The Best Wines for Summer (That Aren’t Rosé)

Group of people clinking glasses of white wine.

Summer’s on its way, and if you’re a wine drinker, you might be ready to shift your selections from rich and full-bodied to light and refreshing. What kind of wine should you pack for your beach day, and what’s the best wine for a summer party on the patio?

Rosé is an obvious choice (for good reason), but maybe it’s not for you. There are plenty of white and red varieties that perform well in the heat. Here are some of our favorites.

White wine for hot summer days

Light, crisp white wines are a classic go-to for warmer weather. They taste great chilled and pair well with foods like grilled chicken, seafood, or salad. For maximum refreshment, look for whites that are dry and acidic. 


This versatile German white goes with almost any food, so it’s an excellent table wine when you want to entertain. Riesling comes in dry or sweet options and has a characteristic high acidity that lends itself to a crisp taste with fruit and floral notes. It’s great for day drinking, or for eating your way through a summer cookout. 

Pinot Grigio

Pinot grigio is another refreshing choice for summer. Dry and acidic, with flavors of stone fruit and citrus, it’s perfect with seafood or light pasta sauces.

Pinot gris is the exact same grape variety as pinot grigio, hailing from France instead of Italy. It’s highly acidic as well but has a richer and spicier taste. Try it as an aperitif on a hot, humid evening. 

Light red wines for summer

Not into white wine? No problem. Just because red wine tends to be heavier overall doesn’t mean there aren’t light-bodied reds ideal for a sunny day. For a refreshing taste, look for wines that have lower tannin levels and higher acidity. 


You’ll often find grenache (or granacha, as it’s known in Spain) in red blends, but it can stand well on its own, too.

Fruit-forward and crisp, with notes of red berry and cinnamon, grenache is a light-bodied red that feels smooth on the palate. Pick a grenache that hasn’t been aged too much for a fresher flavor, and serve it at room temperature with some backyard barbecue.

Pinot noir

A typically dry, low-tannin red with bright acidity, pinot noir is the most widely grown wine variety. No wonder, since it’s smooth and easy to drink. Pinot noir’s flavor profile includes cherry, raspberry, mushroom, vanilla, spice, and oak. Serve it just cool (55-65 degrees) with dishes like grilled salmon, braised short ribs, or mushroom risotto.

Need some advice from an expert? At Tap, we’re happy to help you choose the best wine for any summer activity.

See What’s On Tap

Category: Wine