Ordering Wine

Some suggestions for ordering wine when you dine.

Adam Lowe
2-minute read
Episode #34

Several listeners have written in with questions about ordering wine at a restaurant, so here are some suggestions.

How to Select a Wine

First, let’s talk about selecting a wine. You should always feel comfortable asking for assistance when selecting a wine. Fancier restaurants will have a sommelier or wine steward, who will be able to offer you very 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 wines on the list. You may also ask your guests for suggestions, especially if there is a wine aficionado at your table. If you are a guest at the table and asked to help choose a wine, then give your host a few suggestions in different (but reasonable) price ranges, and let your host make the final selection. You should never feel pressured to order a very expensive bottle of wine. Remember that the restaurant has selected all of the wines on the wine 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.

Many restaurants will also allow you to bring your own bottle of wine, and charge you a corkage fee to open the bottle. It is a good idea to call in advance to be sure that the restaurant will allow you to bring your own wine.

How to Taste Wine

Now let’s address tasting the wine when it comes to your table.