Which Wines Are Best Served at a Party?

San Diego is known to have a variety of local wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms.

This means choosing the best wine to serve at a party can be challenging with all the choices available. While we do not sell wine from our San Diego wine cellar, Chateau 55, we know that many do. And while we’re mainly a wine storage facility, we have a bit of experience when it comes to knowing which wines go with which foods. So below we’ve compiled some tips you might like to follow if you’re having some trouble choosing wine for your next event.

What you choose, however, will depend on the foods that you will serve. Read on for tips from our San Diego wine cellar:

White Wines

These go well with so many foods but most especially seafood. Wine expert Joe Campanale recommends Muscadet, a dry and inexpensive white wine that goes best with oysters or when planning a raw bar because of its briney minerality and acidity.

Riesling, on the other hand, is recommended for its ultimate flexibility. It is the white wine for whatever you are eating.

Some examples of food and white wine pairing are:

  • Chardonnay with cheese, cream sauces, and shellfish dishes
  • Riesling or Geverztraminer with cocktail, light fare, or dessert
  • Sauvignon Blanc with fish, chicken, and light foods

Red Wines

With a huge variety of red wines, food pairing will require a bit of choreography.

Light reds, for example, go well with dark leafy green vegetable dishes, while bold reds go well with foods that have a chewy texture, like red meats.

When it comes to aged reds, there is no one formula for food pairing. A bit of experimentation is required. As for fortified wine, serve it with desserts but make sure to match the sweetness first.

A good example of red wine pairing is Zinfandel with red meat, pasta, or pizza. Another one is Merlot with pork, beef, or lamb.

Now that you know your food pairing, time to know which wines make the best options for your party.


  • Muscadet from France
  • Pinot Grigio from Italy
  • Saint-Véran or Mâcon from France
  • Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand


  • Portuguese Red
  • Beaujolais-Villages from France
  • Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile
  • Pinot Noir from the U.S.
  • Petite Sirah from California

The Order to Serve Wine

In addition, you also need to know the order with which wines are served.

By variety

White wines should be served before reds, especially during formal tastings. But the rule may be ignored in a casual party.

When serving sparkling wines, this should be done at the very beginning to excite the guests’ palate.

By weight and age

Wine serving should be done from lightest to heaviest, which means a light-bodied white wine should be served before a full-bodied red.

In deciding which one is lightest or heaviest, you need to consider the age. Compared to a young Sauvignon Blanc, for example, an aged white Burgundy will have a more intense taste, so it has to be served last.

Based on sweetness

The sweetest dessert wines should be served after the dry wines. If two wines have similar intensity and weight, the sweeter one should be served after the other. So, between a dry young Riesling, and a sweet young Chenin Blanc, you serve the former first.

Now you have a good idea which wine goes best with what food and how to serve them. Already have a wine collection? Contact San Diego wine cellar Chateau 55 today for more information on our wine storage units and new state-of-the-art facility.