Your Summer Wine and Food Pairing Guide

Nothing makes summer better than a great wine to sip on your porch as you watch the sun melt into the horizon. White wines top the list for summer: They’re cool, delicious, and crisp. And this makes them the perfect complement to a summer evening.

To help make your summer complete, we’ve put together a list of the best summer wines along with food pairing ideas. 

Let’s get pouring!

Summer Wine #1: Gewürztraminer

First on our wine list is the Gewürztraminer (guh·vurt·struh·mee·nr). The Gewürztraminer has a light body, medium to low acidity, and an off-dry sweetness. It’s well known for its intense floral aromas and has flavors of lychee (think sweet rose), grapefruit, pineapple, apricot, orange, and cantaloupe. 

Just like another fan favorite German varietal, this grape is very versatile! It can be succulently sweet or crisp and dry. Regardless of your sweetness preference, this wine always presents on the palate with a luscious body. 

Serve your Gewürztraminer fridge cold, and as you sip, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a resort in the Alps (this wine’s place of origin) enjoying your wine after finishing a hike through the Italian countryside. 

Grand Gewürztraminer Summer Food Pairings

The flavor and slight sweetness make this summer wine a good choice to pair with unique dishes, so think exotic.  Gewürztraminer is often famously paired with spicy Thai foods – and really any spicy food for that matter.

But it also pairs nicely with Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes. These foods pair wonderfully with Gewürztraminer since they often use nuts, dried fruits, and roasted meats that bring out the wine’s flavors of rose and ginger. The lamb and apricot tagine is a great dish to try.

You can even enjoy this with artichoke, which is a more difficult food to pair wine with!

Check out Rove Estate’s 2021 Gewürztraminer for your next wine & food pairing.

You’ll discover classic notes of lychee, grilled pineapple, and delicate rose petals followed by flavors of apricot, mango, and a hint of ginger. The texture of this wine is soft and silky, with concentrated fruit notes.

Summer Wine #2: Pinot Grigio

The Pinot Grigio is a luscious white wine with a refreshing sparkle of acidity. This summer wine has a medium body and is dry with a medium-high to high acidity.

With each sip, you’ll encounter flavors ranging from lime, green apple, and lemon to pear, white nectarine, and white peach. With its zesty and refreshing personality, it’s one of the best summer wines to pour at your next party. 

Perfect Pinot Grigio Summer Food Pairings

Pinot Grigio is often referred to as a “high-acid white,” so keep the food pairings light. It works well with seafood like crab cakes, shrimp scampi, tilapia, scallops, perch, trout, mussels, clams, and oysters.

This summer wine also works with light pasta dishes and risottos, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables like cucumber, celery, jicama, kale, green apples, and cauliflower.

Check out Rove Estate’s 2021 Pinot Grigio for your next wine & food pairing.

You’ll encounter fresh peaches, yellow pear, and delicate white flowers on the nose. The palate is well rounded and soft with flavors of apple slices, cantaloupe, and nectarine, followed by a clean and pleasant finish.

Summer Wine #3: Pinot Blanc 

The Pinot Blanc is often confused with the Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris since all 3 of these wines come from the same mutated pinot noir grape. But it’s definitely its own flavor.

Think of Pinot Blanc as the middle flavor between Pinot Gris’s opulence and Pinot Grigio’s light, refreshing crispness. It makes Pinot Blanc the best summer wine to sip in July, right when you’re in the middle of your summer.

Pinot Blanc presents flavors of pear, peach, raw almond, lemon zest, and crushed gravel. It has medium acidity and is dry with a light body.

Pleasant Pinot Blanc Summer Food Pairings

Pinot Blanc can handle many of your favorite summer foods like roasted chicken, citrusy salad dressings, flaky fish, and pasta that’s acidic or tossed in a creamy sauce. 

Check out Rove Estate’s 2021 Pinot Blanc for your next wine & food pairing.

It has aromas of fresh orchard fruits, lemongrass, and tart citrus. And you’ll discover flavors of juicy pear, exotic star fruit, and lemon zest complimenting the mouth-watering acidity.

Summer Wine #4: Rosé

No wine is more iconic of summer than a Rosé. And it’s often considered the BEST wine for summer sipping. Whether you’re poolside at a hotel or sitting on your porch swing, a glass of Rosé is the perfect partner for summer.

Rosé has lots of different facets and, depending on the region, you’ll encounter flavors of strawberry, honeydew melon, rose petal, celery, and watermelon to grapefruit, stony minerals, and gooseberry. This wine is dry and light-bodied with medium acidity.

Ravishing Rosé Summer Food Pairings

Rosé is perfect for summer because it pairs well with light, refreshing summer foods. Think charcuterie boards, salads, light pastas, fresh fruit, or cold appetizers such as potato or pasta salads. It’s also great alongside slices of bruschetta, like this version topped with prosciutto, ricotta, and arugula.

Check out Rove Estate’s 2020 Ragaire Rosé for your next wine & food pairing.

Ragaire is a Gaelic word meaning “someone who enjoys wandering by night,” invoking an image of a person talking long into the early hours.  Our Ragaire Rosé pairs perfectly with a beautiful sunset and bonfire, and will make you want to “Rosé all night.”

The Ragaire Rosé has aromas of white cherry, lemon, and delicate sweet pea flowers. The acidity zings from start to finish with vibrant flavors of peach, strawberry, cassis, and watermelon.

We hope you found inspiration for your next summer celebration or quiet evening with some great wine and food.

And if you’re looking for more wines to enjoy this summer, check out our 2021 Unoaked Chardonnay, 2021 Select Harvest Riesling, or 2021 Dry Riesling. We’ll be clinking glasses with you from Leelanau Peninsula!

Want more food and wine pairings? Dig into our Food and Wine Pairing 101. And if you still prefer your reds even during summer, we have a winter food and wine pairing guide you’ll find helpful.


How We’re Creating a Sustainable Vineyard and Farm at Rove Estate

In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2022, we wanted to dedicate our April blog to sustainability on the vineyard and farm. 

Sustainability is a term people are hearing and embracing in their wineries, farms, ranches, and at home. Although the term may feel new and progressive, sustainable farming practices are as old as time. 

Mother Nature is an incredible powerhouse. She has mastered the art of intuition, wound care, regeneration, and how to make all these seemingly random variables harmonize together. It is a living miracle to be celebrated each year, each harvest, by working in cooperation with Mother Nature.

And we do. 

For over 5 generations, spanning over 140 years, the Gallagher family has been living and working alongside Mother Nature in greater Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Heeding and listening to her commands –  but most importantly – observing as we work the vineyard and farm to build a sustainable relationship with the land.

That’s the thing about farming. There isn’t a “one size fits all” manual out there. Each farm is composed of many unique microclimates and soil types that all have unique compositions and ecosystems. It takes DECADES to really dial into the land. 

Our initial planting of 15 acres of 9 wine grape varietals will be 10 years old this May. And it has taken nearly that entire time to dial into the nuances of our soil and what wine grape varietals do best on our farm. It can feel like a painful process of elimination at times. But there is no denying the joy of unveiling the delicate balance that reveals premium fruit. 

“We like to think a happy farm grows happy vineyards that produce happy grapes that in return make premium wines.” – Creighton Gallagher

Farming takes a tremendous amount of patience, perseverance, and faith. It is not for the faint of heart but for those who have a lot of heart! 

Now more than ever, Mother Nature needs us all to be stewards of the land. And we do our part to protect and nurture her by using sustainable farming practices that take care of the land and the grapes we grow.

Farming is all about the DIRT!

Building up organic matter and making sure our soil is healthy and full of all the right nutrients and microorganisms is priority number 1. The tricky part is doing this without getting in the way of Mother Nature’s biological plan.  

Credit: Front. Environ. Sci., 18 June 2020 |

With every new vineyard or orchard we plant, we use the old, sustainable farming practice of cover crops. 

We take at least 2 years to plant cover crops like alfalfa and rye. These cover crops break up compacted soil and help build up the organic matter in the soil. Although these practices can take a lot of time, they are critical for the general health of our soil and vineyards.

By working the land with cover crops before planting, nutrients such as nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorus remain in balance. They have their part to do in the greater scheme of the grapevine life cycle.  

Healthy soil composition also is critical for water retention in the vineyard. We want to make sure rain absorbs into the soil and doesn’t run off taking vital nutrients with it.

Besides focusing on the natural ecosystems of our farm, we also focus on canopy management – the big, beautiful leaves that are critical for photosynthesis. We use compost and other natural sources of dense nutrients (like turkey manure) to restore and support the soil and farm each harvest and season. 

It is truly a lot of work to grow any fruit, so we want to make sure we show our trees and vines the love and respect they deserve by embracing sustainability at the vineyard.

This symbiotic relationship between a farmer and their land is a story as old as time. To put it in a more humorous context: “You scratch my back, I will scratch yours” is the playful mantra between the two.  

All kidding aside, this partnership is what makes a bountiful harvest and eventually beautiful wines.  

Sustainable grape growing and farming is a journey, not a destination. 

Whether you are a conventional farmer, organic, or biodynamic, we believe building a sustainable and environmentally focused farming journey is what we all should work towards year after year.

This consistency and collective mission of conscious farmers will surely have a positive impact on many generations to come.

We are committed to this journey and give ourselves grace and understand that it is not a race. 

In our journey to become a fully sustainable winery, we are actively working towards integrating new vineyard practices to minimize and someday eliminate synthetic chemicals. 

Stay tuned by signing up for our newsletter – hint, the sign-up is at the bottom of this page!

You don’t want to miss out on learning more about new practices and equipment we are so excited to start using this season. We have made significant investments and can’t wait to share it all with you soon! 

We love connecting with our guests and sharing what we’ve learned throughout the years.  We would hardly call ourselves experts, but consider ourselves forever students of this way of life: always learning and growing, trying new things to make our Michigan vineyard stronger and more sustainable each year.