Last week I met a woman who was 22-23 years old and got really excited when she learned I was a winemaker. She thought wine was really cool, but always felt intimidated by the whole procedure/tradition/ritual of ordering wine at a restaurant, especially when she was dining with someone important.
So, I gave her these quick tips and she felt immediately better and knew she could make a good go/show of ordering wine at a nice restaurant. She actually wrote them down. Figuring she wasn’t the only one who could find these tips helpful I thought I would lay them out here.
- Wine menus should go from light and sweet at the top, to dark and dry at the bottom.
- Pick the extremes in your head and then figure out where you are on that line and look at that area on the menu.
- This also means whites are normally on top and reds on bottom, but there are often reds that are lighter and sweeter in taste than some white.
- Don’t order the second cheapest glass or bottle on the menu.
- Most people don’t what to seem cheap, so they pick the second least expensive, and restaurants know this.
- This item often has the highest markup or the wine the restaurant is trying to get rid of.
- When you need to buy a bottle that will work for everyone, have no clue what it should be, but know how much you can spend.
- Simply ask the waiter/sommelier/wine steward for some help selecting a bottle for the table.
- And say “I’m looking for something like this” while showing the waiter the price you are willing to pay by pointing to it on the menu.
- You can totally be sneaky about this and none of your table mates need know.
- When the bottle comes to the table and the waiter pours hands you the cork and pours you a small glass this is what you do
- Gently swirl the glass.
- Smell and taste it, looking for either the smell of wet cardboard or wet dog.
- If it doesn’t smell like either of those, simply give a nod to the waiter, and they will pour for the rest of those at the table.
- If you order a glass of wine are don’t like it after a sip or two.
- Simply tell the waiter “I’m not enjoying this wine”
- They should either:
- Offer to pour you a new glass of the same wine from a new bottle.
- Offer you a different glass of wine.
- Offer to take it off the bill and get you some other type of drink.
- Either way, their goal is for you to enjoy your experience, so let them help.
- If your table mates try and tell you it’s a wonderful wine and you should like it, just remember the 1 rule of wine, “Drink what you like.”, and don’t let them push you around.
With these 5 little tips you can look like an experience wine drinker/orderer/ sophisticated diner.