salad bursts with the essence of summer. When I first tasted the 2021 aesthete Sauvignon Blanc, I knew it would be the ideal complement to my tabouli salad.

This elegant Sauvignon Blanc, from the renowned Dry Stack Vineyard, offers bright acidity with delicate notes of white grapefruit and just the right touch of minerality to balance the salad’s flavors. Once you try this wine, you’ll discover the need to find more perfect pairings so you can sip it again and again.


Wine bottle of aesthere Sauvignon Blanc in the foreground with a bowl of tabouli salad in the background.


White Rhône Varietal Blend

Burrata with grilled nectarines can be served as a salad, an appetizer or even for dessert, but the window for finding juicy nectarines makes this a worth-the-wait summertime treat. The aromas and flavors of the 2022 Carol Shelton Coquille Blanc are a perfect match for this popular dish.

Coquille Blanc, a Rhône varietal blend, is 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Rousanne, 20% Viognier and 10% Marsanne. The winemaker’s notes read, “Enticing nose of spicy pears and white peaches, almond paste/marzipan, a touch of honeysuckle perfume.” How could this not be the perfect pairing for burrata and grilled nectarines?


Wine bottle of Carol Shelton Coquille Blanc in the foreground with a platter filled with grilled nectarines, burrata, mint sprigs, pistachios, and grilled baguette slices in the background.


Pairings with Seafood

Grilling is synonymous with summertime menus. We’ve spent a lot of hours tending the grill to ensure the meat is cooked perfectly while sipping on something delicious. Now let’s dive into some of those grilled favorites.


Chenin Blanc

Skewering up garden veggies and prawns is a quick, easy and tasty meal that everyone loves. Finding the right pairing wine that can complement both the vegetables and the prawns can end up with some misses, but not so with today’s pick. The 2023 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Farms is a stunning wine, and yes, it’s a Chenin Blanc! Bursting with aromas, flavors, lively acidity and subtle minerality, this wine is the ideal complement for this meal.

Winemaker Leo Hansen has proven that well-farmed Chenin Blanc can and should be bottled as a single varietal, rather being a part of a white wine blend. Thanks, Leo!


Wine bottle of Leo Steen Chenin Blanc in the foreground with grilled veggies and shrimp on skewers in the background.


Pinot Noir

Cedar-planked grilled salmon is such a treat, and so is the wine we’ve paired it with, the 2021 Bucher Pinot Noir Pommard Clone. We first tried this pairing several years ago and we were awed how well the wine complemented the cedar-laced essence of the salmon.

You know the wine and food pairing is magical when your dinner guests stop talking so they can savor every sip and bite.


Wine bottle of Bucher Pinot Noir in the foreground with a piece of grilled salmon sprinkled with parsley and a few lemon slices in the background.


Pairings with Red Meat

With red meat, we tend to serve red wine, and the wineries along the Wine Road offer up so many terrific options. Here are four wine and food pairing winners that will have your mouth watering.



Building the perfect burger is the quest of many. My quest also includes finding the perfect wine pairing. When in doubt, my go-to wine is the Peterson Winery Sangiovese. The bright acidity and rustic Italianate flavors of this Sangiovese complement both tomato-based dishes and juicy red meat, like a bacon cheeseburger. If you haven’t tried Peterson Sangiovese with a burger, now that summer’s in full swing, it’s time to check it out.


Wine bottle of Peterson Sangiovese is in the foreground and a bacon cheeseburger on a wooden cutting board is in the background.



Barbecued pork ribs served with potato salad and coleslaw is classic summertime fare. Add in the 2019 Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel and you’ve got another match made in heaven. To quote the winery’s tasting notes, “Blueberries, fresh strawberries, and a hint of caramel. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder weave their way through along with a touch of toasted coconut.” How could it not be the perfect pairing with ribs? Yum.


Wine bottle of Quivira Zinfandel in the foreground with barbecued pork ribs on a wooden surface behind the bottle. A grilled hot pepper, peppercorns and cherry tomatoes are near the rack of ribs. A sauce pan with BBQ sauce is in the background.



Smoked brisket might be available year-round, but nothing beats hanging around outside on a summer’s day and smelling the aromas as the meat slowly cooks through. Then slicing it up, and savoring the smoked crust, juicy, tender interior and delicate smoked essence is nirvana. We found that the 2018 due Ruscelli Vineyards Luna Primitivo is a perfect complement in this pairing.


Wine bottle of due Ruscelli Luna Primitivo in the foreground with smoked brisket in the background.


Bordeaux Varietal Blend

In 2023, I visited ACTA Winery for the first time and tried their proprietary Bordeaux varietal blend, DEEDS. I recently enjoyed a grilled ribeye with a bottle of DEEDS I had in my cellar, and savored another aha moment with this wine pairing.

The 2021 DEEDS is a blend of 66% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, and only six barrels of this wine were produced. If you love savoring a succulent grilled steak with a superb bottle of wine, be sure to check out ACTA’s DEEDS.


Wine bottle of ACTA DEEDS red wine in the foreground with a grilled ribeye steak, rosemary sprigs and a bowl of salt crystals and a bowl of multi-colored peppercorns in the background.


More Pairing Options

Just in case you want even more amazing pairing options from along the Wine Road, visit the historical Wine & Food Affair recipe and pairing database. This database holds hundreds of recipes that can be searched by several categories including “Wine Pairing.”

The next Wine & Food Affair is November 2-3, 2024, with tickets going on sale in early September. If you love wine and food pairings, don’t miss this event.

After writing about wine and food, it’s time to wrap this up and go create something delicious to nosh on and open something superb to pair it with.

Happy Sipping!

Posted by Rebecca Germolus

Rebecca Germolus, co-owner of Maximum Value Marketing, loves Sonoma County and playing along the Wine Road. Rebecca daily immerses herself in wine country by providing cost-effective marketing and writing solutions to wineries and restaurants.

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