BBQ experience

Enhance Your BBQ Experience with Wine, Friends, and Perfectly Paired Burgers


Take your BBQ burgers up a notch with our guide to wine and burger pairings.

Sunny days, the uplifting aroma of sizzling burgers on the grill, laughter filling the air as friends gather, and the musical clink of wine glasses. There's something magical about the combination of BBQ, friends, and wine. And by pairing your BBQ burgers with the perfect wine and appropriate glassware, you can take this artful combination to new heights for a summer to remember.


Why Pair Wine with Burgers?

The concept of complementary wine and food pairings is well-known among wine enthusiasts, but this discussion doesn't often include much mention of burgers. Many of us have the idea of beer-burger pairings more deeply ingrained in our minds; however, as a food that can vary considerably depending on the filling, burgers can suit a host of different wines. With burgers being such a prevalent food choice, it would be a shame not to shed some light on the best wine pairings for them.

Wine can remarkably enhance the flavors of different types of burgers, creating a harmonious balance that elevates the meal as a whole. The right wine can enhance the smoky richness of a beef burger, the tanginess of a chicken burger, and even the earthy flavors of a vegetarian patty, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to summer BBQ experiences with friends.


The Art of Wine and Burger Pairing

As with any other food, finding the optimal wine and burger pairing requires taking advantage of different flavor profiles. When selecting your wine, consider factors like the burger's richness, spiciness, or smokiness, and seek a wine that complements those characteristics. For instance, a rich, robust Cabernet Sauvignon can match beautifully with a juicy, bold beef burger, while a crisp and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc can cut through the richness of a cheesy chicken burger. Likewise, the fruit-forward character, balanced acidity, and light body of a dry rosé can harmonize with the earthiness of a chickpea burger for a refreshing pairing.

Conversely, avoiding pairings where the burger and wine's qualities clash is equally important. That same full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, with its heavy mouthfeel and firm tannins, can easily overpower lighter burger options such as the chickpea burger mentioned above, while juicy, rich red meat burgers will overwhelm the delicate flavors of a light-bodied Pinot Grigio.

If, after you've looked up the best wine to pair with a burger, you're still unsure whether the pairing will work, try it out and note the outcome. Trial and error is often the best teacher for these matters once you've done your initial research.

Choosing the Right Wine Glasses for Your Pairings

You've picked out the ideal wine for the afternoon's burgers on the BBQ. The next step is to enjoy that wine from a glass that will show off the wine's nuanced qualities, enhancing the burger pairing experience.

As you may have heard us mention once or twice (or a million times) before, the shape of a wine glass significantly impacts the wine's aroma, taste, and overall presentation. When selecting glassware for your wine and burger pairing, you should know some fundamental differences between red and white wines regarding glassware requirements. For red wines, glasses with large bowls allow proper aeration to release the wine's aromatic compounds and soften tannins. In contrast, white wines benefit from narrower bowls and openings to concentrate their delicate aromas. Understanding this is vital to excelling in your wine and burger pairings.

That said, selecting appropriate glassware for your wine can go much further than choosing universal glasses for red and white wine options. Our Grape Varietal Specific Glassware collections account for notable differences found within the broad categories of 'red wine' and 'white wine', so if you know precisely what wines you plan on pairing with your burgers, these are the collections that will allow you to really let your wine dazzle.

For lovers of red meat burgers or burgers slathered in rich sauces such as barbecue sauce, you'll want glassware suited to full-bodied red wines we recommend you pair with these burgers. Our various RIEDEL Cabernet/Merlot glasses and Syrah/Shiraz glasses from across our Grape Varietal Specific Glassware series are perfect for such occasions - you just need to choose the RIEDEL collection that matches your style, be it RIEDEL Veloce
RIEDEL Winewings.

Suppose you prefer chicken burgers, burgers made from lean cuts of meat, or veggie burgers and want a lighter-bodied wine to complement the milder flavors. In that case, we recommend checking out our various Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay glasses from the above-mentioned Grape Varietal Specific Glassware collections. Sparkling wines can pair nicely here too, in which case we'd recommend choosing from the Champagne and other sparkling wine glasses available in the Sparkling Wine Glassware section of our online shop.

To assist you further on the above, you can make selecting the best RIEDEL glass to serve your wine in alongside your burgers as simple as possible by checking out our RIEDEL Wine Glass Guide.

Tips for Hosting a BBQ with Friends

Finally, here are a few tips to ensure you enjoy a successful BBQ party centered around burgers, wine, and friends. As well as finding the right wine and wine glass to match your burgers, it helps to:
  • Select a reliable grill that suits your needs. Whether it's a classic charcoal grill or a convenient gas grill, high-quality equipment is vital for ensuring you cook your burgers to perfection. After all, any wine will struggle to pair nicely with a burned burger!
  • Use high-quality ingredients for your burgers, including flavorful meat or inventive plant-based alternatives/veggie burgers. Pay attention to seasoning and toppings to create harmonious, expressive flavor combinations. 
  • Encourage your guests to experiment with the pairings and share their experiences. This can be as slight as trying out a glass of Oaked Chardonnay alongside their chicken burger instead of their usual Sauvignon Blanc, but it just might result in them discovering their new favorite wine and burger pairing! 
  • Create a relaxed, inviting atmosphere with comfortable seating, vibrant decorations, and enjoyable background music. A comfortable environment can make a world of difference to your guests' enjoyment levels before you even start with food and drink.

BBQ-Friendly RIEDEL Glasses

While we've already offered some glassware suggestions that suit the wines we recommend enjoying with different burgers, a few RIEDEL glasses are particularly well-suited to outdoor BBQs. These glasses and collections include:

Tumbler collection

  • The RIEDEL O Wine Tumbler. We designed these stemless glasses with a modern, ergonomic shape that comfortably fits in your hand, making them ideal for relaxed outdoor gatherings. With options for red and white wines, our RIEDEL O Wine Tumblers allow you to enjoy a wide range of varietals, catering to your wine and burger pairing needs while keeping things simple.
  • The RIEDEL Ouverture Double Magnum Glass - perfect if you're after something that suits a wide variety of wines. It takes its shape from a functional and adaptable bowl design, helping to release the aromas of wines, emphasize fruit, and balance tannins in red wines.
  • The RIEDEL Tumbler Collection. This collection offers a range of versatile glasses that can accommodate various types of beverages, whether you're serving wine, cocktails, spirits, or non-alcoholic drinks, allowing you to cater to the different preferences of your BBQ guests. This collection is also designed with durability in mind, featuring a sturdy and resilient structure that can withstand the rigors of outdoor use.

The experience of savoring mouthwatering burgers, clinking wine glasses with friends, and indulging in a burger and wine pairing can be a true joy when done right. By carefully selecting the right wines and wine glasses, you can enhance the flavors of your burgers and elevate your overall summer dining experience - and it always helps to include RIEDEL.

Cheers to BBQs, sun, friendship, and great food and drink!