Navigating A Restaurant Wine List

Just like you trust the chef to create delicious meals, you should also trust your server or the restaurants sommelier to give good wine advice. However, knowing a few simple tips about ordering wine will decrease your stress level and get you that wine to enjoy even faster.

Bubble alternatives

If you are ordering Champagne, you will be paying top dollar for those premium bubbles from the Champagne region in France. Instead, try sparkling wine from a different region of the world like California or Spain. These bubbly alternatives are made from the same grapes as Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and are made with the same method as Champagne but are a fraction of the cost. Try a Californian Gloria Ferrer Brut Cuvée or a Spanish Montsarra Brut.


Save money by ordering half bottles of wine. This option works well if you want to pair different wines with different courses. Half bottles also work well for parties of two when the dinners ordered are drastically different. For example, you may want the nice delicate filet of sole and your husband wants a New York Steak. You need to choose different wines! Half bottles also work well when you just don’t want an entire bottle of wine.

Pricing as a guide

If you are not sure which wine to order but know a price range you would like to stay, point to a price on the wine list so the server or sommelier can guide you. That way you are not spending more than you want to and the server or sommelier should be able to suggest wines in your price range that compliment your meal.

Drink what you like!

When it comes to food and wine pairing, the most important thing is to drink what you like! If you are a die-hard Pinot Noir fan and it is the only wine you like to drink, then by all means drink that with your delicate white fish. Although, I would recommend the salmon instead!


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