Let’s face it. Most restaurant outings mean dealing with wine selection. And if you’re like most people, you don’t readily know which bottle pairs best with the appetizer your date just ordered. You’re also not an expert on vintage and grapes. The thought of ordering wine like a boss at a nice restaurant, especially on a date, can be a bit nerve-wracking. Well, here we are to help you breathe a little easier! Just follow these easy tips and you’ll be on your way to not having to fake-it-til-you-make-it the next time you order wine at dinner.

 

Do Your Research

Most restaurant’s menus are available online. Just take a quick peek before your go! See if they have anything you’re already familiar with or do some research on their options. You can check online reviews on the wines, as well as pairing options.

 

Take Your Time

This is not a race. Many restaurants have lists that can be overwhelming.  Don’t feel pressured by the server to put in your order right away. Give yourself sufficient time to be fully comfortable with your selection.       

 

Decide on a Budget

Are you ready to shell out $45 per glass of wine? It may be wise to decide on a budget before going into the meal. This will automatically rule out those wines that are over your price point. You may also hint at your server or sommelier the glasses you are comfortable with by holding up the menu and saying something like “I’m looking for something similar to this,” pointing to the price instead of the wine.

 

Red or White

When you’re dining out and wine selection is on your shoulders, take into consideration the time of day and the cuisine. White wine works well for lunch, while red is often favored during dinner. As for the cuisine, if you’re eating seafood, you may want to order a white wine, but if you’re at a steakhouse, red will be more appropriate.

 

Restaurant Specialization

Does the restaurant specialize in a certain type of wine? If the restaurant has 40 Napa wines and only 10 European wines, it may signal that the owner or sommelier prefers Napa wines. Go with that!

 

Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

The best wealth of knowledge of the restaurant’s wine is right in front of you. Sommeliers are proud of their wine lists and they are happy to help your meal reach its full potential. That said, let them know your preferences. For example, you can tell them you love Cabernet Sauvignon, but would like to try something new. Or tell them what dish you will be ordering, so they can expertly pair the best wine for you.

 

Try Different Wines

Work with your server or sommelier to create fun and adventurous pairings to each course. This may eliminate the fear of having to stick to the same bottle for the duration of the meal, thus also eliminating the pressure of choosing wisely because you’re only getting one crack at it.

 

Enjoy Your Wine

Have fun! Enjoy the evening sipping on trusted old reds or flirty new whites. Follow our tips and you’ll be a wine-ordering-boss in no time!