Today’s tip comes from our friends in food and hunting at Gauge Wines. The thumb can be a very handy measuring device. That said, the size and shape differ for everybody, so it’s up to you to understand what works as your personal “rule of thumb.” The wine world can be a bit overwhelming and downright pompous, so to make life easier our rule of thumb is: Don’t be intimidated. Keep it real, explore, and drink what you like.

So, you’ve done all the “work” (a sly term we use for getting outside to haul home some meat), and now it’s time to get it to the table. The question may arise: What kind of wine will complement this meal? And the truth is, the right choice will undoubtedly improve your table experience. Here are some basic tips:

• For centuries now, the basic doctrine for food and wine parings has simply been that white wines go well with seafood and red wines match nicely with red meats. There are other wine “rules” that you can remember and use at your discretion to amplify your meals. These allow you to experiment with various wines as they break down wine pairing to a simple formula.

• When considering wine, try your best to create balance between the wine and the dish. This means that “heavier” flavors, like game or red meat, work well with a full-bodied, or heavier wine, most often red. Lighter dishes, particularly the delicate flavors and textures in seafood, balance nicely with a lighter wine, most often white. This case also holds true for dessert wines (Yes, there is a wine for every course.) Desserts call for a comparably sweeter wine.

• Also, pay attention to things like the acidity in your wine. A bottle with higher acidity can be a great pairing with a high fat meal, as it cuts through the influence of the fat to even out flavors.

So thumbs up or thumbs down–when it comes to wine preference you get the last word. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t like, but don’t be afraid to ask for advice when unsure or curious. And if someone has a problem with that, try responding with a different digit altogether.