California Wine, All the Time | Poppy & Quail Blog

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Order Wine Like an Expert

June 14, 2018

Unless you are a true sommelier, most of us feel a tinge of anxiety when we are handed the wine list while dining out. This list most likely contains a large number of unrecognizable names, and you feel the pressure to make a snap decision while the waiter stares at you.

 We are here to tell you that there is no need to worry! You do not have to be a wine expert to order wine at a restaurant. There is no secret code to crack. In fact, there are some simple steps you can follow to ensure that you master the art of ordering wine.

There is No Rush to Order Wine

While you may feel the pressure to order wine right away, don’t be scared to tell the waiter you need a few more minutes to decide. In fact, the waiter might assume you know what you are doing when you peruse the wine list more carefully.

Decide if You Want Red or White

Whether you are with a date or business colleagues, be sure to ask them if they would like red or white. If they leave the decision up to you, consider the time of day when making your choice. If it is lunch, it is a safe bet to go with white. In addition, it is important to consider the type of restaurant you are in. The food will give you a good idea of what wine to go with. Our previous Cooking With Wine blog provides some insights on food and wine pairings. 


Determine Your Budget

Next, it is important to determine what you are willing to spend. Depending on your budget, this will eliminate a good chunk of wine from the list. Just consider being flexible in case there is no wine that is exactly within your price range.

Try Something New

You can always fall back on the wine you trust and know. But isn’t the point of dining out to experience new tastes? That is part of the fun. A good trick is to see what the restaurant specializes in. Typically, a restaurant will list much more of a certain wine. For example, if Italian wine takes up much of the list, it shows the owner’s preference. Consider going with their recommendation and specialty.

Ask the Waiter

From the wine that is left, select two or three that catch your eye. Ask the waiter what they can tell you about each wine. If they don’t know, they are likely to bring you someone who does. Pay close attention to what wine excites them the most.

Wine can make your meal and overall dining experience that much better. Like we said before, you don’t have to be a wine expert to impress your date, friends or co-workers. Simply follow these guidelines and you’re in for a much more memorable meal.


Here are some California Wines we think you’ll love: 

Bernard Cabernet Sauvignon

Sanctuary Chardonnay

Jekel Pinot Noir