Food & Entertaining - Wine & Spirits

Wine & spirits: Ordering wine at a restaurant

Want to look like a pro when ordering wine? Wine expert, Angela Aiello shares her advice on how to do exactly that.

While some may find a big wine list overwhelming, I see it as a chance for discovery – it’s the perfect time to try something new! Here’s how to look like a pro when ordering wine at a restaurant.
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Big House White, California, $13.


Pick your style
Depending on your mood, the type of restaurant and the food being served, think about the style of wine you want to drink. Are you looking for light and fruity, bold and sophisticated or bubbly and fresh? Put words to the wine you are craving and get ready to provide a description of it.

Ask an expert

If the restaurant has a wine expert or sommelier on staff, you’re in luck. They’ll know the wine list inside and out and be happy to make a recommendation based on the style and price range you’re seeking. If there’s no sommelier, pick your waiter’s brain. They’re most likely familiar with the wines and can at least suggest a popular choice.

Swirl, smell & sip
When the wine comes, the sommelier will pour a small amount of wine into the glass of the person who ordered the bottle. If that’s you, this is your opportunity to taste it and ensure that it’s what you’re looking for. Your job is to swirl, smell and sip the wine. Take your time and try a few sips. Even if you’re ordering by the glass, you can still ask to try the wine before committing.

Give the thumbs- up or -down
After analyzing what’s in your glass, say exactly what you feel about the wine. If you don’t like it, speak up and ask the sommelier or waiter to help select a new option. If you like it, simply smile and say “It’s perfect, thanks.”

Enjoy & learn

Talk with the sommelier and don’t be afraid to voice your thoughts about the wine. You’re the customer and deserve to be happy with your choice. So enjoy a great night out, ask for expert help and learn about a new wine you’ve never tried before.

Lead image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com.

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