Enjoy an all-American summer tradition—the backyard barbecue—with great company and a bottle of Gnarly Head wine.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015
Photo Courtesy of the Gnarly Head

In the dog days of summer, something is cooking from coast to coast. Backyard barbecuing is an annual tradition that some might say is as American as apple pie and Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel. Across the country, from big-city parks to small communities, like Lodi, California, the hometown of Gnarly Head, grilling outdoors is all about savoring the warm weather, bringing friends and family together, and enjoying seasonal goodness. After all, summer heat pairs perfectly with an impeccably grilled meal and a glass of Gnarly Head.

Inspired by America’s grape, Zinfandel, Gnarly Head takes its name from the old-world tradition of growing vines without trellises, producing unruly "head trained" forms. These heritage vines date back some 80, 90, and even 100 years and result in scant clusters and smaller berries that give Old Vine Zinfandel its intense flavor. Building on its house style of big, bold and fruit-forward wine, Gnarly Head has a crowd-pleasing portfolio of wines including a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and the newly introduced Authentic Red and Authentic White blends, sure to satisfy the thirst of any backyard BBQ guest.

Now when locals start firing up their grills this summer, Gnarly Head is fueling the flames of some good-spirited competition with its Sixth Annual Gnarly Head Rib Challenge. Backyard pitmasters are invited to show off their culinary skills and creativity for a chance to win ultimate bragging rights and $5,000. Judged by an expert panel, submissions will be assessed based on originality, taste appeal, wine pairing, and simplicity. Submit your best recipe for grilled pork ribs paired with a Gnarly Head wine before Labor Day at www.gnarlyribsrecipe.com. Get the competitive edge with these grilling tips from Gnarly Head.


Toss a bottle of Old Vine Zin in the ice bucket for a refreshing red. The bold flavor and rounded tannins pair well with grilled meats, like steak, chicken, and of course, pork ribs.


Scrub grates with a wire bristled brush or abrasive pad and then oil them to keep food from sticking and produce professional-looking grill marks. Reapply oil before every cookout.


Make sure meat is fully defrosted and allow it to become room temperature for about a half-hour before it hits the grill. (You can wait with a glass of Gnarly Head.)


Pre-heat your grill and then keep the lid up for thin cuts that grill quickly and down for thicker cuts that need more time to cook.


Achieve pro-style grill marks by turning the meat a one-quarter turn before flipping.


Spray meat every hour to keep it moist; use apple juice for pork and poultry dishes.


In case of flare ups, have baking soda nearby for minor grease fires and a fire extinguisher as a precaution.

Submit your best recipe for grilled pork ribs paired with a Gnarly Head wine before Labor Day at www.gnarlyribsrecipe.com.