4 Must Have Wines For Hosting Your Canada Day BBQ

By Stocked Cellars on Jun 19, 2018

This post was most recently updated on November 11th, 2023

Public holidays in summer bring with it the return of Canada’s favourite pastime. No, not baseball. Grilling! 

There’s nothing like spending a long afternoon-turned-into-night around the grill, soaking up savoury aromas with good company. And while a 30-pack of beer goes quite well with hanging out, a well-paired wine can take a cookout from collegiate to kick ass. So dust off the Napoleon, turn up the killer classics, and grab your corkscrew. Because whether you’re flippin’ burgers or searin’ Portobello’s, Here’s our best selection to see you through the July 1st Long Weekend!

But what to choose?

Here’s what to avoid – anything too oaky or too sweet. Both of these characters (vanillin from the oak or simple sugar) will really wreak havoc with the roasted/charred thing you’ve got going on.

Sauvignon Blanc

An absolute summer winner.

The acidity here is the key – On the palate it is alive – it slices through anything and everything. If you’ve got prawns, white fish, beer can chicken, veggie burger or vegetables on the BBQ, this is the ultimate match, but I won’t wag a finger if you choose to pair it with steak. Luckily Ontario does this style brilliantly, so there are plenty of choices. Classically refreshing.

Grilled Shrimp


So what is a Niagara Riesling? The best wines show smoke and spicy alongside the mineral component. The fruit shows citrus flavours, mostly lime and the riper wines can show stone fruits – How good is Ontario Riesling? Simply put, they make some of the best in the world and even add as a terrific bbq wine.
Wrongly maligned as overly sweet, good Riesling has a brightness and balance that make it delicious with an astonishing range of foods… A good pairing is tangy BBQ sauce based pork tenderloin, barbecue chicken, grilled vegetables, grilled pineapple, even Lemongrass chicken!

Grilled Veggies


People tend to shy away from chardonnay when it comes to barbecue, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Normally baked chicken and fish do not go hand in hand with chardonnay; however, changing the preparation of the meal changes its wine pairing. Grilled chicken (beer can chicken) or fish pair well with a bigger style New World Chardonnay (e.g. an Ontario Chardonnay) as they can stand up to the flavour of the charred food.

BBQ Chicken

Cabernet Franc

Not usually seen by itself but in Ontario, however, Cabernet Franc is a highly successful wine in its own right. Unlike many other robust red wines, Cabernet Franc isn’t very fruity. In fact, it tastes a lot like grilled green bell peppers, smoky, spicy, and herbaceous, a young tannic Cab Franc pairs fantastically with earthy Portobello’s, rare to medium-rare beef brisket, lamb and even burgers.


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