If you are new to wine or do not drink it enough to have gained any extensive knowledge about it, choosing wine in a restaurant can be an overwhelming experience. However, if remember these simple tips, you can choose wine like a pro.
Red or White – Before scouring the wine list looking for the most exotic-sounding wine, narrow down your choice to red or white. The type of wine you get should correspond to your dinner selection. For example, if you intend on ordering a white fish (such as halibut, swordfish, sablefish, ect.), pasta, chicken, or a vegetable dish, a white wine is probably a better choice because the wine will not overpower your food. If you want red meat (beef, venison, duck, etc.) or a bolder fish (such as salmon) a red wine is probably a better choice because if you pick a white wine with one of these dishes, the food will overpower the wine. Wine and food are supposed to compliment each other. Therefore, picking the appropriate wine (red vs. white) to accompany your dish will greatly improve your dining experience.
Do Not Select Wine Based Upon Price – A common misconception about wine is that the more expensive it is, the better it is. However, price does not always indicate higher quality or better wine. As such, do not be afraid to explore the lower priced options. If the establishment at which you are dining cares about its customers, it will not put a “bad” wine on the list.
Buy By the Glass – Unless you know for fact that you will enjoy the wine you select (if, for example, you have had it before) or are comfortable enough in your wine expertise to know a good vineyard, ordering wine by the glass will help you save money and expand you wine tasting horizons. Ordering by the glass is like hedging your bet. If you do not like the wine, not much is wasted (by way of the wine or your pocketbook). Additionally, you can order another glass of a different wine for about the same cost.
Do Not Be Afraid to Ask for Help from Your Server or the Sommelier – A sommelier is a wine expert. He/she can help you make a choice based upon your tastes. Asking for help does not make you look bad or make you appear unintelligent. Sommelier and servers are there to help you. The only thing that you have to be wary of is up-selling. Make sure that the sommelier or server is not trying to sell you an expensive wine solely because it is an expensive wine. You can ensure against this by asking for several recommendations instead of just one.
Following these tips will help you have an enjoyable night dining at your restaurant of choice while enjoying a wonderful glass of wine.