7 Wine rules to break right now

Only drink white wine with fish? You have permission to start breaking the old wine rules and enjoy your wine experience even more than you have before.


  1. Only white wine goes with fish

    A glass of Prosecco or Sauvignon Blanc may be your go-to with your favourite fish recipe, but if you pick the right red wine, you may surprise yourself with a successful pairing. The secret lies in choosing a low-tannin red wine, as high levels of tannin are likely to interact with fish oils, leaving you with a metallic aftertaste. Feel inspired to experiment? Try a bottle of Pinot Noir with seared tuna for a winning match.
  2. Never put ice in your wine

    This depends on context. You probably wouldn't add ice to a complex Chardonnay (why dilute a perfectly balanced wine?). But if you're enjoying a casual easy-drinking white poolside, or a rosé-fuelled lunch in the sunshine, there's no reason not to keep it chilled with a couple of blocks of ice. This will also soften the alcohol, much like adding ice to whisky.
  3. Don't chill red wine

    Many red wines should be enjoyed cooler than you think and can benefit from being popped in the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving (the average room temperature in Europe, where the rule originated, is a lot lower than it is in SA). Light reds in particular will show more of their fruity character when they're chilled to around 13°C. The ideal temperature for medium-bodied reds is 14-16°C.
  4. Sparkling wine is only for celebrations

    Champagne and Cap Classique are perfectly matched with so many foods, there's no need to limit yourself to only enjoying a glass as an apéritif or popping a bottle to raise a toast. Serve it with main courses too – anything from roast chicken to light fish dishes and even pizza are great matches for a Brut or Blanc de Blanc, while a pink bubbly is excellent with meatier fish or cured meats.
  5. Rose is only for summer

    You may enjoy a pale, bright and fruity Provencal-style rosé poolside but when the mercury drops, start choosing richer, more structured rosés that will match the hearty, substantial dishes that autumn and winter bring to your table. They stand up well to spicy dishes such as Thai green curry, pastas, stews, soups, tarts, root vegetable dishes and duck.
  6. Only drink sweet wines with dessert

    Off-dry Prosecco with apple pie, Viognier with lemon meringue – these are matches we love, but sweeter wines are excellent with savoury foods. A fresh and fruity German-style Riesling is a hit with fish, chicken, and slightly spicy dishes, and it can even handle vinegar-based sauces. Also try Gewürztraminer with dim sum.
  7. Avoid wines in cans and boxes

    If you're still turning up your nose at alternative wine packaging, now's the time to give it a try. Everyone loves a classic bottle, but the convenience of these options can't be ignored, and with top producers such as Spier and Beyerskloof putting their wines into boxes, there's no compromising on quality. The premium canned wine category is also growing to meet the demands of wine lovers seeking convenience, smaller servings, and a form of packaging that's endlessly recyclable.