Updated: Nov 18, 2021

We all know two of life's greatest marriages are cheese & wine, but how many award winning North Carolina wines have you paired with award winning Wisconsin Cheese? We brought America's Dairyland and our Tar Heel State together for a unique partnership. This wine & cheese pairing is under the stewardship and guidance of Suzanne Fanning, a Wilmington, NC native, graduate of New Hanover High, and now Chief Marketing Officer for Wisconsin’s $44 billion dairy industry.

We chose 4 of our favorite North Carolina wines and Fanning put together a unique pairing of Wisconsin cheese for your next wine & cheese tasting. When selecting wine to pair alongside cheese, keep in mind the flavor, body and overall intensity of the wine you'll be serving." Wine makes a great match for cheese – the flavors and acidity in the wine serve as a palate cleanser between bites of cheese helping cut the fat that coats the mouth," advises Fanning.

When choosing cheese to pair with wine, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Match the level of intensity. You wouldn’t put a lightweight in the ring with a heavyweight, so don’t serve a pinot grigio with a bold, aged cheddar. Pair a bold, aged cheddar with an intense red wine and a fresh burrata with a light white.

  2. Skip the Sweet: Reach for dry wines.

  3. When in doubt, sparkle! Bubbles are very forgiving, so if you want a surefire winner, pretty much everything goes with bubbles.

Suzanne Fanning, CMO of Wisconsin Cheese
Suzanne Fanning, CMO of Wisconsin Cheese

Piccione Vineyards: Vermentino

Relatively unknown to the United States, Vermentino is famously produced in the Italian regions of Liguria and Sardegna. While Pinot Grigio leans more toward higher levels of acidity, Vermentino typically has lower levels of acidity and is best consumed shortly after bottling. Piccione have been growing it since 2010 and have been making a 100% Estate Grown Vermentino since 2014. Light and complex Vermentino, with subtle floral aromas and citrus notes pairs perfectly with tart, salty, fresh feta cheese.

Pair with a Wisconsin feta such as Odyssey® Traditional Feta

Brief Cheese Description: A 2019 World Championship Cheese Contest winner, this cheese has a firm yet crumbly texture that is tangy and salty to the taste but never bitter.

Jolo 2020 Carolus XII

The name and the wine pays homage North Carolina. The Carolinas were named to honor King Charles IX of France, King Charles I & King Charles II of England. The Latin name for Charles is Carolus and thus the name given to the Carolinas. The XII signifies that North Carolina was the 12th colony to join of the original 13 colonies of what became this great country. The wine is a robust blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 7% Syrah, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Chambourcin, 3% Cabernet Franc. A strong red blend goes best with hard aged cheeses that packs their own intense flavor to match the oaky finish and high tannins of a full-bodied red.