girl holding wine at the hunter valley vineyard

BBQ Wine Pairing Guide

Best Wines for a BBQ

Is there anything more quintessentially Australian than a big and boisterous backyard BBQ?

We (usually!) have sunny weather on our side, and many of us seem to be inherently blessed with the skills to expertly flip, smoke and grill every type of dish imaginable.

When creating your game plan for BBQ day, don’t forget to give some thought to your wine selection. A well-thought-out BBQ wine pairing will do wonders for bringing out the amazing smoky and charred flavours of your menu and sides.


The basic rules when pairing BBQ with wine

When it comes to BBQ wine pairing, there are some basic guidelines worth following for enhancing the flavours of your dishes.

Full-bodied, robust red wines are great for rich and fatty red meat; a crisp and acidic white wine or a refreshing Rosé is fantastic with chicken, grilled seafood, or veggie dishes; while light and fruity red or white wines are perfect for complementing the sweetness and smokiness of pork.

And remember to consider your seasonings, spices, and sauces. For instance, if you're serving up something sweet, opt for a sweet wine to match. If you're going spicy, choose a low-alcohol wine with low tannins. And if your sides are tangy and herby, go for a wine with higher acidity to balance out the flavours.


What wines pair with BBQ red meat?

When it comes to your steaks, sangas and chops, you'll want to select a bold, robust and full-bodied wine. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are star candidates because they pack a spicy, tannic punch that will complement and cut through the rich, fatty and charred flavours of the red meat.

BBQ Beef

We suggest: 2020 McGuigan Mastercraft Summer Shiraz


BBQ Lamb

We suggest: 2020 McGuigan Cellar Select Cabernet Sauvignon

Try our BBQ lamb recipe paired with red wine.

Wines to avoid: Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Rosé.


What wines pair with chicken, seafood and vegetarian dishes?

For chicken dishes, grilled seafood, and vegetarian plates, you'll want to go with crisp and dry, palate-cleansing wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Rosé. These wines have the perfect balance of acidity and fruitiness to complement the lighter flavours of these dishes without overwhelming them.

BBQ chicken

We suggest: 2022 McGuigan Mastercraft Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc


BBQ Seafood

We suggest: 2019 McGuigan Personal Reserve Hunter Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay


Vegetarian BBQ

We suggest: 2022 McGuigan Mastercraft Rosé

Try our summer vegetarian recipe paired with Rosé.

Wines to avoid: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.

​What wines pair with BBQ pork and ribs?

For BBQ pork dishes like delicious ribs smothered in a sweet, sticky, smoky and spicy marinade, a subtle wine is the way to go. The fruity undertones of Riesling or Pinot Noir pair beautifully with the smoky sweetness of the pork.

BBQ ribs

We suggest: 2019 McGuigan the Shortlist Riesling


BBQ Pork

We suggest: 2021 McGuigan Cellar Select Pinot Noir

Try our Hoisin BBQ Pork recipe at your next barbeque.

Wines to avoid: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Sparkling Wine. ​

McGuigan Black Label red and BBQ food

Wine pairing guide for different styles of BBQ

Different BBQ styles have distinct flavours and call for different wine pairings.

Sweet BBQ Wine Pairing Guide

For dishes that include sweet BBQ sauce, honey or maple syrup in the marinade or sauce, you’ll want a wine with residual sugar to balance the sweetness. Riesling, Pinot Noir, or Zinfandel is a good choice here.

Spicy BBQ Wine Pairing Guide

Spicy BBQ sauces call for a wine that can withstand the heat. A dry white wine with a touch of sweetness, like a Chenin Blanc or a Pinot Grigio, works well, as does a low-alcohol, low-tannin red wine. We also recommend our McGuigan Zero Alcohol Pinot Noir or McGuigan Zero Red Blend for pairing with spicy BBQ meats.

Smoky BBQ Wine Pairing Guide

For smoky dishes, think big bold and rich red wines, with earthy oak and vanilla flavours, like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. In this instance, the high tannins and acidity work well alongside the succulent fatty meat and will bring forth those desirable rich flavours.


The Best Non-Alcoholic Wine Options for Your BBQ

If you have guests who are driving, pregnant or moderating their alcohol intake for health or lifestyle reasons, offering a variety of non-alcoholic wines will ensure that everyone feels included and catered for.

Try these non-alcoholic wines to get started:

For more tips on how you can pace yourself over an all-day BBQ, check out our alcohol-free summer BBQ guide.

McGuigan has you covered for serving up the best wines at your next BBQ. Shop our range today.