Here's how to start:
Step 1: determine what you are going to eat.
This includes main dishes, appetizers and desserts. Will the taste and color be light or dark? Seafood, chicken breast, white sauces and vegetables are ordinarily light. Beef, pork, duck and red sauces are ordinarily dark.
Step 2: determine how the food will be prepared.
What marinades and spices will be used? What types of oils or sauces will it be cooked with? How will it be cooked; baked, grilled, roasted or fried? Will the dish be bold and zesty, heavy or light?
Step 3: White or Red wine?
Write down or mentally note the contents and characteristics of your meal and determine what class it falls in, dark in color and heavy in body, or light in color and light in body. A straightforward guide is the color of the dish can be paired with the color of the wine. The heaviness or body of the dish can be paired with the body of the wine. Try to make the wine at least as heavy as the dish. As a basic rule of thumb, you can unquestionably use a heavier wine than the dish but try not to use a lighter wine than the dish.
Step 4: Get to know the typical white wines.
Sparkling wines, champagne: Pair with seafood, or serve after oysters, lobster, crab or fish to cleanse the palate. Sparkling wine is also great for brunch or with refreshments such as almonds (raw & unsalted) or light fresh fruits such as pears, strawberries, raspberries, oranges or kiwi Sauvignon Blanc: Pair with chicken and white fish, light preparations of pork, salads. Also works well with nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts. Pinot Grigio, Riesling: Pair with spicy foods (excluding black pepper), salads, light chicken or pasta with light white sauce (such as linguine with clams). Chardonnay: Pair with heavy white sauce pasta, salad with medium bodied cheese accents (such as Feta or Gorgonzola), or sauteed white meat dishes.
Step 5: Get to know the typical red wines:
Pinot Noir: Pair with light pork dishes, dark meat chicken or hearty chicken dishes, or vegetarian or white meat red sauce pastas. Merlot: Pair with beef, pork, heavy red pastas, salmon or appetizers. Cabernet Sauvignon: Pair with dark red meats, strong cheese such as bleu cheese or sharp cheddar, or milk chocolate.
Bonus: If you want to play it safe you can try the following cheeses that pair with any wine: Brie, Fondue Cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gruyere, and Mitica.