Best types of wine for pizzeria

What styles of wine are best for a pizzeria (merlot, cabernet, chardonnay, etc…)?

Due to space constraints, I’m looking to carry 4-8 decent wines. We currently have a 24 tap draft system with nothing but craft beer. We move about a keg a day and charge between $5-7 a serving. I have several restaurant competitors nearby that offer 5 star wine programs, so I’m not looking to compete with that crowd. My license does allow customers to bring in their own wine, so I plan to also offer a corking fee (not sure on price though) in addition to a limited wine program.

Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.


Surprise, surprise, Italian wines seem to pair best with pizza … Chianti, Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Barbera, Valpolicella and a Sicillian Nero d’Avola all fit the bill. And their price points should also be right for pizza. My advice would be to ask your distributors to provide several of each ( but at prices that will ultimately be affordable for your clientele) and then do a “blind tasting” among family, staff and valued customers to choose their top picks. There is one more that I love, but it is illusive almost everywhere … it’s name is Gragnano, and almost everyone loves it with pizza and other Italian red sauce dishes. If you can find it, buy it … your customers will love both it and you.

I’m glad to see that you have 2 dozen craft beers on tap too … it should be a rare occasion when someone can’t find something great to wash down a great pizza. Good luck, and let us know what you decided.

I had a sommelier from wine country out here help me out with pairings. I have limited space too for wine so he suggested I choose 4-5 varietals at a decent/good price not the snooty/expensive stuff. I do half price wine bottles as a drink special on Tuesdays as it was our slowest day. Now we get a line right before we open, almost all women btw, for half price bottles of wine.

Red Zins pair best with red pizza sauce. I also offer a good Cab and a Pinot Noir as they are popular in this region of California and plenty sold locally of course. As far as whites, I pair the Pinot Grigio (but you could do a Sav Blanc as well) for any spicy pizzas which I have a lot of and also offer a Chardonnay for the older ladies!

It’s all about pairings, just like your beers, not whether it’s from Italy or not. That has nothing to do with anything. Below is how we pair.

  • Meaty or Heavy pizzas - Cabernet
  • Spicy pizzas - Pinot Grigio
  • Light/Veggie pizzas - Pinot Noir or Chardonnay
  • Any red sauce pizzas - Red Zinfandel

Just a little snarky there, Joe. Taste is a little like opinions, they vary … so it seems out of bounds to brush off my comments about Italian wines pairing nicely with pizza.

“Corkage Fee”
Check your state laws first, some states do prohibit that fee for carry-in wines.
I also believe your service style can have a big impact on wine sales,