Frequently Asked Questions

Learn about WineToMatch and our food and wine pairing engine

How accurate are your pairings? Are they as good as a Sommelier's?

Taste in wine is highly individualized. We don't believe in the idea of an objectively "accurate" pairing. We produce an array of pairing options that are most likely to be good complements for the average palette. That said, our recommendations can never be as precise as those of a well-trained Sommelier such as our Master Sommelier, Jesse Becker. Most sommeliers go through considerable training to learn their craft and Master Sommeliers like Jesse train for years and are rigorously tested in their profession.

The reason a Master Sommelier's recommendations will always be more precise than ours is that they can take into account the infinite number of factors that can affect a pairing--things like the temperature outside or whether the diner has a slight cold. We believe our pairings at WineToMatch and our wine pairing app for the iPhone are as good as has ever been achieved in an automated manner. Best of all, they’re available without the expense of bringing a Master Sommelier with you to your supermarket or favorite neighborhood restaurant!

My wine didn't match at all!

We are sincerely sorry that you had a bad experience with one of our pairings. We hate (probably more than most) the feeling of cracking a good bottle of wine only to realize that it doesn't complement our meal. After all, that's why we developed WineToMatch in the first place.

We would love to learn from your experience, so please send us ( ) the selections you made when you described your meal, and also the names of the dishes in your meals, and the wine style you chose. We will evaluate it, and see if the pairing engine needs to be tweaked. After that, please give us another chance!

Why don't you provide specific bottle pairings?

There are a couple of big reasons we elected to offer only styles of wine rather than individual bottles in our results. The primary reason is uncertain local availability of particular bottles of wine. In addition, we feel taste is too personalized for us to judge the suitability of particular bottles for you and your food.

So as much as we'd love the cases of free wine that producers and distributors would surely send us if we started returning bottle pairings, that's not enough reason for us to add a feature that we’re not comfortable with.

Are the bottles shown when I click a style of wine recommended for my meal?

No, those bottles are not recommended based on your particular meal. They are bottles chosen by Jesse as epitomizing the style of wine you chose, and having great quality for their price. Though in one sense, those bottles are tailored to your meal, because they are prototypical of their style, and thus are what our Master Sommelier had in mind when designing the wine pairing engine.

How does the pairing engine work?

Our patent-pending food and wine pairing engine is based on how complementary each part of your meal is to each of the wines in our database. When we gather the information about your meal from our forms, we weight the relative importance of each choice (e.g. Main Ingredient is relatively more important than Cooking Method) and generate composite scores for each wine's favorability with the meal you described. It's not quite as simple as that, because we take into account the limitations of using simple web forms in describing a complex thing like a meal.

We are currently testing an enhancement to the algorithm that would help it learn to distinguish between challenging meals such as Risotto versus Macaroni-n-Cheese--two meals which are quite different but would be described very similarly using our forms.

What if my meal fits more than one the choices or does not fit with any of the choices on a screen?

Read the directions carefully on each form, as some forms allow multiple or zero selections. If your meal fits with more choices than you are permitted to select, base your choices on which option has more influence on the overall flavor the meal. If your meal does not fit any of our choices, please select the one that is closest in nature.

If you have suggestions on how to improve our application, we would love to hear them. Please send your feedback to

How come I never see ______ wine in the recommendations?

We selected the wines in our database based on three major criteria:

- The culinary or vinicultural importance of the wine

- The wine's general availability at supermarkets, wine shops, gourmet stores and restaurant wine lists

- Uniqueness of the wine from a food pairing perspective

If we left off your favorite wine, we apologize. Maybe you can look for similar wine types, such as the varietal that dominates your favorite appellation, or an appellation that contains your favorite varietal.

If you want to suggest a wine that you feel meet our criteria and should be included, please let us know at

Can you suggest food to serve with ______?

On our front page, click 'Pair My Wine' in the titlebar to see a list of the wines currently in our database. When you click on one of those wines, you'll be taken to a page where Jesse discusses the characteristics of that wine, and makes brief recommendations about pairing that wine with food.

Now that we've launched our first version of WineToMatch, we have turned our attention to adding features. Our next major upgrade will see the incorporation of a feature where the engine generates recommended meals to serve along with a wine you choose. In fact, in the coming weeks, you may see a pop-up asking for some information that will help us develop that feature. Thanks in advance for your cooperation!

I can't stand ______, can I automatically exclude it from my results?

If you are a registered user of the site, you can choose to exclude certain wines from all of your results (coming soon!). Registration is free and only requires a valid email address.

Does your Master Sommelier offer consulting services?

Yes, Jesse Becker is available to provide consulting services on select projects. If you are interested in hiring him, you may contact him at

What do I get for registering as a user?

If you become a registered user of WineToMatch, you will have access to certain enhanced features of the site, such as the ability to:

- Choose to exclude certain styles of wine from your results.

- Skip our forms for many common meals (coming soon!)

- Filter the styles of wines in your results by additional factors such as color & price (coming soon!)

In addition, registered users are eligible for promotions from WineToMatch including:

- Personalized Video Sommelier services from Jesse Becker, M.S. for your next dinner party--we’ll even throw in bottles of wine he selects specifically for the menu you're serving!

- “You Play Sommelier” giveaways, where users submit food & wine blog posts as entries, and we choose a post to be featured on our blog, and Jesse "reviews" the user's sommelier skills!