Grill It Up: Uncork a PA Wine Paired BBQ

There’s nothing like a season-celebrating feast to bring friends and neighbors together. Invite a few over for a relaxed gathering, or open your backyard to the whole neighborhood. When your guests catch the wafting scent of wine-infused burgers with grilled onions, you’ll have them drooling with BBQ-envy.

Hook your guests with your wine-infused food, but keep them around with the great wine to drink! Because we’re in the fertile land of Pennsylvania—where you’re always less than an hour away from a local winery—there’s no shortage of locally crafted wines to please every palate.

Get the stressful part out of the way ahead of time so you can kick back and relax as you entertain. By planning and preparing, you’ll have plenty of time to eat, drink and be merry.

When sourcing ingredients for your BBQ, choose farmers’ markets and stores selling PA produce that will also take you closer to your local winery. Tip: take advantage of the winery’s tasting room and the experts pouring wine there to get a better sense of what to purchase. They can also give you hints about what to pair with burgers and grilled foods.

Bottle-to-person ratio: one bottle per two people, but get an extra bottle of each kind to be sure!

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Red: Choose medium reds that are food friendly or medium reds with balance and spice and fruit-forward notes.
    White: Select bright whites that are crisp and sippable solo but also pair well with lighter dishes, like fish tacos and grilled foods.
  • Fruit: Indulge in fruit wines that are made from fresh PA Preferred fruits to celebrate the warm weather and enjoy their sweet, refreshing fruit flavors.

Pairing Suggestions: Try these, or pick your own favorites!

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chaddsford Winery
Nouveau, Naylor Wine Cellars
Wildcat White, Allegheny Cellars Winery
Cherry DiVyne, Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery



  • Reds: Open earlier in the day (indoors to keep bugs out of bottles) and then gently recork right before guests arrive, so they are ready to pour. Bonus: this will help to oxidize the wines.
  • Whites and Fruit Wines: Chill whites in the fridge the night before and present them in a galvanized tub filled with ice to keep them cold during the cookout.

Don’t forget the H20 or a non-alcoholic beverage to ensure no one overindulges and everyone stays hydrated. Make your water “fancy” with fresh fruit, basil or mint.

Tip: Set up a self-serve wine bar. This will keep it simple and give you added freedom as the host. Place wine glasses for each person and use wine-glass charms to help your guests keep tabs on their glasses.

Cover your countertop or picnic table with butcher paper for easy cleanup. Bonus: put out some colored pencils for fun doodling and game opportunities to encourage conversation and to keep the phones away. Come on, when is the last time you played tic tac toe or hangman?

Games to play with one hand (with a glass of wine in the other)? Horseshoes, cornhole, bocce or the traditional PA game of quoits can all be played one-handed.

Something Extra To Add To Your Menu
Cabernet BBQ Sauce
2 cups ketchup
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle Pennsylvania Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place a large pot over medium low heat. Add the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Cabernet Sauvignon and chili powder to the pot and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  2. Cook the sauce for 1 hour or until it reduces by about half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the sauce to cool, pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Serve with burgers, ribs or roast pork.

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