In my opinion, WineShop at Home has some of the best wine available on the market – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also love to try new varietals when I’m out for dinner with my husband or my friends!
Heck, as an active participant in the wine industry, I consider it my professional duty to keep up with what’s trending now and formulate my own opinions on what’s good, what’s mediocre, and what I downright adore.
Here are some of my top tips as a wine professional that you can use when ordering wine at a restaurant.
Try New Wines
Since my palette has gotten to know WineShop wines so well, when I go out I usually like to try new wines. Most restaurants will replace a wine if you don’t like it – so why not be adventurous and try new things?
Since WineShop at Home is a California winery, I tend to order international wines at restaurants for something a little different, one of my very first leaders Susan taught me that years ago.
Buy the Bottle
When you find one that you like, you’ll get much better value when you buy the bottle as opposed to ordering by the glass. And often, if you don’t finish the bottle the restaurant will allow you to take it with you! Just in case, I always carry Haley’s Corker in the car when I go out to eat (honestly, I also always carry a corkscrew with me as well!).
Bring a Special Bottle
It always surprises me when people don’t realize that they can bring their own wine when dining out. If you know that you don’t want to try something new, or perhaps you’re dining out for a special occasion and you want to make sure you have something you love, call ahead and ask the restaurant if they have a corkage fee. Some places even have a “no corkage” night, where you can bring your own bottle for free.
Think of it this way: if you can bring a better bottle of wine, it’s often less expensive than purchasing a mediocre bottle that you don’t like even when the corkage “seems” expensive.
Of course, even if you bring your own bottle, make sure to tip your server accordingly. They work hard!
Don’t be afraid to say something if your wine is the wrong temperature. I often have trouble with red wines in restaurants being too warm. Remember, you’re spending a lot of money – ask for the wine to be replaced if it’s not right!
Side note: red wine should not be room temperature. That is a myth. It should be cellar temperature, so about 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Check out the image below as a guide and notice that it even tells you how long you need to chill the wine to get it just right!
Personally, I always try to order in the mid-tier range. That is, I don’t buy the most expensive on the list (because I appreciate a good deal), and I don’t buy the least expensive on the list (because that’s asking for a headache). Often, I’ll ask about house wine because some places really work hard to select a very good house wine.
Always Go from White to Red
If you’re going to spend a long evening drinking, make sure that you move from whites to reds – never the reverse.
Experiment with Fun Things…
…Like port! Many restaurants offer dessert wines on their after-dinner menu and you can always purchase by the glass. Try things that are different and fun to expand your tastes. Be adventurous and choose wines you don’t “think” you love when you have the chance to order by the glass. You might surprise yourself!
The next time you head out to a restaurant for dinner, you’ll be armed with some new tips and tricks that you can use!
Have you been thinking about getting a job in the wine industry? WineShop at Home is a great way to get to know the in’s and out’s of the industry, meet new people, and learn a heck of a lot about wine (not to mention make MONEY and potentially great TAX DEDUCTIONS). Click HERE to speak with me directly.