How To Order Off A Wine Menu, Like a Pro

Does the idea of ordering a bottle of wine for the table set you into a panic? Are you hoping to wow your dinner companions with your wine knowledge? Here are some tips that will help you look like a budding sommelier the next time you grab the wine list at a restaurant.

You will need

  • 1 A nice restaurant
  • 2 A group of friends
  • 3 A long wine list


Plan Ahead

To avoid feeling rushed when you’re looking at the wine list in the restaurant, try planning ahead. Most restaurants have their wines conveniently listed on their websites. Before you head out to eat, spend some time studying the list.


Choose your Meal

You don’t have to know the exact meal you’re ordering when you choose your wine, but it’s a good idea to at least have an idea of what you’re eating. That way, you can choose a wine that complements your meal and doesn’t clash with it. If you’re ordering for the table, see if the waiter knows a wine that will go with most of your companions' dinner choices.


Name your Price

When you’re asking the sommelier for recommendations, don’t be afraid to say something like, “I’d like a moderately priced Merlot.” Knowing your budget, and having an idea of the variety you prefer, will help the sommelier pick the right wine for you.


Do a Taste Test

When the wine arrives, it’s time to show off your taste testing skills. The waiter will pour a few sips of wine into your glass. Swirl the glass for a couple seconds to aerate it, give it a sniff, and then taste. In the rare event that a wine tastes off, it’s perfectly alright to ask the waiter for a new bottle. If everything’s good, nod to the waiter to let them know that they can begin pouring for the whole table. Then, sit back and enjoy.