• Whether its one of those first dates that gives you butterflies, sweaty palms and a penchant for speaking like an idiot, or that Friday date night you’ve been having for years. Ordering wine at a restaurant can be intimidating and stressful.

    The best thing to do is take the pressure off of you. If you are at the restaurant, but still have to wait a few minutes for the table. Then take this time to study the wine menu without ignoring your date. In fact its a perfect ice breaker. Discuss what your accomplice is interested in, like white wine, sparkling or red wine. What style of wine?

    Stall

    You should always start with a cocktail or a glass of sparkling wine. This you can use to delay the bottle order and give you some much needed time for studying. If the restaurant you are at has any half bottles of sparkling for a reasonable price I’d go that route, otherwise by the glass works just as well.

    The wine list

    Wine lists are often huge and overwhelming. If there is a sommelier on duty feel free to ask for guidance. Waiters know a few bottles on the list, but sommeliers typically know and have a better understanding of the whole list. Give the somm a price range and an idea of what you’re looking for.


    If you choose flying it solo then first thing find the table of contents (if there is one.) Then the category you want. If its a cuisine with a lot of heat/spice I would steer clear of big reds. The red wine will just intensify the spice making a less appealing combination. Stay with white if its spicy. My last post went into detail about how to try new wines to become more adventurous.

    Make it fun

    Interact with your date. If you include your date in the ordering process it will keep the pressure off and make things fun, or you can offer them a task like picking an appetizer.

    Tasting

    When the wine is presented check the year and the name to be certain you got the wine you wanted. The somm will open the wine and leave the cork on the table near you. This was originally done to show that the wine had the original cork (fraud was big once upon a time.) I often smell the cork to see if it has a moldy wet paper smell, but most people I talk to don’t notice it.

    Really its just a matter of swirling the wine a bit in the glass to get the wine’s aromatics going. Take a sniff and then a sip. Give a nod to whomever poured the wine and enjoy.