Serving Wine with Pizza Offers New Opportunities

Beer and pizza are the natural pairing served in pizzerias throughout the world. With the growing popularity of craft beers, there are even more reasons to enjoy a cold brew with any variety of pizza. But beer isn’t the only pizza-friendly drink option. For those who aren’t leveraging creative vino options as a revenue stream, it might be time to consider expanding your wine program.

With the U.S. now the no. 1 wine consuming nation in the world, restaurants can reach out to new customers, especially women, who represent nearly 60 percent of the total wine consumption. Pizzerias don’t need an extensive wine list, rather a well-chosen selection of whites, reds and pinks to serve with popular pizza types.

What wines are the most complementary to pizza? You need bottles that refresh the palate with bright acidity, which offers a counterpoint to the richness of cheese, vegetable, and meat toppings.

First, many people that opt for pizza wines turn to the homeland: Italy. It’s true that often what grows together, goes together so Italian red and white wines are ideal suggestions. Specifically, reds made from the Sangiovese grape, which is a natural with tomato sauce. This grape is the basis of Tuscany’s Chianti wines including affordable Chianti and more pricey, complex Chianti Classico. It’s a vibrant, racy red that works with pizza in all shapes and sizes.

The other Italian red that pairs well with cheese or Margharita pizzas is Barbera. Known as the workhorse of the famous northern Italian Piedmont region, Barbera wines are fruity, medium-bodied, and have smooth tannins and bright acid to match classic cheese pizza.

As you add toppings, the wine choices start to expand. For example, some people prefer white wine to red and fortunately, so do many pizzas. With vegetarian pizza you want to echo the herbal flavors of peppers, onions, and even artichokes, so a zesty Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a top match. While Hawaiian-style pizza needs a light sweet Riesling to pick up the pineapple fruitiness and offset the meat’s saltiness.

When pepperoni enters the picture, most customers would pick a hearty red, but light-bodied Pinot Grigio pairs well as the wine’s juicy freshness offsets the intensity of spicy pepperoni. With earthy mushrooms, an elegant Pinot Noir or intense white like Gewurztraminer does the trick. Even visually appealing pink Rosé – one of the hottest categories for wine today – can pair with a sweet barbeque sauce-topped pie.

You already have the beer drinking crowd coming in, so don’t neglect wine lovers – offering a wine list will attract more customers. Cheers!

PIZZA PAIRING GUIDE

Type White Wine Red Wine
CHEESE Chardonnay Barbera
PEPPERONI Pinot Grigio Chianti
VEGETABLE Sauvignon Blanc Cabernet Sauvignon
HAWAIIAN Riesling Syrah
MUSHROOM Gewurztraminer Pinot Noir
BBQ CHICKEN Rosé Zinfandel