Pinot Noir BBQ Sauce Recipe

4.80 from 20 votes
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Pinot Noir BBQ Sauce Recipe is what happens when the combination of the delicate flavors of Pinot Noir wine and the bold flavors of BBQ sauce collide. This savory and slightly sweet sauce can be made with any fruity red wine.

A bottle of Pinot Noir BBQ Sauce

There are many styles of BBQ sauce from around the US, and what stands out is how they reflect the local cuisine and ingredients of the region.

Living and catering in Northwest wine country, we learned that adding elements of our cuisine around us makes for a unique homemade Barbecue Sauce. In this case it was Pinot Noir, which is abundant throughout Oregon.

Pairing Wine and BBQ

Pairing wine and BBQ can be tricky, especially when the wines are more delicate in nature, like Pinot Noir for example. To pair wines with a traditional bold Kansas City style barbecue sauce full of sweet tomato flavor and heat would have seriously overpowered these beautiful wines.

So when creating recipes or meals for wineries (as in the case of our catering experiences) the goal is to not overpower the guests’ palates with bold barbecue flavors that would have ultimately drowned out the wines.

For that reason, we decided to use Pinot Noir as a base to create a BBQ sauce. One that would not only mirror the flavors found in their wines, but also be mild enough so as not to upstage the wines. Other low tannin wines work well too, like Zinfandel for example.

Pinot Noir Wine BBQ Sauce Ingredients

We keep it simple with this sauce inspired by tomato based sauces from places like Kansas City.

  • Shallots and garlic for the underlying savory flavor.
  • Dried spices, like chili powder and dry mustard, for earthiness.
  • Wine for acidity and the fruit flavor. Many sauces use apple cider vinegar for similar reasons.
  • Ketchup, to add a sweet tomato element since most ketchup has some sugar in it already.

How to Make BBQ Sauce

The sauce starts similar to many BBQ sauces, and but is then layered with wine and mild seasonings.

  1. Start by sautéing up some shallots and garlic. Slowly sautéing allows those flavors to absorb into the liquids when added.
  2. Add dried spices to sauté so it slightly toasts.
  3. Pour some red wine, and reduce it slightly.
  4. Add ketchup and simmer. Voila! It’s really as simple as that.
  5. Store in a mason jar in the fridge.

This isn’t an in-your-face BBQ sauce. Instead it’s complex, delicious, and one that you can safely use to finish off your favorite proteins with, and serve with a lighter style wine, like a Pinot Noir.

How To Store BBQ Sauce

This sauce will last up to two months properly stored in an airtight mason jar or glass jar with a lid and in the refrigerator. It will thicken up when in the fridge, so adding a little water to the sauce next time you use it is fine if you want to thin it out.

Buy The Sauce

You can purchase a limited edition of this barbecue sauce and have it shipped right to you in the USA. This red wine barbecue sauce is made from red wine that was impacted from wildfires in 2020 and give a slightly smoky flavor to the sauce.

What to Use the Sauce For

Other BBQ Sauce Recipes

We also have some more great sauces featured in our cookbook Fire + Wine.

About Vindulge

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

cookbook cover

Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
5 out of 5 Stars
San Francisco Book Review

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

*This post was originally published in October, 2014, and updated in December, 2020, with additional details and photos (the recipe remains exactly the same).

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4.80 from 20 votes

Pinot Noir BBQ Sauce Recipe

A savory and balanced homemade BBQ sauce featuring wine and dried spices. Use a fruity wine like Pinot Noir for this unique BBQ sauce recipe.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 cups


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • cup diced shallots, (approximately 2 shallots)
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 cup Pinot Noir wine, (or other light bodied red wine)
  • 1 cup ketchup


  • Place olive oil and shallots into a saucepan set to medium heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Turn down heat if you see browning. Add garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Stir occasionally and watch out for browning.
  • Into the saucepan add the chili powder, cayenne pepper and dry mustard and stir constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the Pinot Noir and turn the heat up to high. Bring the wine to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 5 to 7 minute, stirring occasionally. You want the wine to reduce about 1/4 for flavor intensity.
  • Add ketchup and bring back up to a simmer again while stirring for about five minutes then remove from heat, let cool and place in a container.



Sauce will thicken when put into fridge. To thin out the sauce add one tablespoon water at a time and stir until desired thickness.
For added flavor and savoriness, add: 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Modified instructions – for more savoriness and heat. Step 4: Add ketchup, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar to the wine and bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place in a container. Yields about 2 cups of sauce.
This sauce will last up to two months stored in the refrigerator.


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1225mg | Potassium: 666mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 3092IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine: BBQ, Barbecue
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 349
Keyword: bbq sauce recipe, how to make bbq sauce, Pinot Noir BBQ Sauce, wine bbq sauce
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. 5 stars
    This makes a fantastic BBQ sauce. It is a crowd pleaser. My friends are now asking me for it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. This event must have been wonderful,the food and wine look divine!
    I was in the middle of making a sauce for slow cooker pulled pork, and I hit upon the idea of mixing some wine into my sauce recipe. I was hesitant to try it without looking on the internet to see if others had done it successfully first, and that is how I came upon your very interesting blog. It was a happy coincidence that the bottle of wine I had just happened to be a very nice Pinot Noir. My recipe is a little different than yours, but I’m positive the result will be delicious.
    Thank you for sharing your experience, and recipe!