What Wine Goes With Sushi- Updated 2024

As a server, bartender, and sommelier, I’ve spent over a decade selling wine and sushi. And, as the beverage director of one of the country’s greatest sushi restaurants, I’ve sampled a wide range of wines with sushi. Sushi night, in my humble opinion, is the best night of the week.

To be honest, you could go insane worrying about the minute minutiae of each menu item in your cart. Although wine matching works best when all of the tastes and textures are in mind – the cut of fish, the cooking method (or lack thereof), etc. – We believe in keeping things simple when it comes to sushi.

Tips For Pairing Wine With Sushi

  • Because of their popularity, they are a rather straightforward combination to come through. However, it is not always a surefire pairing—there are fantastic ones, but there are also combinations that should not be paired at all. 
  • Sushi, like wine, is not a one-flavour cuisine; both sushi and wine have many sorts and variations. Food can be better, particularly when matched with complimentary beverages.
  • Sushi is technically vinegared rice wrapped in seaweed with raw fish, but the term has come to include all rolls, maki, and sashimi. Consider the delicate nature of sushi and the varied flavours when combining wine with it.
  •  The finest wines with sushi, according to the wine and food pairing secrets, will be light to medium-bodied wines with medium to high acid and lower alcohol. This is to ensure that the sushi and wine are in harmony and neither overpowers the other. 
  • Furthermore, the technique, type of fish used, other toppings, and sauces all have a role in sushi wine pairing, so it’s not as limited as you may assume.

Top 5 Red Wines To Pair With Sushi

You’re in luck if you like wine and sushi. I offer the ideal wine for every wine enthusiast: red, white, and rose. When deciding on the finest wine to pair with sushi, consider the diversity of components utilised in the dishes. Make use of this cheat sheet to select the best sushi wine pairing. If you’ve ever wondered how to combine sushi and wine flawlessly, this is the greatest wine and sushi combo you need to know.

1. Rioja

Rioja, Spain produces tempranillo-based wines that are often sophisticated and affordable. Many of them are aged for many years before being released. One of my favourite wineries is Lopez de Heredia. In Japanese restaurants, I usually pair their wines with sautéed or grilled foods. Miso or sake kasu-marinated Black cod, in particular. Salmon, toro, unagi, and anago are also good matches.

2. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir

Don’t despair, red wine enthusiasts. You may have heard that white wine should be paired with fish, but some rules are designed to be violated. The secret is to choose a light-bodied red wine with low tannins, such as Pinot Noir. Strong tannins can make fish taste metallic, which you obviously want to avoid. Red Burgundy (an Old-World Pinot Noir) or New-World Pinot from a cool-climate region like Oregon is your best bet, especially when paired with tuna or salmon.

3. Gamay

Gamay is known for being juicy, mellow, and low in tannins. Beaujolais is the most well-known location for producing gamay. These wines range from easy and fruity (Beaujolais Nouveau) to serious and sophisticated (Beaujolais Grand Cru) (Beaujolais Cru). This is my number one recommendation for red wine and sushi. Serve with toro, unagi, and black cod. It also goes well with other meals found in Japanese restaurants, such as netsuke and Taranaki.

4. Barbera 

Many of the qualities of fine red Burgundy can be found in Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba. They are also generally less expensive. These herbaceous, fruity reds complement fried fish and shellfish perfectly. It tastes ‘Juicy’ due to the light tannin and high acidity. The majority of Barbera you’ll discover comes from Italy and has stronger herbal characteristics.

5. Malbec                                                                 

Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, can pack a punch. They’re usually semi-sweet and smooth, with relatively mild tannins. Malbecs pair nicely with grilled unagi sushi and fried blackfish. Dragon rolls and rich, spicy sushi rolls are also options. However, if you enjoy rich red wines, malbec can be a good sushi partner.

Top 5 White Wines That Go With Sushi 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. And the wine you choose to accompany your sushi will be determined by the type of sushi you’re eating. I’ve selected the most prevalent white wine grape varieties, as well as certain red wine grape kinds, that I believe combine well with sushi. I’ve also included which seafood and preparations pair well with each wine.

1. Sparkling Wine
Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is an excellent choice for pairing with sushi. Bubbles hit all of the wine pairing elements—lighter body, decent acidity, lower alcohol—but the effervescence also serves as a terrific palate cleanser. Champagne is an excellent match for sushi. To avoid overpowering the taste, I would stick to non-vintage Champagne. Champagne goes well with sushi topped with ikura (salmon roe) or tobiko (flying fish roe). I’m a little obsessed with the Champagne bubbles that explode with each mouthful, as well as the roe popping.

2. Riesling

When it comes to wine and sushi pairings, Riesling is always at the top of the list. This versatile white wine is notable for its bold flavours and ability to mix nicely with a variety of dishes. And, because of its acidity and complementary sweetness, Riesling is an excellent match with sushi.

3. Grüner Veltliner
Grüner Veltliner

Grilled eel has a smoky, caramelised flavour. Pair your unagi (eel) roll or dragon roll (eel with avocado and hoisin-bbq sauce) with Grüner Veltliner or Gewürztraminer, a light and zesty white wine with notes of lime, grapefruit, and white pepper.

4. Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio

If you’re eating light, lean fish like sashimi, nigiri, or make, pair it with a light-bodied white wine like Albario, Pinot Grigio, or Chablis – a very light, unoaked Chardonnay made in France. Bright Cellars’ Dead Stars and Black Holes Pinot Grigio are perfect for this combo! This deliciously crisp white grow sustainably in California. It has notes of grapefruit, lemon, and tropical pineapple that will pair beautifully with the light fish flavours.

5. Chardonnay

Choose a vibrant Chardonnay with woody flavours for sushi, sashimi, or other makes made with white fish. For fatty fish like salmon, a dry white like Mâcon or Chablis may be preferable. A meal of fish will pair well with a floral white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc or a Riesling.


Q1. What kind of wine goes well with sushi?

Ans. Red and white wine, both! It depends on the type of wine you prefer, the type of sushi you like, and the richness of the fish. Riesling pairs well with spicy sushi rolls. A buttery California roll, on the other hand, goes well with a bright, acidic wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Gruner Veltliner.

Q2. Is red or white wine better with sushi?

Ans. Red wines, in particular, can overshadow sushi and make clean-flavoured fish taste nasty. For these reasons, I normally avoid cabernet sauvignon and Nebbiolo unless they are quite old. Most whites, roses, and sparkling wines complement sushi and sashimi.

Q3. What drink pairs best with sushi?

Ans. There are numerous drinks available, but the ideal drink to pair with sushi is one that complements its flavour. Furthermore, by matching parallels in their acidity and weight to their texture. Avoid any combo that either competes with texture or dominates the palate balance.

Q4. Does any red wine go with sushi?

Ans. Yes, however, while red wine is not the favoured wine with sushi, there are several possibilities if you enjoy red wine. Sushi will pair well with a red wine with low tannins and medium acidity. A young, juicy Pinot Noir will suffice. The Gamay grape, famous in Beaujolais, is also a good match for sushi.

Also Read: