Home Industry News Releases Masters of Taste Unite to Bring Wine and Barbeque Pairings to Life

Masters of Taste Unite to Bring Wine and Barbeque Pairings to Life


Together Winemaker Joe Wagner and BBQ Champion Chris Lilly Elevate Wine and Grilling Just in Time for Summer Entertaining

Napa Valley, California (May 17, 2022) – Today, 5th generation winemaker Joe Wagner, renowned for leading luxury wine brands like Belle Glos, Napa Valley Quilt, Elouan and BOEN, announces his partnership with 17-time World BBQ Champion, Chis Lilly to launch their Masters of Taste Program. The duo is elevating wine and BBQ pairings, kicking off right in time for summer grilling and continuing deep into tailgating season.  Masters of Taste elevates retail promotions through in-store displays of fast-growing luxury wines, heavy social media support, unique pairings and recipes, and large-scale events in the America’s top football markets.

“I’ve been a wine lover for over 20 years and have always enjoyed a nice glass alongside my barbequed meals,” shared Chris Lilly. “I’m thrilled to team up with Joe Wagner to take BBQ to the next level of appreciation.  I hope my fans have as much fun enjoying the food and wine pairings as I had developing these recipes with Joe.”

As a seasoned BBQ Master, Chris Lilly is the 4th generation pitmaster at the famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur, Alabama, and head chef of the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking team. Lilly is the winner of 17 World BBQ Championships and a 2016 inductee into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. Lilly also holds numerous records including five Memphis in May World Grand Championships.  He is a celebrated chef of the National Pork Board and serves as a spokesperson for both Kingsford charcoal and Yeti coolers.

“Since becoming a winemaker, I’ve always carried the ‘Go With Your Palate’ philosophy – a simple way of empowering people to drink what they enjoy, and to not be swayed by the sommeliers and critics of the world – which has led me to this exciting partnership with Chris Lilly,” says Wagner. “Although wine typically has not been paired with barbequed food, I wanted to show that wine has a role in elevating many foods that you may not expect it to be paired with. Wine pairings are all about what the consumer likes, and through this partnership with Chris, I couldn’t be happier to provide approachable pairings for wine – and BBQ – enthusiasts to enjoy.”

Grilling has the amazing ability to bring food and wine closer together. Today, according to the U.S. Census, 79.1 million Americans have grilled in 2021, while 75% of Americans own an outdoor grill or smoker. Along with transforming simple ingredients through char, smoke, and caramelization, the cooking method also impacts elements in wine such as tannins, oak, and fruit, creating opportunities for incredible flavor combinations. While smoke’s pungent aromas and flavors can quickly overwhelm a subtle wine, they can also enhance and complement the character of others. According to a Gallup poll completed in 2021, currently 31% of Americans say their go to drink is wine, coming in right behind beer as the number one drink of choice. Wagner and Lilly believe that Joe’s fruit-expressive winemaking style is a perfect complement to barbequed foods.

For more information on the Masters of Taste program, and to find exclusive recipes please visit MastersofTaste.com, and stay up to date on social by following @CopperCaneWines.

About Copper Cane Wines & Provisions

Founded in 2014 by Joseph Wagner, Copper Cane Wines & Provisions has redefined the modern winery with their unique approach to the winemaking process. When grapevine canes begin to lignify, or turn to winter hardy wood, they take on a copper hue. This color shift signals that the green character and harsh tannins have been purged from the vine (and therefore the resulting wine). Only then are the grapes ready for harvest. For Copper Cane’s founder, Joseph Wagner, this patience is essential. While most growers pick their grapes as sugar content hits a certain mark, Wagner waits for physiological maturity to ensure consistency year to year. The result is a wine full of rich, ripe fruit flavors—a style Wagner and his family have always loved. Representative brands include Belle Glos, Böen, Elouan, and Napa Valley Quilt. For more information, visit www.CopperCane.com.

About Chris Lilly

Chris Lilly is a chef/pitmaster and 4th generation partner at the world-famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur, Alabama. Lilly is head chef of the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team, the winner of 17 World BBQ Championships in meat categories, and the only pitmaster to hold a record of 5 Memphis in May World Grand Championships. Chris is a 2016 inductee into the Barbecue Hall of Fame and in 2020, awarded the Legends of Barbecue Pitmaster Award by the National Barbecue Association. Lilly has appeared at the James Beard Foundation and been a guest chef for fifteen consecutive years at the Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Lilly has appeared on “The Today Show” fourteen times, “The Martha Stewart Show,” “ESPN College GameDay,” “ESPN College Football Live,” and numerous Food Network programs. His cooking has been featured in Southern Living, People, Food and Wine, Food Network Magazine, The New York Times, Men’s Health, The Wall Street Journal, and Maxim Magazine. Lilly has authored BIG BOB GIBSON’S BBQ and FIRE &SMOKE.

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