Perfect pairings conversations usually address the best food to enjoy with your wine. But since we are officially in full summer swing, here’s some advice for how to pair your wine with, well, your pool. So grab your favorite bottle and a couple GoVino’s, and let’s head poolside.
DO invest in an Ice Bucket. Get a large, sturdy, plastic ice bucket, or better yet, a giant Yeti or similar-type cooler, and keep it shaded if possible. Buy a big enough bucket or cooler to hold plenty of ice and plenty of bottles of sparkling, white, rosé, and red wine—yes, red wine, more on that later.
DO eat all day long. Offer easily accessible food options and heavily weigh the idea of eating and then pool-partying. If you are hosting and you have all the food ready when your guests arrive, you can encourage them to grab a plate and chow down first—with a glass of bubbly. And eat inside to avoid a yellow-jacket invasion.
DO pay attention to the sunscreen you use. You should, of course, be using sunscreen, but preferably one without all the tropical aromas—unless, that is, you enjoy tasting coconut in your strawberry-laced rosé. If the air is thick with the scent of tropical-fruit-scented partygoers basking in the hot summer sun, then every time you take a sniff of wine, you’ll think it smells like coconuts and sweet cream. Sure, it doesn’t sound so bad, but sacre bleu!
DO make a playlist. A pool party is not a party without a solid playlist. And it should include “Red, Red Wine,” by Neil Diamond; “Elderberry Wine,” by Elton John; and, naturally, “Champagne Supernova,” by Oasis and whatever Yacht Rock playlist floats your boat.
DO Hydrate. Offer beverages beyond just wine and drink plenty of water. This is a must. Two glasses of water for every full glass of wine. Mineral water is not the best because it often contains sodium. You need to keep hydrating because the sun is beating down and the alcohol is setting in, and drinking plenty of water helps keep all these things in balance. At the pool, you should always be in pursuit of balance.
DON’T drink wine out of glass. Get the GoVino dishwasher-safe plastic wine glasses or the stainless steel, stemless wine tumblers you get at concerts—the ones that help maintain the temperature of whatever liquid you pour in them.
DON’T fret over food pairings. You might be studying for your WSET Level 3 exam, but really, it’s okay if the potato chips are flavored with truffle or jalapeno. Let it go. It’s fine if your best friend is enjoying a chocolate popsicle with her rosé. Truffle chips? Chocolate popsicles? Sounds like a good pool party.
DON’T forget the wine! Seems obvious, right? But when guests arrive and you realize you chose “pickup” instead of “delivery” on DoorDash, you will not be laughing then. Get the wine a day or days ahead of the party.
DON’T buy into Rosé All Day. Sorry, pink winemakers! But pool parties need a mix. So, mix it up — bubbly, white, and rosé. Have some of each.
DON’T go cheap. Just because you’re drinking at a pool party, and just because some of the pool water may accidentally end up in your wine glass, doesn’t mean you should be drinking cheap wine. Saving that $90 rosé for a rainy day? Don’t. Think opulent $50+ Chardonnay is just for special dinners? Think of how great you’ll feel drinking that delicious Chard while going blind staring at the sun’s reflection off those calm pool waters.
DON’T exclude red. Red wine at the pool is awesome — IF— it is properly chilled. You need A TON OF ICE or a solid Yeti-type cooler to keep the wines cold all day. And your favorite red wine, on ice, will warm up in the sun, and typically, when the wine is that cool, you’ll be tasting a lot of the winemaking if the red was aged in oak — think toasty graham-cracker oak, chocolate, and baking spice notes. Maybe some blue fruit too. It’s like you’re enjoying a glass of liquified blueberry pie drizzled in chocolate while floating in a giant unicorn.
DON’T stay in the pool the whole time. If you have room for shuffleboard or cornhole, put it all out and keep the party interesting—and moving.