How to order wine in restaurant

Unless you personally manufacture wine sorts or you have finished sommelier course, you probably will never get precise and accurate enough when talking about wine or ordering one in restaurant. Fortunately, nobody expects you to be. It will suffice to know how to narrow the choice down enough to suit your preferences and the situation, considering the occasion and your budget.


Therefore, it is recommended to get familiar with some basic tips and rules about ordering wine in restaurant in order to avoid getting embarrassed, paying too much or picking the sort you simply won’t like.

Feel free to say what you want

One of the most frequent mistakes people make when entering a fine restaurant and ordering a bottle of wine is an attempt to look like an expert and order in highly technical, precise manner. This usually fails when you’re a layman. Most sommeliers agree that it’s better for customers to communicate freely with sommelier and state what they like and what is their budget limit. Describe the flavor you prefer, like “sweet and fruity” or “dry and flavorful” and narrow it down within red, white or rose wine. That should be enough for sommelier to direct you further on.

Order by glass, rather than by bottle

Ordering wine by glass turns out to be more practical in many ways, although there is a wrong belief that ordering bottle appears more stylish and elegant. If you’re having a dinner with someone special and it turns out you two have different wine preferences, ordering by glass will suit both.


Ordering by glass will also enable you to change the wine sort if you pick the wrong wine in first round. Finally, most restaurants keep lower prices for wine served by glass compared to the whole bottle.

Keep the food in mind

Before ordering a glass or bottle of wine, think about the type of dish you will order. Some wines are better combined with the certain types of food and you should know the basic rules of flavor matching. Some general rule is that dry, bold red wines combine best with heavy meals, red and raw meet and spicy food. On the other hand, white and light wines should be paired with exotic dishes, seafood, pasta and fish. Rose wines may suit various foods and you should avoid adding dessert wine to heavy and rich in calories meal.

Don’t go to extremes with the price

We have to put it clear and honest – ordering wine in restaurant is never minor factor in the final bill. Wines may have a significant price due to their brand name, but there’s a wide assortment of truly quality sorts of wine that are rather affordable. Now, what most sommeliers would recommend is to avoid extremes in both ways. Buying the most expensive bottle of wine actually won’t impress anyone, but rather appear as showing off. On the other hand, avoid purchasing the cheapest bottle if you care about the style a bit. Go for cheap middle class if you’re on a budget and you’ll meet both, the flavor and the affordable price.