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The Classic Pairing: Host A Wine and Cheese Tasting

Tue, Nov 07, 23  |  tastings and pairings

It's as simple as it sounds. Invite your guests over to enjoy delicious cheese paired with appropriate wine. And please remember to Celebrate Responsibly.


You set your own limit, of course. If it's your first time hosting, five or six couples should be ideal.


Invitations are available at any party store and there are a number of sites that offer free online invitations. For a small group of twelve or less, it is really nice to mail invitations. If the event is for a large number of guests, it’s easy to create and manage online invitations.


Although the local selection of cheese has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, it’s still very important to shop first and know exactly what products are available at the time of your party. It will be easier to pair the wines once you have selected the cheeses.


Start at local specialty stores and do your best to support local business. Sometimes, however, to find exactly what you want you’ll have to resort to online shopping. There are lots of great online gourmet shops where you can find almost any cheese you want. And don't worry, cheese tolerates shipping very well.


Cheese will be the main course, but it’s a nice surprise for your guests to add a few additional items—assorted charcuterie with artisan bread and mustard, fruit, selected olives and pickled vegetables, and smoked fish like salmon and trout.


Have at least one red and one white wine. If you want to go all out, have a wine selection for each cheese. Colonial's wine staff will be happy to assist in appropriate pairings. That's our specialty and we’re passionate about providing this service. If you want to make your own selections, enter “wine & cheese pairings” on your search engine. You will get great suggestions. Just remember, not all wines recommended in many of these online articles are available in local markets.

The Glassware:

Good glassware is so important. Avoid plastic; this is not a tailgating event. Any brand of quality wine glass designed for red and white is all you need. Riedel is considered the Rolls Royce, but there are several other brands that offer great quality at a much more affordable price. Colonial can help select good, general purpose glasses that won't break the bank.

Colonial's Food & Wine Pairing Chart

You can also take a look at our pairing chart here for suggestions on some wonderful pairings for the most common wine varietals. 


  • Purchase your cheese in advance. It’s not going to go bad in your refrigerator. Buy it at least one week in advance of your party.

  • Finalize your wine selections and purchase them.

  • Select serving platters, cheese knives and serving utensils.

  • Get creative with presentation. Arrange the cheese on a large platter or cutting board and create label cards for each variety. Cards are a great way for your guests to know the name of each cheese.


Create a simple tasting program. List each cheese and provide a few facts about each: Origin, flavor profile, and which wine you suggest as the best pairing. Provide a brief description of the wine. Colonial's wine staff can assist with wine descriptions. Leave room for guests to make their own comments about the cheese, wine, and success of the pairing.

Here's an example:


  • Cheese needs to temper. Take it out of the refrigerator at least two hours before serving.

  • Prepare the wine bar. White wine should be in a wine chiller and maintained nicely chilled. Avoid serving reds too cold. They should be around 55° Fahrenheit.

  • Set your food table. Arrange the cheese and food trays so that they are easily accessible. Don't forget napkins and serving utensils.

  • Designate one of the wines as a welcome wine, preferably the white. Offer each guest a welcome glass as they arrive. This gives them time to all gather, visit and get acquainted and comfortable before the actual tasting begins.

  • Welcome your guests and begin the tasting. In your welcome, include a few remarks about how you want the tasting to proceed and encourage your guests to follow their program, enjoy the tasting, and learn.

Note: There’s a good possibility that a few non wine drinkers may be in your crowd. Having a craft beer selection and a bowl of your favorite cheese dip with some chips is a sure way to be remembered as a most considerate and thoughtful host.

By Clark Trim

Tags: wine and cheese