If you love to host dinner parties for your friends and family members, one of the best ways to elevate the experience is by pairing locally made wines with the dishes you serve. Whether you prefer white or red wines, the right glass can bring out the unique flavors of the meal, helping everyone enjoy the night. If you're new to pairing drinks and dishes, here are several strategies to follow.

How Can You Learn to Pair Wine? 

1. Pick a Bottle You Enjoy

Before you try to match subtle notes in the wine with the entree and side dishes you plan to serve, start by creating a list of bottles that you prefer. This can help you plan the dinner, as you don't want to purchase something you may not like. For example, if you usually don't like red wine, you probably won't enjoy it regardless of how it is paired. Once you have a few bottles, you can use the flavors to help you pick what you plan to serve for dinner.

2. Consider the Main Flavor

red wine

The goal of pairing is to match the flavors of a wine to prominent notes in the food that your guests are eating. For example, if you plan to serve chicken that you roast with lemon juice, the prominent citrus flavors will match perfectly with a similarly fragrant and fruity white wine. Alternatively, if you are planning to serve risotto with mushrooms, the earthiness of the dish can complement a rich red wine, such as pinot noir.

3. Match the Acidity 

Another way to create a balanced pairing is by using the acidity of the foods to find a complementary bottle. If the acidity matches, neither item overpowers the other, which creates a balanced meal. For example, a strongly acidic dish, such as a salad that uses fresh feta or goat cheese, pairs well with a sauvignon blanc. On the other hand, if you want to serve a mild dish with minimal acidity, such as pork or veal, opt for Merlot. 

4. Complement the Region

While many people focus on the flavors of the dish and bottle to create a meal pairing, a unique and fun option is to pick items from the same geographic location. Often, the culture and tradition of the area influences everything from the wine to the food, so you can expect similar flavors when pairing. For example, if you plan to serve brie cheese as an appetizer, pair this with a riesling, as both hail from northeastern France.


If you want to purchase some delicious, local wine bottles, contact Bella Vista Winery in Maryville, IL. This winery creates and sells a variety of delicious white and red wines. They also offer wine tasting events so that you can sample some of their vintages, as well as an event space and an in-house restaurant. Call (618) 228-9111 to speak with a team member, and visit the website to browse their wine menu.