Wine 101: What to Know About Food and Wine Pairings

wine 101

Why consider the wine selection at your next meal?

This year, wine sales and consumption are expected to increase.

Whether you’re trying to create a nice atmosphere for yourself or with others, expect to pair a wine with the food being cooked. This is, of course, not as simple as it sounds.

Different wines and different foods work well with others. It’s important to understand the different wines out there, and how to create thought-out pairings.

You must also understand wine storage, however, because wine coolers are also essential for the pairing to work. Wine coolers allow you to bring out the flavor of the wine, while further maintaining it for future use.

This is where the Wine 101 lesson comes in. With the following information in mind, you will create a memorable wine and food experience, even if it’s just to treat yourself.

Wine 101

1. Essential Wine Styles

When discussing the pairing of wine and food, it’s important to first understand the different types of wine out there.

To successfully pair wine and food, both elements should be elevated. One should not detract from the other; wine and food must complement each other.

Wine shopping can feel quite overwhelming, however, due to the increasing number of wineries out there. Sifting through the wine aisle can take forever, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

By using this knowledge about the important wine staples, your next meal should be a hit.

Sparkling Wine

While there are so many options out there, sparkling wines are actually created through the most technical and time-consuming processes out there.

Fortunately enough, they’re also versatile with any food.

Light White Wine

The most-sold wines in the world are actually the light white wines.

They’re light and easy to drink, perfect for most foods. Especially noted for aperitifs and for seafood pairings.

Full-Bodied White Wine

Red wine lovers will also love the full-bodied white wines.

The special wine-making techniques work to create a rich smooth taste with a subtle creaminess. Therefore, any heavy or rich food will work best with these wines.

Sweet White Wine

The most aromatic are the sweet white wines, which come from some of the oldest wine grapes in the world.

The sweetness can go a long way in pairing with spicy foods.


The winemaker’s wine is the rosé because the wine is dyed with red wine grapes.

Ranging from dry to sweet, these are best served chilled for warmer-climate cuisines.

Light Red Wine

The most coveted wines in the world are the light red wines, due to their smaller amounts of tannins.

Meaning, they won’t dry out your mouth and will go nicely with fish or light meats.

Medium Red Wine

The food wines are the medium red wines because they can balance flavor and acidity.

This flavorful balance is what allows them to work with a wide variety of foods, as the perfect mid-week wine.

Full-Bodied Red Wine

The deepest, darkest, and most tannic wines are the full-bodied red wines.

While the tannins dry out our mouths, they also create a palate cleansing effect. This is why they’re perfect for red meats or rich vegetables, or on their own.

Dessert Wine

The boldest and most intense wines are the dessert wines.

Created in the 1800s when sweet wines were the most popular, these can range from dry to sweet. Their dessert pairings should not be sweeter than the wine itself, however.

2. Pairing Guidelines

After understanding the 9 wine styles, the next chapter in Wine 101 is on pairing wine and food together.

Generally speaking, the best combinations involve opposing taste profiles.

By using the following wine and food pairing guidelines, you can become a sommelier for your next great meal at home.

Highlight the Wine

The point of a wine and food pairing is to bring out the best characteristics of the wine.

Focus on what you’re trying to emphasize at the meal and make sure the wine is shining, not fighting, against the food.

Bitter Balance

Our taste buds are very sensitive to bitterness, so never pair bitter food with bitter wine.

If you want to balance a wine that is rich in tannins, look for foods with fat, umami or salt for balance.

Sweetest Wine

For the most successful food and wine pairing, always make sure that the wine is sweeter than the food.

If wine is less sweet than the meal, it will taste bitter and tart. For example, pair a Port wine with dessert, for a balance that is sure to shine.

Tart Wine

It is also important for the wine to have more acidity than the food it is accompanying.

If it’s not, the wine will taste flabby. In this case, a vinaigrette salad dressing would taste better with a brut Champagne than a buttery Chardonnay.

Earthy Wine

On their own, old world wines will taste more earthy and tart.

When paired with something even more earthy, however, the wine will taste more fruity. To achieve this balance, a nice food option would include mushrooms for that earthy taste.

3. Wine Coolers

The last lesson in Wine 101 is about the importance of wine coolers, which will make you want to buy one.

Wine must be stored correctly to retain its taste, so wine storage is very important for wine and food pairings.

The following wine storage guidelines will help you store wine properly, so your next pairing is successful and delicious:

  • Darkness is essential for red wines to deepen in flavor.
  • Each wine has ideal temperatures to maintain flavor.
  • Store open wines on their side to keep bottle free of air.
  • Never put wine on top of fridges to prevent vibrations.
  • Humidity helps to keep air out.
  • Each wine has shelf lives for the best flavor.
  • Know your own collection, for organization and shopping purposes.


After this great introduction to Wine 101, you should know that a successful food and wine pairing will depend on a variety of factors.

A strong equation must compare the type of wine to the food being paired, while also regulating the wine flavor.

If you need more information, check out the helpful wine coolers/refrigerators affiliate site here, because wine storage is necessary for any wine lover.

What’s your favorite wine and food pairing? Do you have any wine advice for new wine lovers?

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