A Guide to Pairing Wine With Soup

Spicy fish soup in bowl and white wine in glass

 Zufar Kamilov/Getty Images

Soups, stews, chili, and chowder are staples for cooler weather; however, pairing wines with your favorite soup recipes can be tricky. If you break down your soup ingredients and view them as you would a pasta sauce or something of similar status then your task will be less intimidating.

For example, take a good hearty bowl of chili—the most common base ingredients include tomatoes, beans, and ground beef. So for a heavy tomato sauce, you would be on the search for a wine with a little less acidity and lighter on the tannin content. If your chili is heavy on beans or meat, then you could also get away with a wine that has a bit more body and strength, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or a Malbec.

By taking these concepts a little further you can find the right wine match for a variety of soups, stews, chilis, and chowders.

Wine Pairings to Get You Started

  • Chicken Noodle Soup would pair well with a Pinot Noir or perhaps a Chenin Blanc.
  • Cream of Chicken Soup, on the other hand, would likely prefer a Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier.
  • If you are going for Gumbo consider a Pinot Noir.
  • For French Onion Soup try a French Beaujolais or Beaujolais Nouveau or perhaps opt for a White Burgundy.
  • If you are serving a Seafood Bisque or Stew you will want to grab a Sauvignon Blanc—the earthy tones mixed with a citrusy spike will complement a myriad of sea creatures.
  • Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup will appreciate a staple Spanish wine like a Rioja.
  • New England Clam Chowder needs a well-oaked Chardonnay. Speaking of chowder, perhaps you are a Corn Chowder fan; if so, grab the nearest bottle of German Riesling (dry) and let it knock your socks off!
  • Finally, if Beef Stew with Vegetables is your gig, then you can't go wrong with a Cab or Shiraz for red wine lovers; if your preferences lean towards white wines, give a Gewurztraminer a go.

Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for pairing wine with foods and specifically soups, stews, and the like; however, there are certainly some wines that will enhance a pot of soup infinitely better than others. So experiment with some of these listings and try your own.