Top 5 Ways to Pick Wine in a Restaurant

Top 5 Ways to Pick Wine in a Restaurant.

At Great Wine Days we understand just how daunting, overwhelming or time-consuming picking wine can be for some, so here are our ‘Top 5 Ways to Pick Wine in a Restaurant – and enjoy doing so!

Let’s start with or favourite tip…

1. Ask the sommelier or waiter to recommend the ideal wine.

Some restaurants have up to a dozen or so wines listed under ‘red’, ‘rosé’ and ‘white’ wines (and often ‘sparkling’); whilst others are known for their superb, exhaustive ‘tome’ of wine. A wine list which their sommelier has dedicated much time and tasting, to ensure each wine can be paired beautifully with different courses from their chef’s current season’s menu.

Firstly, don’t get overwhelmed and definitely don’t spend your valuable socialising time pouring over the pages of an elaborate wine list, unless you love doing so, and interested to test your knowledge or impress your guests!

If you don’t recognise the wine brands or regions, are unsure; or could not be bothered, then gauge which dishes your fellow diner(s) are ordering. Agree on a style (red, rosé, white, sparkling) and ask the sommelier or waiter to make a recommendation. Give your food selections; budget; and if there’s a particular preference eg. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, etc.


2. Research the wine list before you go.

Many restaurants have their wine list available online. So you could do a little research and have a couple of selections in mind of both red and white wines (depending on what courses are ordered); but if you’re not this way inclined then go back to Tip 1.

3. View the menu and research online for wine pairing recommendations.

If you are a self-motivated individual who loves to take control and know your wine, it can be quite satisfying.

If you don’t know wine but are keen to learn about the ideal wines with specific foods, then visit the restaurant’s website and review their food menu and wine list. Search online to find the perfect combinations suggested. Everyone’s palate is different but you can at least establish the basic wine and food pairing ‘rules of thumb’.


4. Know the types of wine you enjoy with various foods.

If you know the styles and grape varieties which agree with your palate and specific foods, then look for these on the wine list; or volunteer this upfront to your sommelier or waiter. This will provide them with some guidance to recommend one or more wines, highly suited to your palate which will reduce the risk in one.

Steak and Top 5 Ways to Pick Wine in a Restaurant

5. Consider Ordering By The Glass.

For the curious and those interested to taste a variety of suitable wines (or just the one glass or two) with their meal, why not order by the glass. Good restaurants should offer this option and you can let the sommelier know your strategy. You get to sample a few different wines throughout the meal which adds further excitement; and lowers the risk of discontentment, as you are not buying a whole bottle to find you may not like it or would have preferred something different. We used this tip at Rebelot – and there are many, many restaurants to try this with.


We hope our Top 5 Ways to Pick Wine in a Restaurant has been of some value…let us know your tips by leaving a comment. Enjoy!

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