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How to Select a Wine?

What is the etiquette of choosing a bottle of wine at a dinner? Who decides?

By
Richie Frieman,
February 23, 2012

You should always feel comfortable asking for assistance when selecting a wine. More upscale restaurants will have a sommelier or wine steward on hand who will be able to offer you detailed guidance on selecting a wine that will complement your meal, suit your tastes, and fit your budget.

If the restaurant doesn’t have a sommelier, then your server should be knowledgeable about the available wines. It is also proper to ask your guests for suggestions, especially if there is a wine aficionado at your table. If you are a guest at the table and are asked to help choose a wine, give your host a few suggestions in different (but reasonable) price ranges, and let your host make the final selection.

Remember: The restaurant has selected all of the wines on their list to be enjoyable accompaniments to your meal, including any house wine served by the carafe. If you don’t think the restaurant is very sophisticated in terms of wine, then you may want to pick more carefully (or avoid it altogether).

Many restaurants will also allow you to bring your own bottle, and charge you a corkage fee to open and serve it (anywhere from $10 to $30). If you have a special bottle that you've been saving for a certain occasion, the corkage fee might be worth it. It is a good idea to call in advance to be sure that the restaurant will allow you to bring your own wine.

 

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