The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine and Junk Food

The typical foodie will usually associate fine dining setups with haute cuisine, foreign wines, and uniformed waiters. However, the typical foodie won’t likely be keen on having to shoulder a hefty bill every week either. That being said, food and wine pairings need not be extravagant. Wine can suit whatever cuisine you like best—even fast food. If you’re a wine enthusiast with a penchant for delicious meals, here are a few junk food suggestions that you can delight in, Chardonnay in hand.


If you’re already indulging in the best burger in DC, why not partner it up with a full-bodied red? To complement a hearty bun sandwiching a slab of steak with cheese and sauce, try a wine like Zinfandel. It makes for a rich and tasty companion to an All-American favorite.


When you couple the words “junk food” and “pizza”, you’ll most likely think about a massive New York-style pizza. However, classic Neopolitan pizzas make for an excellent meal to go with rich and fruity Sangiovese wines. Before calling up your go-to New York pizza delivery service, consider how Sangiovese intensifies the flavors of sumptuous tomato sauces and fatty toppings like pepperoni.

But what, you may be wondering, if you’re a sucker for Margherita pizza? Read along for a comprehensive guide on how to pair wines with specific pizza flavors.

1. Margherita

Featuring classic ingredients such as cheesy mozzarella, tangy tomato, and fragrant basil, Margherita pizzas lend themselves to light and medium-bodied wines. Consider the zesty flavors of Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, or Rose.

What to avoid: heavy and bold wines

2. Pepperoni

A strong spice, pepperoni balances out well with rich, fruity wines with savory qualities and moderate acidity can cut through fat and saltiness. Pair pepperoni pizza up with wines like Sangiovese, Barbera, Nero d’Avola, or Nebbiolo.

What to avoid: lighter-style wines

3. Hawaiian

Whether you’re for or against pineapples on pizza, sweet wine can work to enhance the punch of this delectable fruit and counterbalance the saltiness of the ham. The high acidity of brands such as Reisling also makes for a great palate cleanser. You can also pair pineapple pizza with Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, or Fiano.

What to avoid: fruity red wines

4. Meatlovers

Abundant in intense meaty flavors, the best way to balance out a meat-lovers-style pizza is with a variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which can cut through the fat. You can also opt for other fruity wines such as Tempranillo, Shiraz, or Malbec.

What to avoid: white wines

5. BBQ Chicken

Smoky and sweet, barbecue sauce pairs perfectly with bright and fruity wines like Pinot Noir. Other wines such as Dolcetto, Merlot, Chardonnay, or Rose that are light-bodied and boast fine tannins can also enhance the flavors of chicken without being overpowering.

What to avoid: light-bodied white wines

6. Vegetarian

Don’t worry, veggie lovers—we haven’t forgotten you. When ordering veggie pizzas, pick a wine that doesn’t compete with every mix of components in your meal. You can try out wine such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, Fiano, and Rose, which boast gentle notes of citrus and herbs.


Though there aren’t any hard rules regarding junk food and wine pairings, noting that “what grows together goes together” can truly enhance your meal. As a rule of thumb, most Italian-style wines work best with your favorite pizza.

For one half of your perfect pairing, Manny and Olga’s is proud to be one of the best pizza chains in DC. Our authentic Italian and Greek menus can put a smile on any pizza lover’s face, especially with a glass of your favorite wine.