A first date or a dinner with some high profile clients is stressful enough to navigate without the dreaded selection of a bottle of wine from a list that’s bigger than your head! Even in the most laid back setting, a wine list intimidates the majority of us and might as well be written in Latin. However, we’ve decided it’s time to put this irrational fear aside and grab every wine list with confidence. After conducting a bit of research we found a handful of acclaimed publications have attempted to soothe their readers wine list anxiety, so we pulled together a list of our favorite tips and tricks recommended by the experts. After reading over these tidbits we’re sure you’ll be confident enough to order off of any wine list, whether it’s a few measly pages or thick as a bible.
1. Asking your sever for guidance is key! However, do so with guidance because when it comes down to it they are salesmen and will gravitate toward a higher priced bottle.
2. Be sure to communicate the price range, taste preference, and the dish/protein you are considering ordering with your server.
3. If you’re self conscious about stating your price range when asking for help, get a load of this trick. Mention to the server that you “would like to stay in this region” (while pointing to a price on the menu). Your fellow dinners will think you’re simply referring to a vineyard location.
4. Don’t be afraid to order by the glass. Although it is a bit more expensive than ordering a bottle in the long run, when you’re dining you don’t want WWIII to break out over a red vs white preference.
5. Look over the list for some of your favorite labels, but not to necessarily order. If you see a variety of labels listed that you already know you enjoy, take your chances and go with something unfamiliar. It’s likely that the sommelier (aka the restaurants wine steward) and you have a similar palate and there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy other selections on the menu.
6. A restaurant’s wine mark up is typically 2 to 2.5x the retail price, therefore the cheapest bottles are not the best deal. Note that the second lowest priced wine on the list is typically the most over priced! Keep your budget in mind and find that middle ground sweet spot.
7. Do not be afraid to send a bottle or glass of wine back if you really don’t like it. Be polite and considerate, but don’t suffer through a $50 bottle you are going to have trouble choking down.
And there you have it! Some of our favorite tips and trick for ordering a bottle vino, because when it comes down to it, enjoying a nice glass of wine should never give you a headache…unless it’s the day after drinking it!