Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Career > Her20s

How To Pair Wine and Cheese Successfully

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GWU chapter.

Reader, let’s be real- us college students will soon be trading in our red Solo cups filled with cheap beer from frat parties for wine glasses filled with Bordeaux from networking functions. As emerging real-world adults, it is imperative that we know how to navigate the world of wine- its flavor profiles, its categories, and perhaps most importantly, its best cheese pairings. The classic duo of wine and cheese has been around for hundreds of years, and for good reason- it is a delicious, sophisticated combo sure to impress any guest. All young college students should emerge from their studies knowing how to thrive in a professional setting- including fancy work functions. For this reason, I’ve compiled a list of wine pairing tips and tricks, as well as my favorite pairings, so you’ll never feel lost when scouring the wine aisle of the grocery store for a bottle to bring for your boss.

TIP 1: Identify the flavor profiles of your cheese

When picking your cheese, make a note of the different characteristics of your cheese. Is the cheese soft and creamy, or hard and bold? Is it young and more subtle, or aged and sharper? Identifying these flavor profiles is helpful when choosing a wine pairing that compliments the cheese. It’s also helpful to note the region the cheese came from, as that can also be a good characteristic to base a pairing off of. 

TIP 2: Identifying the characteristics of your wine

Your next step is choosing your wine. To do this, you must have a similar identification process to that of your cheese. Read the description on the bottle; does the wine have more fruit notes or more of an earthy taste? Consider whether the wine is described as more light and crisp or more full bodied and complex. Tannin levels of a wine is also important to consider. Tannins are a type of phenolic compound that are generally found on woody, flowering plants- such as grapes. A high tannin level can leave a bitter, residual taste on the tongue, while that taste is absent with low tannin wines. That taste is largely found in fuller-bodied red wines, and is an important consideration to take into account when pairing wines with cheeses.

TIP 3: Pair them together!

The easiest way to pair wine with cheese is to pair alike flavor profiles. Soft and creamy cheeses, like Brie and Camembert go well with soft, citrusy white wines like a dry Riesling, because they both have subtler flavor characteristics that flow well together. Alternatively, sharper, aged cheeses such as Parmesan and Cheddar pair well with a full bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon because their bold and rich flavors create a dynamic tasting experience that will never leave you bored. It’s also good to try to pair wine and cheese from the same region, such as a French wine with a French cheese, because they will have similar flavor characteristics. Alternatively, some wines can be best paired with opposite flavors. A sweet wine, like Port, can balance out a salty cheese, like Roquefort, to create a well rounded pairing.


  1. Champagne and Brie
  2. Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Sharp Cheddar
  3. Merlot and Gouda
  4. Chianti and Parmesan
  5. Sauvignon Blanc and Goat Cheese
  6. Chardonnay and Camembert
  7. Pinot Grigio and Mozzarella
  8. Moscato and Gorgonzola
  9. Rosé and Monterey Jack
  10. Cabernet Franc and Swiss

There you have it! You can use these recommendations as Bible, or use the tips listed above to successfully create a wine and cheese pairing. Happy hosting, and happy adulting!

From Overland Park, Kansas, Maggie is a sophomore at the George Washington University majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. She wants to practice constitutional law in the future and own 3 big fluffy dogs. Her happy place is Chatham, Massachusetts and there is nothing she loves more than wearing oversized sweatshirts.