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5 Tips for Ordering Wine at a Restaurant (and looking like a pro)

So, you’re at a restaurant, staring at the endless wine menu, not knowing at all what to get. We’ve all been there before. I never want to look like the idiot when I’m ordering wine, but sometimes I don’t just want to go for the same old thing for the sake of my pride. Here are some of my top tips for ordering wine, and looking like a pro while doing it.

tips for ordering wine
Tips for Ordering Wine Like a Pro

  1. Check out the wording in your meal description: If you are ordering a meal that says “creamy, rich, saucy”, you will probably want to go with a white when. More creamy dishes always pair well and bring out the buttery notes in a Chardonnay, or the sweetness in a Pinot Grigio. If you’re ordering something that says something like, “blackened, charred, wood grilled”, you will probably want to go with a red because the smokey notes always bring out the berry notes and the tannins in a red wine. This even works when trying to pair wine and pizza😉
  2. Go outside of your comfort zone: I will be the first to admit that I always go for a red wine, normally a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Red Blend. More recently, I have really tried to go outside of my normal ordering and I have found some really wonderful Malbecs and Syrahs that I would not have normally tried.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask your server: This one is kind of a given, but I am surprised at how many people do not actually want to do this. As someone who waitressed for 7+ years, I know what the job of a server entails. They are supposed to have ideas of what wine would pair well with the dishes they serve. Tell them the flavors you like, the wines you normally go for, and even mention a price range. Trust me, you won’t look like you don’t know what you’re talking about and you might learn a thing or two about pairing during your conversation.
  4. Look at what wines are unique to that area: If you are at a local restaurant, try wines from one of your local vineyards. These are always the best to have in the area where the vineyard is located and rarely disappoint. If you’re out of town, this is also a great way to get a taste for the wines of that region.
  5. Order by the glass instead of the bottle: Now, I’m not saying that you won’t have a bottle… or two. Ordering by the glass will give you a chance to try many different wines, instead of pegging you down to a bottle that you may or may not thoroughly enjoy. Plus, if you are stuck choosing between a handful on the menu, this will let you try them all!

What is your go-to type of wine to order from a restaurant?

*Cheers to endless wine lists and plenty of glasses drank trying them all*

joanna at motherhood and merlot

12 comments

  1. I love trying new wines based on the servers recs! My cousin is a sommelier so I totally respect the opinion of wine pros!
    lauren recently posted…The Best Instant BronzersMy Profile

  2. Love these tips! Especially about reading the key words in your meal description. Smart!
    Cajun recently posted…Vanilla Grapefruit Himalayan Salt ScrubMy Profile

  3. Thanks for these tips. Wine ordering is something I struggle with

  4. These are awesome tips and great reminders. I almost always ask the waiter. It always irks me a bit though when they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about…ha
    Tiffany recently posted…Comment on Lessons From My Mom: Life’s Greatest Teacher by A Beautiful RAWRMy Profile

  5. Thanks for these great suggestions. I always feel a bit inadequate when I order wine in a restaurant. I also generally stick with the same kind of wine. I guess now I will need to branch out! 🙂

  6. Great tips! I never really know where to begin when choosing from the menu!
    Rachel recently posted…Unique Gifts from Uncommon GoodsMy Profile

  7. Great tips!!I’m always looking for local wines when I travel!!! I’m also a huge wino though so it’s almost like a game to me to find restarants with cool wines I haven’t tried lol….

  8. Great article. I especially liked your tip to go out of your comfort zone. I ALWAYS go with the same-Pinot or a Sav and I really should try something new. I’ll remember this next time I’m having a glass…or two!

  9. Going out of your comfort zone is a great way to discover wine, my palette has totally changed over the years and its so fun to try different blends.

  10. I’ve never actually tried wine. I’m going to have to! What’s the best wine for a first-timer?
    Jennifer Corter recently posted…Kinderviews: May Edition!My Profile

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