Thought Leadership

Food Friendly Wines

Some wines more than others are “food-friendly.” It’s about time to give them the place they deserve.

The number of wine lovers has grown rapidly in recent years. There are plenty of wine fanatics, but even if you are not one of them, or if you happen to drink a glass of wine only every so often, you still probably have one or two grape varietals that you really love. And you probably know a thing or two about those same varietals, maybe even some historic facts.

There is a wide variety of wines available, each with different characteristics and special flavors. Wine is widely accepted around the world, with millions of bottles being opened for wine tastings to share their taste with those who want to enjoy a glass of wine, sometimes for the first time.

Wine may be a glamorous protagonist in the world-wide consumers’ theater, but have we forgotten one of its key roles in this glamorous show? What I mean is that for thousands of years now, we have been drinking wine while enjoying our food. A great role of wine was, is, and will continue to be, the accompaniment of our food. Yet many of today’s wines are not intended to accompany food, but rather are designed to provide an independent experience and satisfaction to the taster.

This fact makes sense since, as we said, wine is extremely popular and therefore has taken a prominent place among the products that consumers love. Therefore one could say that the role of wine is often one step ahead of the role of food, which explains why many wine-related experiences do not always involve food.

Wines have accompanied food ever since ancient times. In recent years, more and more people are rediscovering this great role of wine and researching which wines are suitable to accompany their daily meal, a formal dinner, a family gathering, or a special event.

The wine producers themselves are noticing this renaissance in wine interest. Winemakers all around the world are making wines that can add a special note to food, and some of them are even causing us to rethink our daily diet. We’re not talking about drinking to excess, but according to experts, drinking a small amount of wine daily can benefit our health.

When chosen wisely in relation to food, wine can emphasize the flavors of foods, and maximize our sensory delights. Think of it this way. In the piano of taste, wine and food are each different keys. And when the pianist plays the keys with his or her knowledge, then the whole gastronomic experience becomes a harmonious melody.

But are all wines food-friendly? Experts tell us that some wines that are very friendly to some foods, and others are not so much. The main idea behind wine and food pairing is that specific elements such as texture and taste, both in food and wine, actually interact with each other. Therefore when we find the right combination of these elements, our overall experience of taste and will be that much more enjoyable.

The acidity of wine seems to play an important role in whether a wine will be classified as food-friendly. Also, a wine’s specific alcohol content seems to play a big role in this too. The taste, texture, and aroma of the wine all have an impact. Of course, whether a wine is food-friendly really depends on the consumer himself. Although millions of pages have been written about which wine suits specific foods, we love what we love. And we will choose to accompany our meals with a specific type of wine, e.g., only white or only red wine, or a specific varietal, like chardonnay or cabernet.

I’m not trying to tell you which wine should be paired with which foods, but wine can be considered as a constant companion to food. Many people are accustomed to drinking wine as an aperitif, or as their main beverage, but this does not mean that we should forget that wine can be one of the most important factors in the enjoyment of our food – if it is chosen correctly.

Of course, this does not reduce the value of wine as a standalone product. On the contrary, by allowing it to accompany our food, we make it a place for it in our daily diet, and in fact, recognize it as a key factor in what we add to our personal diets.

In recent years, wine producers increasingly recognized that wine must find its rightful place in the daily diet. That is why they have turned to their focus to produce more food-friendly wines. Just look at wine labels today. More and more of them make the “food-friendly” claim. And so the wineries increase their customer base, and of course, profit as well. Wine – and everything about it, from its production to promotion- has been one of the most profitable industries in many countries of the world, for a long time. And the trend is only increasing!

Now is the time to rethink the role of wine in your own diet! It may be much bigger than you think!

Author: Maria Athanasopoulou is the founder of Respond on Demand Ltd and chair of the Board of Directors of the World Food Travel Association (WFTA). She serves as WFTA’s Certified Ambassador to Greece and is also a Master of Arts in Culinary Travel.

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Based mainly in Colorado. Loves cheese, rain, and starry nights. Can usually be spotted in the wild wearing a Spirit Jersey and balancing two cameras. Often laughs and cries at the same time. Barely survived one Master's program, but wants to do another.

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