BBQ Wine Pairings for Summer


Summer BBQ season is upon us!


We can’t think of a better way to compliment some saucy ribs on a warm evening than with a glass of BC’s finest wine. Now all you’ll need are the mouth-watering recipes to cook up the absolute best dinner. Don’t sweat it – we’ve enlisted the help of Kyle Dampsy, Executive Chef at Canoe Brewpub, to come up with some easy BBQ recipes.


Apple Brined Smoky Baby Back Ribs


We love these smoky ribs on a warm evening in the backyard. And we love Pentage Gamay really any time! This wine features dark cherry notes and soft tannins that make it a great companion to saucy, smoky pork dishes – not too light to get lost in the meal, but not too big to overpower! And to really up your pairing game, pour a glug in to your sauce so the flavours really shine.


For the Brine:

  • Apple Juice — 3L

  • Salt — 90 grams

  • Pepper Corns — 30 grams

  • Fennel Seeds — 45 grams

  • Bay Leaf — 3 leaves

  • Chili — pinch

For the Ribs:

  • Baby Back Pork Ribs — 3kg

  • Onions — 6 whole, peeled and sliced

  • Cracked Pepper — To taste

  • Apple Wood Chips — 2 cups


  • Bring apple juice to a simmer and stir in remaining ingredients for the brine.

  • Cool.

  • Run a knife down each bone on the backside of the ribs to sever the connective tissue.

  • Place Ribs in brine and refrigerate over-night.

  • In a baking dish place a layer of raw onions followed by a layer of ribs and repeat until all the ribs are in the pan. (This is a great time to use your favourite dry rub.)

  • Cover with aluminum foil and place in BBQ at 250°F for approximately 90 minutes.

  • Once ribs are “fall off the bone” tender, cool slightly and remove the onions and cooking juices from the pan.

  • Reduce the juices and onions until thick.

  • Fold the thickened juices into your favourite BBQ sauce for the perfect marriage between meat and sauce.

  • Soak wood chips in cold water for 20 minutes.

  • Liberally slather the BBQ sauce on the ribs.

  • Drain the liquid off the wood chips and throw them right onto the coals of your BBQ. If it is propane, put them in a tin foil pouch with holes poked in the pouch and leave it on the grill until it begins smoking.

  • Once you have a nice smoky environment, grill (high heat) your saucy ribs. Continue to add sauce as you feel fit.

  • Serve and enjoy!


Bourbon Espresso BBQ Sauce


This is a pretty big sauce that needs a pretty big wine, and Lunessence Merlot is certainly up for the job! This wine is full bodied, spicy, and has a coffee-like kick to echo the espresso in the sauce.


Onion — 2 whole, peeled and sliced

Garlic — 5 cloves, peeled and sliced

Ketchup — 2L

Jim Beam Bourbon — 1 cup

Espresso — 1 cup

Soy Sauce — ½ cup

Molasses — ¼ cup

Butter — ¼ lb


  • Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot.

  • Add sliced garlic and onion. Sweat until the vegetables are tender and starting to stick to the bottom of the pot.

  • Deglaze with Soy Sauce, half the Jim Beam Bourbon and half the espresso. Allow to reduce by half.

  • Add Ketchup and Molasses and allow to gently simmer until sauce is thick and sticky. Approximately 90min.

  • Remove from the heat then add the remainder of the Bourbon and Espresso. Stir vigorously.

  • Chill and enjoy!


Skillet Charred Cornbread


Sometimes you need a break from big reds, and sometimes bubbly is the perfect remedy. We think this sparkler from Cedar Creek will compliment Kyle’s cornbread so nicely, and it gets bonus points for having enough versatility to stand next to just about every other dish at the cookout! The wine is super floral and citrusy with a refreshing mousse and lively acidity – great as a palate cleanser, with summer salads, or just on its own as a toast to good times.


  • Cornmeal — 1 ½ cups

  • Whole Milk — 2 ½ Cups

  • All Purpose Flour — 2 cups

  • Baking Powder — 1 tablespoon

  • Salt — 1 teaspoon

  • Sugar — 2/3 of a cup

  • Eggs — 2 whole, large

  • Butter — ½ cup

  • Sour Cream — 2 tablespoons

  • Fresh Corn — 1 cobb


  • Pre-heat a heavy bottomed skillet on the BBQ (400°F)

  • Peel corn and char on the BBQ. Remove the kernels and reserve.

  • Melt butter and combine it with all other wet ingredients.

  • In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

  • Fold all ingredients, including the charred corn kernels, together to form a batter.

  • Add the batter to the skillet and allow to cook for 20–30min.

  • When a fork is placed in the bread and comes out clean, the cornbread is ready!

A tip…While you are cooking your cornbread on the BBQ, it will absorb other flavours from the grill. Preparing some nice smoky ribs adjacent to the bread will deepen the flavour!


Meet the Maker: Rathjen Cellars


It all started in a basement in Fernwood, where Mike Rathjen experimented with fermentation in his humble little “Wine bunker.” In 2016, Mike had outgrown the Bunker, so with the help of his business partner Colin Mann, he took over the historic Babe's Honey property in the Oldfield Valley which had fallen into disrepair and worked to bring the land back to health and production. The fields were contoured and amended with topsoil and compost in preparation for plantings of Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Zweigelt and Pinot Noir, along with orchard trees and black currants destined for cider and Crème de Cassis. The old honey warehouse underwent extensive renovations to be converted it into a new winery and tasting room, which officially opened to the public in the spring of 2018.

Rathjen Cellars is a farm-based winery on the Saanich Peninsula specializing in low intervention wines and cider from 100% Vancouver Island fruit fermented with wild yeasts. Mike is part of a new wave of winegrowers on Vancouver Island with a goal to continue the exploration of this emerging wine region while making accessible wines (and ciders) that pair beautifully with our local foods. He draws on inspiration from old world traditions of sustainable farming practices and minimal intervention in the cellar to create wines that truly reflect our unique coastal climate.


A rustic blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay, Dornfelder, and Foch from Saanich and the Cowichan Valley. This is a fruit forward wine with notes of cherries, plums, and blackberries backed up by fresh acidity and ripe but smooth tannins. This wine makes for a great pairing with pot roast or BBQ salmon.


An Alsace-inspired field blend of Ortega, Schönberger, Pinot Gris, and Auxerrois that packs an aromatic punch of orchard fruit and flowers. With crisp lemony acidity and saline minerality, this wine is the perfect match for oysters and warm summer evenings.


Taking cues from Burgundy, this is a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir that bursts with strawberry and red current fruit. Totally refreshing and made for picnics, garden parties, and backyard BBQs.


Wine In A Can For Your Next Adventure


Summertime is all about exploration, adventure, and trying something new. Whether you’re out camping, climbing, or canoeing, it’s time to get outdoors and be on the move. And we’ve got the perfect portable beverages to accompany you on all your summer adventures: wine in a can! Vino lovers rejoice – this new packaging means that your favourite red, white, or rosé just became exploration-friendly.

Light enough to throw a couple in your backpack, and easily recyclable to help protect our natural playground, canned wine is made for outdoor fun. Check out these fun options for your next adventure


Try this classic Spanish cocktail made from fruity Tempranillo, oranges, lemons, and a bit of cinnamon. A perfect pairing for pool parties and picnics. It even comes in an eco-friendly cardboard can!


Crisp, refreshing, and abundantly fruity with notes of lemon, peach, and melon. A fun and fruity crowd-pleaser that will bring some freshness to your lakeside lawn games.


The perfect size for when you just need a cheeky glass of bubbles! This peachy and red berry bubble is a yummy way to toast a day well spent in the sun.


Meet the Maker: BX Press Cidery


Our team was recently on an Okanagan tour exploring the local vineyards and orchards. We had a small window of spare time and I knew that no Okanagan trip would be complete without a visit to ‘The BX Press’ in Vernon. Their ciders have been a favourite of mine since they opened their doors. My favourites range from their traditional dry ‘The Prospector’, to an experimental ‘Botanical Series’ with seasonal creations such as ‘Vanilla Plum’ or ‘Lavender Raspberry’.

Missy Dobernigg, owner and cider maker, took time out of her busy bottling day to give us a tour and talk about the cidery. We even got to see her and the team in action with a new bottling line! (This means more cider for us on the island.)

Named after the Barnard’s Express & Stage Line, one of the oldest, largest, and longest running stagecoach companies in North America, starting in 1861 delivering letters from Vancouver into the Rockies. Later renamed the BC Express, they owned and operated a 6,000 acre horse ranch called The BX Ranch, which became known as Vernon.

Their 3rd generation farm is located on part of this historical land and the BX Press pays homage to this important part of British Colombian history at every opportunity. The names in the Character Series honour historical figures involved in some way with the Barnards Express. You can read the stories on the bottle while enjoying a cider. While visiting the tasting room, the staff will be happy to share the region’s colourful history.

The recently expanded tasting room is open for summer hours seven days a week from 10–5. With a picnic area and special events, such as orchard dinners and live music over the next few months, it’s worth taking the time to stop in on your Okanagan adventure.


A limited release small batch off-dry rosé style cider made with Vernon grown Haskap berries.


This dry cider is infused with hops after maturation, giving the cider aromatic floral notes.


Dry with notes of vanilla, caramel and oak from a slow maturation in whiskey barrels.