Skip to main content

The weekend is around the corner and you’ve invited your ‘other half’, or your friends, to an open-air picnic. You’ve taken the time to choose the dishes you’re going to bring, but you’re still wondering which wines would go well with them. No need to panic: our resident oenologist has some top tips to help you make the right choice.

Remember: picnics and barbecues are not the same thing!

The wines served at a barbecue are not necessarily the same as the ones served at a picnic. Indeed, barbecues are more daring in terms of taste, and are often more spicy, whereas picnics are lighter and have more variety: mixed salads, cold chicken, cheeses and spreadable toppings, charcuterie and fresh bread, seasonal fruits… To accompany these dishes, aim for wines that are cool, crisp whites or rosés, or a light red wine.

Choose a wine that suits the glasses you’re using – or vice versa

In other words, if you have opted for plastic cups, there’s no point forking out for a high-ranking Grand Cru Classé, which will look ill-at-ease in the kind of glass you’ve chosen for it. Conversely, if this picnic is going to be the scene of a marriage proposal and only a big bottle will do, remember to take suitable glasses that will be able to bring out your wine’s robe and aromas.

Rosé wines

A summer wine par excellence, rosé goes well with all sorts of foods and is perfect for a picnic. It’s the perfect match for melon, whereas other wines would only make you grimace. The same goes for mixed salads, tinned tuna or fresh cheeses like mozzarella or feta. It holds up well with cold meats, too. A few examples of rosés to serve up nicely chilled: Côtes de Provence, rosés from Corsica, Marsannay rosés, the Bordeaux Clairet…


Dry whites

White wine is specially recommended when fish features prominently in the picnic (e.g. smoked salmon, fish rillettes, etc.) or when there are dishes based around fresh cheese and raw vegetables.


If you love red wine and your picnic includes ham and sausage, opt for fruity, vibrant reds. When it comes to grape variety, pinot noir (from Sancerre or Bourgogne, for instance) and gamay (from Beaujolais or elsewhere) provide lighter red wines that go very well with picnics, like a Bourgogne côtes d’Auxerre, a Beaujolais-villages or a Coteaux-du-Lyonnais. In all cases, you should avoid red wines that are high in tannins.


The concept of the bespoke picnic

Some picnics deserve special attention, particularly when it comes to asking for your beloved’s hand in marriage, or celebrating a birthday. Nothing should be left to chance if you want to ensure that this moment remains etched in your memories forever. For this reason, it is sometimes advisable to call on an agency with specialist expertise in the field. They will be able to design a high-end, custom-made event, and make sure it is a success.

Noëlle Mendy

Author Noëlle Mendy

More posts by Noëlle Mendy