5 Affordable Wines from Trader Joe’s That Belong At Your Cookout, According to a Somm

It's time to light up the grill and break out the wine

An outdoor table with a selection of wines, glasses, and cups

The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Fred Hardy, Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Shell Royster

When summer arrives, the grills start firing-up, picnic blankets get laid out, and keeping cool becomes the ultimate goal. During this time of year—as a sommelier—I really gravitate towards wines that are fruit-forward and on the lighter side with a lot of juicy acidity. I also want to ensure that whatever I’m drinking will pair well with my favorite summer foods (hello, tomatoes!).

This is why I usually shop at Trader Joe’s—it’s a  solid place to find some wines that are a great value, with most being under $20.  Here are my top five wine picks from the fan-favorite grocery store for grilling season and summer drinking.

bottle of Sainte Celine Chablis

The Spruce Eats/ Lucia Palm

1. Sainte Céline Chablis

When I think of summer, lobster rolls immediately jump out at me and Chablis and Lobster is a match made in heaven. Chablis is a town in Burgundy, France and the wine is made with 100% chardonnay grapes. This Chablis has notes of green apple, lemon, and melon with a creamy mouth feel, and a fair amount of acidity along with great minerality. 

Great Paired With

The creamy feel of the wine makes it a perfect choice to further complement a lobster's buttery texture. If lobster isn’t your thing, this is a great pairing for your favorite summertime shrimp dish. Shrimp rolls anyone?

bottle of Gruner Veltliner wine

The Spruce Eats / Lucia Palm

2. Floriana Grüner Veltliner

Grüner veltliner is like the cool cousin that gets along with everyone. It’s very approachable and most people love it at first sip. Typically the grape grüner veltliner is found in Austria. But I find this one from Hungary to be easy drinking, with notes of lime blossoms, meadow flowers, and that signature white pepper that grüner veltliner is known for.

Great Paired With

This is a perfect wine to pop open when lounging by the pool or at a picnic with some guacamole or ceviche.

bottle of Emma Reichart Rose wine

The Spruce Eats / Lucia Palm

3. Emma Reichart Rosé

This bottle is a gateway wine to German rosé (which is grossly underrated, in my opinion). When you lift the glass of wine to your nose, aromas of red cherries, strawberry, and watermelon leap out. This wine is dry, with mouth watering acidity that German rosés are known for. On the palate, you also get grapefruit and tangerine.

Great Paired With

Any light summer sides such as pasta salad, fruit salad, or ripe summer tomatoes.

bottle of vinho verde wine

The Spruce Eats / Lucia Palm

4. Espiral Vinho Verde

Vinho verde from Portugal is the ultimate pool or beach wine. It’s slightly spritzy making it super refreshing, easy drinking, and quaffable. I liken this to an adult lemonade because it tastes very citrusy and tart. Vinho verde is also low in alcohol at 9% making it a great way to cool off in the summer and not worry about feeling sluggish the way a high alcohol wine would.  

Great Paired With

This wine has nice citrusy flavors that pair very well with summer foods such as pesto pasta, grilled fish, or chicken and salads. If you’ve been invited to a summer party or BBQ and don't know what wine to bring, this is always a safe bet and a crowd pleaser!

bottle of cotes du rhone
The Spruce Eats / Lucia Palm.

5. Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Reserve

Burgers on the grill are synonymous with summer, so I had to include a red wine that would be a perfect pairing. Côtes du Rhône tends to be grenache dominant with a touch of syrah making it easy drinking with approachable tannins that really cut through the fattiness of the BBQ. This wine has notes of black cherry, plum, and leather. There is also a slight smoky note thanks to the syrah grape, which complements the char on a grilled burger. 

Great Paired With