Red, White and Wine: What to Drink on July 4th

Happy Birthday America. We raise a glass and toast our collective history and accomplishments. What’s in that glass? For me and fellow wine lovers, it sure won’t be beer. July 4th is a time to celebrate our great country and wines made on American soil.

From burgers to fried chicken and apple pie, we’ll be feasting on a typical American menu. The wine should also be as American as the food.

Shrimp on the Barbie

Shrimp on a skewer, whether wrapped in bacon or straight-up, are a perfect appetizer prepared on the grill. The natural sweetness of the shrimp makes it a perfect pairing for a subtly-sweet white wine such as Riesling.

Pacific Rim’s Riesling offers bright crispness, subtle sweetness and aromas of pear and apple. Its natural sweetness makes it a perfect contrast, thus pairing, to a spicy dish such as Cajun-style grilled shrimp.


For burger lovers, since the best burgers are juicy and tasty, whether adorned in lettuce, tomato, onion and cheese or something more unique, they make the perfect pairing for an all-American Claret, which is a Bordeaux blend.

Blackberry and black cherry dominate this delicious Napa Valley Bordeaux blend. Almost equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, a hint of smokiness in it makes it a perfect pairing for grilled items.

Hot Dogs

There is almost nothing tastier than a mouthwatering, all-beef hot dog prepared on the grill. Whether sliced as an appetizer or eaten the traditional way in a fluffy bun loaded with ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, relish, sauerkraut, and more, best to keep this pairing super simple — and complementary — with a big, bold, juicy California Cabernet.

Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon (California), 85% Cabernet, this wine has notes of ripe blackberry, black cherry, and a hint of cocoa powder. The addition of Syrah (10%) provides a hint of pepper, a perfect added ‘seasoning’ to all grilled items.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Fried Chicken

Sometimes you just want to keep it really simple food-wise on July 4th with grilled chicken, Teriyaki or otherwise, so you can save room for the other July 4th fare (potato chips, coleslaw, fruit salad, etc.) We recommend keeping it equally “simple” and clean with an unoaked California Chardonnay while so doing.

We love this wine as its clean, unoaked character lets the natural vibrancy of the Chardonnay grape shine through. The result is a crisp wine, with intense minerality and fresh aromas of grapefruit and lychee. A perfect pairing for grilled chicken.

What about fried chicken? That’s a staple of July 4th picnics in Atlanta. My personal favorite, especially for anything fried, is sparkling wine. The bubbles cut through the crispy fried skin nicely. Gruet Brut NV from New Mexico. Yes, New Mexico produces a fantastic bubbly. and a classic California Chardonnay. Cameron Hughes Chardonnay or Clos du Val Chardonnay.

These same two wines are also great choices for side dishes at most July 4th picnics, coleslaw and corn on the cob. If you like creamy coleslaw or butter-drenched grilled corn on the cob, then you can’t go wrong with a California Chardonnay. Its full, lush, creamy character should perfectly complement these all-American sides.

Grilled Steak

Why not splurge on your July 4th cookout with grilled steak? “You might as well go all-out in with some delicious wine. And there’s nothing more American than our great nation’s sole indigenous varietal, Zinfandel,” says Alyssa.

Chateau Montelena Estate-Grown Zinfandel, the opposite of the super raisin-y, high alcoholic, typical Zinfandels, Montelena’s is balanced, thus totally food-friendly. Ripe blackberry flavors are balanced by a wide array of spices like nutmeg and pepper that come together in a powerful yet restrained finish. 

Mom and Apple Pie

It doesn’t get more American than apple pie for dessert. These sweet dessert wines bring out the nutty, nutmeg and caramel notes in the pie. Even though we tend to think of Germany for Riesling and France for Sauternes, there are excellent American alternatives.