These Are the Best Salad and Wine Pairings

 In CGT Blog, Recipes

Curating the Best Salad and Wine Pairing Is No Easy Task

Now here’s something civilized: There nothing more refreshing (and delicious!) than a colorful, healthy salad paired with a tasty glass of wine.

It turns out pairing a salad and a glass of wine is a balancing act. Ready to explore the best salad and wine pairings? Let’s go!

Salad and Wine Pairing 101

It’s much easier to pair a wine with a distinct dinner entrée like a filet mignon or pasta dish than it is to pair it with a salad. There can be a lot of flavors in a salad; increasing the chances that one of those flavors is going to clash with your wine. For example, if you’re using too acidic of a dressing, it could drown out the taste of your wine. Like goat cheese on your salad? Make sure to pair it with a zesty wine – something with crisp acidity to dance with those fattier cheese flavors.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts for your next salad and wine pairing:

  • Avoid Caesar salads. The traditional garlic dressing paired with croutons is a rich, delicious recipe that will numb your palette. You’ll struggle to taste the intricacies of your wine.
  • Fruits, cheeses, and pickled vegetables, when grouped together, are tough, too, but not impossible. The problem is the combination of sweet and savory flavors in a salad. A wine may pair well with the cheese but clash with the fruit. Your safest bet for a complex salad like this is going with an all-around, crowd-pleasing wine, like Chateau Grand Traverse’s 2017 Gru Vin Gruner Veltliner.
  • Less is more. For example, mixed greens with some shredded carrots and julienned cucumbers and some olive oil-and-lemon-juice dressing is a refreshing yet simple salad to pair with a nice white wine.

Best Wine for a Cherry Chicken Salad

Being that Chateau Grand Traverse is in the Cherry Capital of the World, we should know how to pair a wine with a cherry chicken salad. Be warned, this one is a little tricky.

If you were choosing a wine to pair with a simpler chicken salad, we’d recommend a Pinot Grigio or a Chardonnay. A crisp, ripe wine, like our Pinot Grigio, that features apple and citrus flavors pairs well with chicken-focused salads.

But things get complicated when you add in the cherry component. You typically want to complement sweet entrees with a dry wine, but that’s not the case with dried cherries, which actually pair better with a sweeter wine.

For a cherry chicken salad, we recommend pairing it with our sweeter Late Harvest Riesling. Its’ naturally sweet finish combined with plenty of stone fruit is the perfect complement for chicken and cherries.

Which Wine to Pair with a Pear and Blue Cheese Salad?

As you may know, northern Michigan has the perfect climate for harvesting Riesling grapes. So, we set out to find which salad pairs best with a bottle of our popular 2019 Dry Riesling.

It turns out a pear and blue cheese salad is perfect. The salad contains:

  • Arugula
  • Sliced pears
  • Mild blue cheese
  • Ground black pepper
  • Nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, or cashews will do)
  • A dressing that’s a combination of cider vinegar, whole-grain mustard, kosher salt, and olive oil.


While this may sound like a complicated salad to try to pair with wine, the combination of the pears and blue cheese works very well with a Riesling. Our Dry Riesling is crisp and fruity, with mineral notes. It’s not as acidic as our Late Harvest Riesling, which lends itself to a salad like this that features pears and a vinaigrette dressing.

Have a Better Salad and Wine Pairing Idea?

Sure, there are best practices about matching wine with salad, but in the end, that pairing comes down to personal preference. That means that it might be time for some good old-fashioned trial and error!

Visit us in the tasting room or shop online today to find a wine to pair with your favorite salad. We ship our wines directly to your door in 18 different states! 

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