Just like picking the perfect outfit for an occasion, choosing wine at a restaurant can be somewhat challenging. Even learning all the different types of wine is difficult! When picking a wine for yourself, you may just choose the same or different kinds of wines as you please.
However, when you are in the company of people, picking a wine for a friend’s party, or hanging out with that special person – that you are trying to sweep off their feet – you definitely do not want to disappoint or embarrass yourself while at it, so you want to make decisions with finesse, a lot of skill and confidence.
Understanding the concept of wine selection does not only save you the stress of wracking your brains while deciding, but it also lets the sommelier know that you know what you want, and this will save you money and time. This post will show you the ropes around wine selection ahead of that next big event.
To have a nice date or event, you need to ensure that everything is in place before the D-day. The same rule applies to picking a wine – you must come prepared. Most dining restaurants have their menus and wine list online, so all you have to do is pick up your phone and look up potential wines that your guest(s) will enjoy, suitable for your meal, and within your budget. This easy homework will let you converse with confidence, make quicker decisions, and impress everyone in the room – be it your date or friends.
You are probably wondering what to do when your restaurant of choice does not have an online wine list. In a case like this, find out their food options or meals they are notable for. This will help you think of possible cuisine pairings. For example, if they are known for seafood or oysters, you may opt for a bottle of white wine, a dry sparkling wine, or find out other wine options that will be a perfect blend with the available food options. This adventure might also give you more ideas to make the experience even more interesting for you and your guest(s).
You may be unable to prepare ahead or find answers online perhaps because the restaurant is new or quite laid back, your best move is to ask questions from the sommelier or wine steward – their job is to serve you and answer your questions, isn’t it? So, the more information you give, the more help you get from the sommelier. In some cases, you can suggest the kind of wine you think you and your company will like and ask for something similar. For example, you may go “I love red wines, which would you recommend?”. This simple move takes the difficulty that comes with selection.
Another advantage of pulling the sommelier or wine expert close is that you can send them a subtle message about your budget. For example, you can point to a wine on the wine list and tell the sommelier you want something within that price range without speaking it out loud or explicitly stating the amount. Smooth, right? This move, at the end of the day, will help you make an informed decision and enjoy your moment – since you are going to be happy you didn’t have to overspend.
Order by the glass or by the bottle
In a scenario where you are unsure of which wine to order – perhaps because you are torn amongst available options or trying to satisfy your companion’s craving – you should order by the glass. This will give you the chance to try a variety of flavors before settling for a bottle.
Moreover, if you and your partner do not intend to have so much wine, buying by the glass will suffice because it will help you save money since glasses usually come cheaper than bottles. An advantage of this is that it allows you to try different flavors to try while having your meal, based on suggestions that go with your meal.
While it is advisable to order by the glass for about two people, when you are in the company of more than three people, opt for the bottle option instead. The bottle will always be more abundant and cost-effective. In other words, if it is just you and a colleague or friend, having a glass of wine each will be the better option. However, if it is a party of four or more, the bottle will be a better deal to consider.
Ignore the second-cheapest bottle
Whether you have been advised to order for the second-cheapest wine on the wine list or you intend to go for it in order not to look cheap to your guest(s) or the sommelier, DO NOT do this, it is a trap! Restaurants already know that most people will not want to come off as cheap when they want to place their wine orders, so they expect that if you are concerned about cost, you will most probably go for the option just above the cheapest wine bottle to save cost.
However, the truth is that you will not end up saving cost by ordering a bottle of wine in this category, instead, you will be spending more because the second-cheapest bottles have the highest markup overall…some are as high as 400 percent!
As a matter of fact, if you are really concerned about cost, it is way better to go for the cheapest bottle of wine on the list. You will be shocked that even the most inexpensive bottle of wine actually comes with great taste as well. So, look at the wine list and compare prices of their wine bottles with retail values outside a restaurant, then order away!
Sticking to the aforementioned steps whenever you order wine for yourself or companions will not only make the task less daunting because you will have fun while at it, it will also help save cost and they will chant your name when they see you pulling all the strings while doing your thing on the wine floor.