Solving a Problem: When Wine Won’t Match Food

Not everyone is a wine connoisseur – including those who are frequent restaurant diners, and even those who spend time browsing online wine websites. While you may pride yourself on having a nose and a palate for picking out hints of oak and grass in your bottle of choice, there is going to be a time where you can’t figure out how to match food with wine. The truth is, some food will stump you, as will some wine.

If a lot of what you do is guesswork and taste-testing to ensure something works together, it’s essential to know there is a method to the madness. When wine doesn’t match, use this list below as a ‘go-to’ for solving the problem.

Sweet Wine

Is that wine that arrived in the mail from an online wine website a little too sweet? Rather than worry about how you’re going to create a successful pairing, we’ve got the answer. Any sweet wine is going to work well with sweet desserts, honey, chocolate, and dried fruit. Oddly enough, sweet wine also goes well with parmesan and blue cheese. Therefore, sweet wine is the perfect accompaniment to a harvest board you prepare for your nearest and dearest, or to go with dessert at a restaurant.

Red Wine

As a rule of thumb, any red wine you see on a restaurant menu or for sale by an online wine provider is going to be quite heavy. Of course, there are lighter red wines, but even ‘light’ is no match to a Riesling or Italian dry wine. If you find yourself with a high-alcohol or very oaky red wine, pairing is easier than you may have thought. On the nights you plan on cooking a stew, beef, or any hearty and meaty meal, it’s time to crack open a bottle of red.


While traditionally, champagne is a celebratory wine you bring out on special occasions, it still doesn’t mean you won’t be pairing food with it. After all, a champagne breakfast is a great way to start the day. However, what do you match with it? Because Champagne tends to be light, it’s suitable for delicate flavours and ingredients such as seafood. You can drink it with canapes, pastries, and even oysters and crayfish.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a firm favorite for many people. It frequently appears on restaurant menus, while also having large dedicated sections on online wine provider websites. This wine is so popular because it is, in a word, versatile. You can drink it with a summery salad, seafood, risotto, chicken, and even nutty dishes. Because it features citrus undertones, it’s like squeezing fresh lemon on every meal you consume.


The best thing about Riesling wine is the variety. You can opt for sweet, dry, and everything in between. Therefore, it’s an excellent option for spicy or herb-infused meals that require something light and refreshing to relieve the intense flavour combinations on your tongue. As a rule of thumb, Riesling will pair with ginger, garlic, coriander, chilli, and pepper, as long as it’s low alcohol and of the dry variety.

When you find that your wine of choice doesn’t match your food, it’s time to put on your thinking cap. Not every wine you buy from an online wine provider or at your local restaurant is going to suit every dish you eat. Therefore, take note of these matches above to help make the process a little easier.