Pinot Noir Barbecue Sauce


Wine, food and travel writer Mary Cressler and her personal pitmaster Sean Martin of Vindulge originated  this recipe, which we adapted slightly to showcase Bells Up’s Titan Pinot Noir. The recipe is ideal for warmer year  Pinots, notably Bells Up’s 2021 Jupiter which has the optimal flavor intensity to enhance the fruitiness of the sauce. Learn more about Bells Up Winery in Oregon by reading Linda Kissam’s article here on and visit

Enjoy this savory and balanced homemade BBQ sauce featuring Bells Up’s 2021 Jupiter Pinot Noir and dried spices.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dried onion flake* -or- 1 large onion finely diced
2 teaspoons garlic powder*-or- 4 fresh cloves finely diced
4 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups Bells Up 2018 Titan Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (or 2021 Jupiter Pinot Noir)
2 cups ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar


* Sara’s Note: Of course you can use fresh onions and garlic! Sara’s just lazy. All the spices used here are from Penzey’s.



  1. Rehydrate onions with water, then cook in olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan for approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper and dry mustard. Stir to combine and continue to stir while cooking an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Titan or Jupiter Pinot Noir and raise heat to high. Bring mixture to a boil and stir occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes to reduce the pinot by a third to intensify the flavor.
  4. Add ketchup and bring back to gentle boil again while stirring.
  5. Add in the brown sugar, tasting after each addition. Ours required 3 tablespoons to balance the heat; you might prefer less sugar and more heat.
  6. After approximately 5 minutes remove from heat, allow to cool then place in a jar or container (do NOT put the sauce in squeeze bottles; it will be too thick to flow out of the top and will jettison the cap across the room at the first squeeze. Or so we’ve heard.)


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