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The Secret to Pairing Wine and Cheeses for a Dinner Party

If you love wine and cheeses as much as I do, it’s easy to get a little lost trying to figure out what type of vino goes with the best cheese. Here are some simple tips with pairing ideas to try this year.

With the rising popularity of charcuterie boards, I find it overwhelming to select the right cheeses.

From cheddar to brie and everything in between, I struggle when I’m faced with a huge selection at the market. And then I just start grabbing stuff so I can get out of there stat.

Do you do that too?

In today’s post, we’re going to simplify that process so you head to the market with a plan based on the wine you want to serve at your party.

From casual gatherings to elegant dinners, these wine and cheese pairing ideas will help you choose the perfect pairings for any occasion.

Did you know that certain cheeses pair better with particular wines than others?

Yes! Some wines can be very overpowering in flavor and need a stronger-tasting cheese to pair with it.

Here’s how to pair wine and cheeses for your next dinner party!

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formal garden with statues in winter with snow

The Importance of Pairing Wine and Cheeses Well

Pairing wine and cheeses well for a dinner party is important for several reasons:

Enhanced Flavor Experience

When paired correctly, wine and cheese can complement and enhance each other’s flavors, creating a more complex and enjoyable taste experience. The acidity in wine can cut through the richness of cheese, while the fat in cheese can soften the tannins in wine, resulting in a harmonious balance of flavors.

Complementing Different Cheese Types:

Different types of cheese have distinct flavor profiles and textures, and pairing them with the right wine can bring out their unique characteristics. For instance, soft cheeses like brie and camembert pair well with lighter-bodied wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir, while hard cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan complement fuller-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

Elevating the Dining Experience

A well-curated wine and cheese pairing can elevate the overall dining experience, making it more sophisticated and memorable. It demonstrates thoughtfulness and attention to detail, and it can spark conversation among guests as they explore the different combinations.

close up of wine and cheeses table in the formal garden with grocery store flowers, pinot noir, cheeses, and crackers

Catering to Diverse Preferences

By offering a variety of wine and cheese pairings, you can cater to the diverse preferences of your guests. Some may prefer lighter, fruitier wines, while others may enjoy bolder, more robust flavors. Having a selection allows everyone to find something they enjoy.

Creating a Sense of Occasion

A well-executed wine and cheese pairing can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your dinner party, making it feel more like a special occasion. It sets the tone for a more refined and memorable dining experience.

In essence, pairing wine and cheeses well is about creating a harmonious balance of flavors and textures that elevates the dining experience and pleases the palates of your guests. It’s an art form that can transform a simple gathering into a memorable culinary adventure.

close up of red wine, votive candle, mini gold lanterns and cheese board ready for a wine tasting - pairing wine and cheeses for a dinner party
Stacy Ling and Christopher Ling enjoying a wine tasting in the formal garden at sunset

How to Host a Wine and Cheese Party

What I love most about a wine and cheese party, especially around the holidays, is that there’s no set way to host one.

It’s a pretty laid-back event that is easy to pull together, even on a moment’s notice. We’ve hosted some casual ones with friends and family, but also enjoy doing them on our own.

Particularly since moving here because we enjoy them in the outdoor living spaces more than going out to dinner for date night

However, there are things you’ll want to consider before the party to make it that much easier to execute.

wine and cheese in the formal garden at sunset with red roses from the grocery store, on a bistro table with red wine

Here’s what you need to know.

  • Gather the supplies you’ll need for a wine and cheese party such as wine openers, cheese knives or slicers, wine glasses, small plates, beautiful cutting boards, and serving platters.
  • If hosting a party, set a time that’s early or late enough because most wine and cheese parties are not meant to be a full meal. So ideally, starting before dinner around 4 or 5 PM or after dinner around 7 or 8 PM is ideal.
  • And if you are pre-planning the party, try to pair the wine and cheeses well. If it’s an on-the-fly, impromptu kind of event, then it’s OK to wing it and grab what you can.
  • Choosing the best wines depends on your price point and what you love! From pinot noirs and cabernet sauvignons to chardonnay and rieslings, select red and/or white wines that you and your guests enjoy the most.
  • Go with 3-4 different types of cheeses that have different textures, appearances, and flavor varieties.
  • Include wine-tasting snacks like a beautiful charcuterie board with different fruits, meats, spreads, jams, crackers, etc. But you can also serve some light appetizers and desserts too.
close up of red wine and cheeses on wood cutting board with olives, raspberries and crackers.
close up of chacuterie board with different cheeses, fruits, crackers and olives
New year's eve food ideas with wine and cheeses party
flatlay of chacuterie board with brie, manchago, blackberries, orange slices, grapes, raspberries and crackers on granit countertop

The Best Cheeses to Serve at a Wine and Cheese Party

If shopping at the market is overwhelming with all the different cheeses, here are some ideas of what to pick up.

  • Gouda
  • Aged Cheddars
  • Gorgonzola
  • Havarti
  • Manchego
  • Goat Cheese
  • Swiss
  • Ricotta
  • Parmesan
  • Gruyere
  • Brie
  • Bleu Cheese
  • Feta
  • Fresh Mozzarella
pinot noir tasting station in the formal garden in the gazebo with cafe lights from aq lighting and red roses at sunset
close up of red wine tasting table for wine and cheeses party in the formal garden with grocery store flowers and christmas greenery
The garden statues are lit up as the sun sets in the formal garden of 1850 farmhouse
flatlay of wine and cheeses table with red roses, red wine in wine glass, cheeses, crackers and fruits on small bistro table

Pairing Wine and Cheeses: Simple Tips to Remember

When you understand some pairing basics, you can pull together some beautiful wine and cheese pairings with ease.

Here are some of pairing ideas and why they work well together.

  • Pair wines and cheeses with equal flavor intensity.
  • Bold red wines, like cabernet sauvignon, pair best with aged cheeses, like cheddar.
  • Pair sweeter wines with funky or stinky cheeses.
  • Sparkling wines pair best with soft, creamier cheeses like feta, brie, or ricotta.
  • Location location location – wines and cheeses from the same region pair well together.
  • And if you’re not sure what to choose? Go with a firm, nuttier cheese that is easier to pair with like swiss, gouda, and gruyere.
red wine tasting station for a wine and cheeses party in the gardens with candles, red roses and greenery at sunset

Wine and Cheese Pairing Ideas You Should Try

When in doubt, there are certain cheeses that pair with many types of wines, like brie, ricotta. The white and red lists below are some flavor combinations that we’ve enjoyed through the years, but are not an exhaustive list.

Do you have a favorite pairing of wine and cheese that you enjoy?

Ideas for Pairings with Red Wine

  • Cabernet Sauvignon pairs really well with gouda and aged cheddars.
  • Pinot Noir works well with blue cheese or goat cheese
  • Rosé pairs well with feta, mozzarella, and swiss.
  • Merlot and brie pair nicely as well.

Ideas for Pairings with Sparkling or White Wine

  • Chardonnay pairs well with Gruyere and Manchego, as well as brie, ricotta, and mozzarella
  • Prosecco is nice with parmesan, ricotta, brie, and mozzarella
  • Sauvignon Blanc or a sweet Riesling pair nicely with feta, brie, and ricotta.
  • Champagne is wonderful with brie, especially when it’s baked.
close up of cheese board with raspberries, oranges, manchego, brie and backberries with crackers on bistro table.
close up of wine and different cheese on wood cutting board with fruit and crackers on bistro table with candles, roses, and red wine in glasses
wine and cheeses tasting in the formal garden with pinot noir, red roses, crackers, grapes, fruits and cafe lights by AQ lighting

More About Pairing Wine and Cheese

What are your wine and cheese pairing ideas? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.

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Stacy Ling and Christopher Ling in the gardens

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Want to feel like you’re there?

Come join me in the formal garden where you can see this wine and cheese tasting station in real-time.

Watch it here.

Formal garden party with wine and cheese pairing for two with red roses, flowers pinot noir, cheeses and fruits on wood cutting board and candles at sunset

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More Wine and Cheese Party Ideas

If you love a good wine and cheese party, here are some more entertaining and decorating ideas you should try.

Simply click on the blog name on the photo below to see the post.

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formal garden with statues in winter with snow

Looking for More Supper Club Ideas?

Our supper club has been so much fun and we’ve covered so much over the last year.

Whether you are in a supper club or just want some dinner party theme inspiration, check out some of the themes we’ve hosted before.

And click here if you want to learn how to organize and host your own supper club. They are so fun to do and provide a great reason to gather regularly with family and friends.

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wine and cheese spread
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Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

About Me

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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as find ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes too.

Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging.

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Supper Club

Today’s post is being shared as part of my monthly supper club, where my friends and I gather each month to bring you a theme, decorating, entertaining, food, and drink ideas.

We’ve been having a great time with it for the last two years, and this month we are celebrating the holiday season with a wine and cheese party. You can get the menu here.

If you are coming from Rachel from the Ponds Farmhouse, welcome to my home. I’m thrilled you dropped by.

In case you are new here, I’m Stacy, a self-taught master gardener who lives and gardens in northern New Jersey, zone 6a.

We recently moved to a beautiful 1850 Farmhouse with 10 acres of gardens, sculptures, and statues.

I’ve been gardening for over 20 years and enjoy helping beginner gardeners find their inner green thumb, as well as discover a love for all things plants and flowers. I love to bring the outdoors inside my home too.

And one of our favorite things to do on a weekend is tour the property with a beautiful bottle of wine and soak in the different outdoor living spaces and garden rooms.

I mean, what better way to enjoy the gardens year-round than with a little wine and cheese? And we don’t care how cold it is either. It is so much fun!

I hope you enjoy visiting my home today and would love for you to come back so we can grow stuff and create beautiful spaces together.

Thanks so much for dropping by my home and gardens today. Next up in our wine and cheese party is Michele from Vintage Home Designs.

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  1. Your wine and cheese party is perfect Stacy! It’s absolutely beautiful in your garden. Thank you for including me this month in supper club, you ladies always have the best ideas!

  2. This was such a fun theme! Love all the tips you shared. Pinned so I can refer back to all your suggestions for pairings.

  3. Your table is so stunning Stacy. As always you inspire me. I know nothing about pairing wine and cheese. Thank you for the great tips.

  4. What a beautiful setting Stacy. It’s the perfect spot for wine and cheese. Absolutely magical!