man pouring glass of wine for outdoor dinner
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Planning a Summer BBQ? Here Are the Top 10 Wines to Pair With Every Type of Cookout Food

Whether there will be burgers, grilled seafood, or you don't know what's on the menu, we've got a reasonably priced bottle that's just right for the occasion.
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One of summertime's great pleasures is the cookout: it's all about conviviality, community, and delicious food. Simply fire up the grill and sear whatever strikes your fancy at the market. Neighbors may pop by with steaks to throw on the grill, and friends show up with their award-winning potato salad. At a cookout, more is merrier, and nothing needs to be too planned. It's one of the easiest ways to entertain.

Whether you're hosting the cookout or taking a dish, you'll want wines that pair well with the food. We've selected an array of tasty options, our picks are easy, casual, delicious, and affordable too. Whether you've got burgers, barbecue, or summer salads on the menu, we've got a wine for that.

Best Cookout Wines to Buy in 2022:

Bottle of red wine

Best Cookout Wine for Steaks: H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2019


Steaks on the grill require a classic red: Cabernet Sauvignon is a go-to for many carnivores because its structured tannins help cut through the fat in red meat and bring your palate into balance. Their flavor concentration is a good intensity match for everything from marinated flank steaks to NY Strips to grilled ribeye. Washington State is a fabulous source of incredible red wines that are also affordable, and H3 (named for the Horse Heaven Hills wine region) is a consistent standard-bearer in the category.

Martha's Chard wine bottle
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Martha's Pick: 19 Crimes Martha's Chardonnay


A crisp chardonnay will be welcome at any cookout, and of course, we're partial to this one by our founder. It's a classic California chardonnay, with flavors of ripe peach and a hint of toasty oak.

bottle of red wine
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Best Cookout Wine for Burgers: Crios De Susana Balbo Malbec 2019


No cookout is complete without juicy burgers on the grill. Pick a fun, easy-going, casual red: malbec is medium-bodied, juicy, and fruit-forward with notes of cherry, blueberry, and plum. It's also a red that's delicious chilled—all the better to sip on a warm summer evening. Crios De Susana Balbo Malbec 2019 has a touch of smoke and spice, perfect to highlight the char of a good burger.

Bottle of sparkling wine
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Best Cookout Wine for Potlucks: Segura Viudas Cava Brut


When the menu is crowd-sourced and you're not exactly sure what will be on the buffet table, you want to pick a versatile wine. The time-tested sommelier solution? Sparkling wine! Our pick: a fizzy cava from Spain. Segura Viudas makes elegant, complex, and bright sparkling wines, and this one is sure to be a crowd favorite with notes of apple, lemon zest, and pineapple. 

Bottle of red zinfandel wine
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Best Cookout Wine for Barbecue: Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel 2019


Whether you're preparing barbecue ribs, pulled pork sliders, or barbecue chicken, this is one time where the sauce, not the protein, will determine your wine pairing strategy. Zinfandel is a classic, go-to wine match with bold, sweet, tangy barbecue sauce: its notes of cherry fruit, spice, maple, and occasionally smoke are a perfect complement to anything slathered with your signature barbecue sauce recipe. 

Bottle of rosé wine
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Best Cookout Wine for Frosé: Diora La Belle Fete Rosé of Pinot Noir


Is it even a cookout if you don't serve frosé? Wine slushies tap into the nostalgia of childhood summer treats, but with a strictly grown-up twist. Diora La Belle Fete Rosé of Pinot Noir will make your favorite frosé recipe shine. With aromas of fresh, ripe strawberries and flavors of red grapefruit and watermelon melon, this is a medium-bodied wine that has enough concentration of flavor to withstand a whir in your blender.

Bottle of white wine
Credit: Courtesy of Total Wine

Best Cookout Wine for Salads and Vegetable Dishes: Broadbent Vinho Verde


Vinho verde comes from a region in northwest Portugal that produces primarily white wines that are a tremendous value. You can find 'young' styles that are bright, fruity, and a little bit fizzy, and a more complex premium style. The flavors of vinho verde will be light, letting the delicate flavors of vegetable dishes and salads shine. Whether you're planning grilled vegetable tacos or a Watermelon, Orange, and Feta Salad, this Broadbent Vinho Verde is a great pick.

Bottle of rioja red wine
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Best Cookout Wine for Making Sangria: Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza 2018


When you're hosting a cookout for a crowd, consider making a big batch of festive sangria, a wine-based punch originally from Spain. Not only is sangria great for groups, it's even better made ahead of time for hassle-free hosting. Pick a medium-bodied red for your sangria: Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza 2018, a blend of tempranillo, garnacha, and graciano grapes is just right.

Bottle of Mateus rosé wine
Credit: Courtesy of Mateus

Best Cookout Wine for Grilled Seafood: Mateus Dry Rosé 2021


Grilling a seafood feast? Rosé is a summertime staple, crisp and elegant, and its coastal vibes are perfect with fish. Choose a light and dry style for pairing with shrimp, crab, and lobster. Mateus Rosé was founded in 1942 and is the first rosé made in Portugal (known for its rich, fortified port wines), and one sip will tell you why it's stood the test of time while rosé trends come and go. This is a summer classic with pretty floral aromas and flavors of wild strawberry. 

Can of white wine
Credit: Courtesy of Kim Crawford

Best Cookout Wine in Cans: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 


There's no question that wine in cans is a trend that's only rising in popularity, thanks to more premium wineries jumping on the can bandwagon. Wine cans are treated with a special lining, so there's no fear of a metallic taste—and they're convenient for outdoor activities where glass isn't allowed. My sommelier recommendation is to pour the wine into a Solo cup to let it breathe a bit rather than sipping directly from the can. This sauvignon blanc from New Zealand is loaded with zesty grapefruit and juicy pineapple notes.