Food & Wine - The Guidelines

Food and wine selection

Food and wine matching is an excellent opportunity to sell wine. It can create a more enjoyable experience for your customers as well as encourage them to trade up.

However, the whole subject of food and wine matching can be a minefield to navigate. The most important thing to remember is there are no set rules – and the customer is always right, even if they like drinking vintage Port with oysters. That said, here are a few simple guidelines that will help you create your own perfect matches:

Match the Weight

Match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. Heavy dishes like braised red meat casserole will need a full-bodied wine. Light dishes like a salad needs a more delicate light-bodied wine.

Match the Intensity

Foods that are intensely flavoured can overpower the flavour of wines, and intensely flavoured wines can overpower lightly flavoured foods. Try to match the intensity of flavours in both so that you can taste both the wine and the food, without one overpowering the other.

Match Acids with Acids

If you have a dish with strong acidic content such as pasta with tomato sauce or a salad with vinaigrette, match the food with a wine that has high acidity too. The acid in the food will balance the wine, making the wine taste fruitier and less acidic.


In the same way that lemon cuts through the oiliness of smoked salmon, acidic wines work well with oily and fatty foods by cutting through the richness.

Chilli Heat

When you put chilli heat and tannin together, they accentuate each other, making the food seem spicier and the wine more tannic and alcoholic. Chilli heat can also make a wine taste less sweet and fruity.


Sweetness in food can make a wine taste drier, so when it comes to desserts, it’s a good idea to make sure the wine is sweeter than the food. Sweet wines are also a good contrast for salty foods, for example, try pairing blue cheese with Sauternes (a sweet dessert wine from Bordeaux in France).

Local food likes local wine

In many regions of the world, traditional foods have developed alongside the local wine styles, which is why regional dishes are often best paired with wine from the same region. Try for example, Chianti with a big bowl of Tuscan pasta, or dry Fino Sherry with salty tapas.

If you’re interested in learning more about food and wine, then get in touch with our Training Team.
28th May 2014

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Drink Aware - know the facts