How to Order Wine Like a Pro

Some Tips and Tricks to Order Wine at a Restaurant

Guest Blogger: Lisa Munro

This week Lisa Munro will be teaching us how to order wine like a pro! Lisa is the brilliant writer behind the The Inspiration Equation, worked at a wine agency in Toronto, and complete the George Brown Wine’s I course. 

Ordering wine at a restaurant, especially one with an extensive wine list, can be overwhelming and intimidating. Fear not, as a wine lover with some industry experience, I’m here to share some tips and tricks to help you navigate the wine list like a pro.

Pair Food and Wine First  

Although most of us order the wine first, it’s best to decide on food before ordering wine if you want to pair the wine accordingly. Certain pairings complement each other and, even if pairing isn’t on your radar, certain foods have the potential to ruin the taste of your wine. If in doubt, Rieslings and Pinot Noirs can pair with a wide range of dishes because they are neither too light, nor too full-bodied.

Utilize the Server

Do not be afraid to utilize the server or sommelier for guidance. Even experts will look to these people because they have the most familiarity with the wine list. The only caveat is that you need to provide the right information.

Here’s what you should convey to your server:

  • Red or white
  • New world (fruit forward) or old world (earthy)
  • The body of the wine, which refers to mouth feel in terms of weight. The options are light (think skim milk), medium (think whole milk) and full (think cream).
  • Price point. Subtly point to a wine in your range and say, “I’d like a bottle in this range” and you can indicate price point to the server without everyone at the table knowing.

Sampling the Wine

Once you order the wine, the server will present the wine to you to make sure it’s the bottle you ordered. This is the time to make sure the vintage on the bottle matches what you ordered (certain vintages have higher markups). Then your server will pour a taste of wine into your glass so that you can determine whether the wine is corked or defective. The taste is not intended to help you determine whether you like the wine. Corked wine should give off an unpleasant aroma. If your wine smells or tastes off, a good rule of thumb is to ask your server their opinion.

Now all that’s left to do is enjoy your wine!

Next time you’re at a restaurant try out these tips!

Lisa

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