The Fourth of July weekend in the US is notoriously known for fireworks, red-white-blue color combinations and, of course, backyard BBQ’s. The good news is (other than the fact an Austrian wine pin and a blue shirt will cover the red-white-blue requirement) is that we’ve got you covered when it comes to the beverages you will be serving to your guests this weekend. Sure, traditionally there’s a lot of beer drinking, but we’re confident that in modern day culture they’ll be quite a few people at your festivities that will be reaching for a glass of wine instead.

Actually, let’s start with a cocktail. While we don’t really promote icing your wine (c’mon people, who does that?) we do promote the consumption of the traditional Viennese spritzer – light wine, try a Welshriesling or Gelber Muskateller, and club soda. Light, refreshing and you’ll be having a taste of Austrian culture alongside your appetizer salads and cheese platter…after all, the US is all about the combination of cultures, right?

Let’s move on to the main course.

Having BBQ chicken…(or BBQ anything, really)? Try a Zweigelt. The peppery character and red fruits will play off the sweet and spicy combination from the marinade creating a to-do-for backyard treat.

Back to those salads. So you started off with a spritzer, but now you’d like something more. Of course a Gruener Veltliner would be perfect company. We’d recommend sticking to the best known style of white pepper, green apple, citrus and moderately high acid. Not only will it pair with many of the hard-to-pair components of the salad, but it’s also great for sipping in the sun.

If you’re having an oyster bake try for a Styrian Sauvignon Blanc or a Zierfandler from the Thermenregion. The minerality and salinity that is typically found in these wines will pair great with the natural flavors of the oysters and other seafood options.

Grilling up some shrimp? Try an Austrian Riesling. These bone-dry wines will be good company for the natural flavors in the shrimp. Keep the marinade simple (a little lime juice and cracked pepper?) and this light pairing will leave you with enough confidence to rock that bikini after the food. Cooking up some duck breast? Riesling will actually be perfect here too – just go for a slightly weightier style with a bit more alcohol.

Let us not forget Blaufränkisch. Burgers, steaks, venison? Perfect. Smoked pork and homemade black beans? Yes, please. These foods would also go well with an Austrian Pinot Noir which are traditionally darker and fruitier than other old world expressions though they still carry a tremendous amount of spice.

And finally, when the sun begins to set and the sky begins to light up with colors it’s important that the celebration is just as…explosive on the ground. You guessed it, Austrian Sekt! What better way to truly connect with explosive feeling of national pride than toasting your friends and neighbors with a little something bubbly. Added bonus: the Sekt will pair perfectly with the tray of fresh fruit you set out for dessert.

Whatever crosses your picnic table this weekend, we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday! Zum Wohl!