Best Wine to Pair with your Favorite Homemade Dishes this Summer

Summer is almost here and you know what that means – barbeques, picnics, and outdoor dinner parties are right around the corner. With warmer weather comes summer comfort foods – eaten outside, of course. From burgers on the grill to giant bowls of pasta salad, even the most casual of summer meals deserves to be paired with an elegant and delicious glass of wine that brings out its best and brightest flavors. Enjoy these classic summer comfort foods with a glass of Byrd Vineyard’s high-altitude wines and remember our golden rule: if you love it, do it! Never let the warm weather stop you from enjoying a glass of red wine.

Tips for Pairing Wine and Food

Before selecting your bottle of wine to pair with this evening’s dinner, ask yourself:

  • Do I love this wine? If the answer is yes, chances are you will not be disappointed.
  • Is this wine sweet or dry? The wine should always be sweeter than the food you are serving.
  • Does this wine have high tannins? Refreshing and light red wines that are low in tannins and alcohol levels will not overpower your food while still bringing bright flavors to the table.


No summer is complete without a barbeque. Whether going all out with a variety of grilled meats, vegetables, and side dishes or simply throwing some burgers and hot dogs on the grill, barbeques are the delicious summer meals that we dream about all year long. We would be remiss if we didn’t pair these dream-worthy meals with an equally delectable bottle of wine.

When talking about a barbeque, it goes without saying that burgers will make an appearance – and rightfully so. Hearty, meaty, and oh-so satisfying, burgers are an easy and classic summer meal. Since a cheeseburger is composed of the two most popular elements to pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon – meat and cheese – we recommend pairing with our 2009 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon. The body of the wine will pair well with the classic, flavorful meal. Whether you opt to grill a classic cheeseburger or add extra-special touches such as grilled mushrooms and Swiss cheese or blue cheese and BBQ sauce, the pairing is sure to be out of this world.

If you’re a red wine lover, chances are you also enjoy a tender, juicy steak from time to time. If you’re planning on grilling up a ribeye this summer, we suggest serving it alongside our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Silky and rich, this wine is sure to elevate any backyard barbeque. Featuring bold flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and sweet French oak, the smooth tannins and full body of this wine will stand its own against a powerful steak.

Steak not your style? Grilled chicken is another great meal choice that pairs beautifully with our 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Merlot. A smooth wine with hints of red fruits, soft tannins, and a long finish, our Merlot is incredibly versatile. Its sweet and herbaceous notes would bring out delicious flavors of garlic and herbs in grilled garlic and herb chicken

Side Dishes

Everybody loves a homemade mac and cheese – it’s not just for kids! Rich and buttery, this luscious summertime classic needs a powerful wine to stand up against its intense flavors. Macaroni and cheese pairs well with our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon, an acidic and bold wine that can easily cut through its creaminess. 

There’s something about homemade salads that taste so much better when eaten outside – with a glass of wine, of course. A summer salad featuring fresh strawberries, avocado, and basil would pair deliciously with our 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Merlot to bring out its ripe berry flavors. This bright and lemony garlic and herb macaroni salad would pair deliciously with our lucious and herbaceous 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Byrdeaux Red Wine. Bursting with summer flavors, these homemade salads would taste amazing with a glass of light and refreshing red wine.

Grilled vegetables pair surprisingly well with even the boldest of red wines. The grilling process helps bring out a savory element in the veggies, amplifying their flavor and helping them to stand up to intense wines. Delicious grilled veggies to pair with our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Red Wine include eggplants, peppers, squash, and zucchini. 


Don’t forget dessert! A homemade fruit salad filled with fresh fruits would pair wonderfully with any of our fruit-forward red wines. Additionally, the combination of chocolate and raspberry is a match made in heaven when paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. Try these raspberry chocolate brownies or this chocolate raspberry tart with any of our Cabernet Sauvignons for the ultimate wine and dessert pairing. 

Have Fun with It!

Homemade comfort foods are meant to be enjoyed with family, friends, and delicious bottles of wine. Be sure to have fun and be creative when trying new wine pairings – you never know what your new favorite combination will be! Looking to sample more than one of our wines? Check out our new wine bundles.

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About Byrd

Bruce Byrd started Byrd Vineyard out of a love of making great wine by hand. Wine that everyone would enjoy while creating cherished memories. Check back often to learn more about his journey and wines.

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Byrd’s vineyard is blessed with mountainous terrain: marine sediments, shale, sandstone, chert, and gravel, These are the highest-elevation vineyards in California. 

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