Wine Varieties Every Restaurant Should Serve

Untappd Team
Post by Untappd Team
March 18, 2024
Wine Varieties Every Restaurant Should Serve

Elevating your guests’ dining experience goes hand-in-hand with offering a thoughtful selection of wine varieties. 

In this guide, we'll delve into the world of wines, helping you understand how different wine varieties can enhance your menu and leave a lasting impression on your customers.

Think of wine varieties as the artistic brushstrokes that can paint a memorable dining experience for your guests. From robust reds to crisp whites, each bottle tells a unique story. Join us in exploring the best wine varieties.

Above: Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

A Guide to Red Wine Varieties

A glass of red wine outside with a vineyard in the background
Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash

Red wine varieties are a true culinary ally for restaurateurs seeking to add depth and richness to their menus. Red wines' rich flavors and diverse profiles are a delightful addition to any dining experience. Each red wine variety brings something unique to the table, perfectly complementing certain dishes.

Let's explore different types of red wines and discover the ideal red wine food pairings, allowing you to create memorable moments for your guests.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Renowned for its bold tannins and robust flavor profile, Cabernet Sauvignon pairs exceptionally well with hearty, flavorful dishes.

Try pairing this red wine with grilled steaks, lamb chops, or a classic beef stew. The red wine's dark fruit notes and structured tannins stand up to the richness of red meats, creating a harmonious balance.


Known for its approachable and velvety character, Merlot pairs well with  a range of dishes.

The ideal foods to complement this red wine variety include roasted chicken, pasta dishes, or even mushroom-based vegetarian options. Merlot’s softer tannins and plum-like flavors create a smooth complement to these lighter yet flavorful meals.

Pinot Noir

Celebrated for its versatility and nuanced flavors, Pinot Noir pairs well with various dishes, making it a go-to choice for many occasions.

Consider serving Pinot Noir with grilled salmon, roasted duck, or a classic mushroom risotto. The wine's bright acidity and red fruit notes enhance the flavors of these dishes without overpowering them.


With its deep color and bold flavors, Malbec is an excellent choice for those who enjoy a robust red wine.

Pair Malbec with grilled meats, barbecue dishes, or spiced lamb. The wine's dark fruit and smoky characteristics complement the charred and savory notes of these hearty, flavorful meals.


Syrah, known as Shiraz in some regions, offers a bold and spicy experience.

This red wine variety pairs exceptionally well with grilled meats, especially those with smoky and peppery flavors.

Consider serving Syrah/Shiraz with barbecued ribs, spicy sausages, or a pepper-crusted steak. The wine's robust profile can stand up to the intensity of these dishes.

As you build your red wine menu, you must explore what works best for your brand and your guests' preferences, ensuring a harmonious blend of flavors that enhances their overall dining experience and drives value to your business.

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A Guide to White Wine Varieties

Three white wine glasses being toasted

White wines, with their refreshing and crisp characteristics, offer a delightful array of options for enhancing your dining experience.

Each white wine variety brings a unique flavor profile, making them versatile companions for various dishes.


Chardonnay, a versatile and widely planted grape, offers a spectrum of styles.

With its bright acidity, Unoaked Chardonnay pairs well with lighter fare such as seafood, grilled chicken, and salads.

Oaked Chardonnay, with its richer texture and notes of vanilla, complements heartier dishes like creamy pasta, roasted poultry, and buttery lobster.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc, known for its zesty acidity and vibrant flavors, perfectly matches lighter, tangy dishes.

Pair Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese salads, ceviche, or grilled vegetables. This wine variety’s citrusy and herbaceous notes add a refreshing contrast, creating a harmonious balance with these flavorful and crisp dishes.


Celebrated for its aromatic profile and varying sweetness levels, Riesling pairs well with a range of cuisines.

For instance, off-dry Riesling complements spicy dishes from Thai or Indian cuisine, while drier styles complement seafood, poultry, and even pork. The wine's acidity and floral notes enhance the overall dining experience.

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

Pinot Grigio (Italian style) or Pinot Gris (French style) is known for its crisp and easy-drinking nature.

This white wine pairs well with lighter dishes such as salads, seafood, and simple grilled chicken. Its clean and citrusy profile provides a refreshing palate cleanser, making it an excellent choice for warm-weather dining.


 A unique white wine variety known for its floral and aromatics, Viognier pairs well with slightly richer dishes.

Try serving Viognier with seared scallops, aromatic curries, or roasted chicken with flavorful herbs. The wine's lush texture and exotic aromas complement the complexity of these dishes.

Be sure to tailor your white wine selection to align with your menu and explore other classic white wine pairings to offer a spectrum of choices that resonate with your customers' preferences.

A Guide to Rosé Wine Varieties

A glass of pink rose wine on an outdoor table at sunset

Rosé wines, with their enchanting hues and diverse flavor profiles, offer a delightful bridge between reds and whites. Versatility is a crucial characteristic of rosé, so no matter what kind of food you serve, you have plenty of options to choose from when considering what rosé wine varieties to stock at your restaurant or bar.

Provence-Style Rosés

Provence-style rosés, known for their pale color and dry taste, are an excellent choice for light and fresh dishes.

Pair these rosés with salads, seafood, and grilled vegetables.

Their crisp acidity and delicate fruit notes complement the flavors of these dishes, creating a refreshing and elegant dining experience.

Zinfandel Rosés

Zinfandel rosés, with their bold fruitiness and slightly deeper color, are a fantastic choice for heartier dishes.

Pair these rosés with barbecued meats, grilled sausages, or spicy cuisine. The wine's robust flavors complement these dishes' savory and spicy notes, creating a dynamic and flavorful pairing.

Sparkling Rosés

Sparkling rosés add a touch of effervescence to any celebration. These incredibly versatile wines pair well with appetizers, light salads, or even fried foods. The bubbles and acidity of the wine create a lively and palate-cleansing experience.

Remember, when pairing rosé with food, consider the wine's intensity and the dish's flavors. Lighter rosés work well with delicate flavors, while fuller-bodied rosés can stand up to more robust dishes. Additionally, the acidity of rosé can cut through rich or fatty foods, providing a refreshing contrast.

A Guide to Sparkling Wine Varieties

A bartender pouring a glass of sparkline wine or champagne at a bar

Sparkling wines, with their effervescence and celebratory nature, add a touch of glamour to any occasion.

From the iconic Champagne to the lively Prosecco, each sparkling wine variety can offer a unique accompaniment to your menu.


Champagne, the epitome of luxury, is characterized by its fine bubbles and complex flavors.

Pair Champagne with oysters, caviar, or creamy cheeses. The wine's high acidity and mineral notes complement the brininess of seafood and the richness of cheeses, creating a sophisticated and delightful pairing.


Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, is known for its crisp and fruit-forward character.

Pair Prosecco with light appetizers, such as bruschetta, fresh fruit, or mild cheeses. The wine's effervescence and fruitiness create a refreshing contrast, making it an ideal choice for casual gatherings and brunches.


A sparkling wine from Spain, Cava offers an outstanding balance between affordability and quality.

Pair Cava with tapas, paella, or seafood dishes. The wine's bright acidity and citrusy notes complement the savory and flavorful elements of Spanish cuisine, creating a festive and enjoyable pairing.

Brut Rosé

Brut Rosé, a sparkling wine with a touch of pink hue, offers a delightful balance between dryness and fruitiness

Pair Brut Rosé with smoked salmon, grilled poultry, or summer salads. The wine's versatility and crisp profile complement the smokiness of salmon, the juiciness of poultry, and the freshness of salads. Remember, when pairing sparkling wine with food, consider the wine's sweetness level and intensity.

Dry sparkling wines like Brut and Extra Brut work well with a variety of dishes, while sweeter styles like Demi-Sec complement desserts. Additionally, the bubbles in sparkling wine can cut through rich and fried foods, cleansing the palate.

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A Final Word on Choosing Wine Varieties

As you navigate the world of wine varieties for your restaurant, remember that each bottle is an opportunity to elevate your patrons' dining experience.

Tailor your selection to complement your menu, considering your guests' preferences will help you create classic food pairings for each wine variety.

Remember that proper wine storage is essential to ensuring a consistent flavor and taste experience.

Take the information you learned and craft a wine menu that tells a story, enhancing the overall culinary journey for your customers.

Cheers to creating unforgettable dining experiences!

Note: This article was generated with the help of ChatGPT. It was edited, enhanced, and published by humans.

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Untappd Team
Post by Untappd Team
March 18, 2024
These blogs are from various members of the Untappd for Business team!