How To Order Wine At A Restaurant

Ordering wine at a restaurant can often seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not well-versed in the world of wine. But fear not! With a few simple tips and a little confidence, you …

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Ordering wine at a restaurant can often seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not well-versed in the world of wine. But fear not! With a few simple tips and a little confidence, you can navigate the wine list like a pro and choose the perfect bottle to complement your meal.

1. Assess the Wine List

When you’re handed the wine list, take a moment to look it over. Some restaurants may have an extensive selection, while others may offer a more curated list. Pay attention to the regions and varietals available, as well as any special features like a sommelier’s recommendation or a wine of the month.

2. Consider Your Preferences

Think about the type of wine you enjoy and consider your personal preferences. Are you in the mood for a bold red, a crisp white, or a refreshing rosé? Knowing what flavors and styles you prefer will help narrow down your options.

3. Pairing with Food

One of the joys of wine is how it can enhance the flavors of your meal. Take a look at the restaurant’s menu and consider the flavors and ingredients in the dishes you plan to order. Generally, red wine pairs well with red meat and rich sauces, while white wine complements seafood, poultry, and lighter fare. Don’t be afraid to ask your server or sommelier for recommendations based on the specific dishes you’re interested in.

4. Ask for Assistance

If you’re unsure about which wine to choose, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Restaurants often employ trained sommeliers or knowledgeable staff members who can guide you in your selection. They can provide insights into the characteristics of different wines, suggest pairings, and even offer a taste before you commit to a full bottle.

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5. Consider the Budget

Before settling on a wine, it’s important to consider your budget. Wine prices can vary greatly, and it’s essential to find a balance between quality and affordability. Let your server or sommelier know your price range, and they can recommend options that meet your criteria.

6. Be Adventurous

While it’s always comforting to stick with what you know, dining out offers an opportunity to try something new. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and explore different regions, varietals, or even natural wines. You might discover a hidden gem that becomes your new favorite.


Ordering wine at a restaurant doesn’t have to be intimidating. By familiarizing yourself with the wine list, considering your preferences and pairing with your meal, seeking assistance when needed, and staying open to new experiences, you can confidently select a wine that elevates your dining experience. So, next time you find yourself in a restaurant, embrace the adventure and raise a glass to the joy of wine!

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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