For our latest tips and recipes visit my companion blog
Learn More about the cookbook that started it all, now updated, revised and better than ever!
I have found that most people want to enjoy wine, but that many of them just feel frustrated and confused by all the jargon and pomp and circumstance. I believe learning about wine should be simple, without attitude and above all else, lots of fun! So here are my 5 secrets to ordering a great bottle of wine every time:
• Ask the sommelier or server for suggestions. Most are eager to help and have tasted most (if not all) of the wines on their list. Those of us who have chosen wine as a career enjoy drinking wine every night but don’t necessarily have large budgets. Sommeliers and servers will know the best bargains because that is what we are drinking at home!
• If you are on a budget but don’t want the client to know that, point out a wine in your price range and then for an alternate suggestion. Any good server will recommend something within $10 of the wine you pointed out. Don’t go for the least expensive bottle however; look for the second or third level wines. The lowest priced wines are actually marked up the most sometimes 4 or 5 times cost whereas higher priced wines might only be marked up 2 times cost.
• Let’s face it we are not experts in French, Spanish or Italian but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the wine right? If you find a great wine you want to order but are afraid to pronounce it, look for the Bin Number listed to the left of the wine. Many restaurants use these as a method to organize their wine inventory. If the list does not list bin numbers then point to the wine in question and any astute server will get the message.
• Resist the temptation to order the cult favorites like Opus One or other highly sought after wines with name recognition. These wines are expensive because like Gucci or Cartier the brand’s status is part of what you are paying for. Many times you can find wines that are similar in quality for much less especially if you are willing to try lesser known grape varietals or regions. Ask your sommelier or server they will be able to recommend the best buys.
• Try to taste as much as you can at home or at free in-store tastings. Retail wines are usually only marked up 30-50% over cost as opposed to the standard 2-3 times cost markup at a restaurant. Experimenting at home will give you the experience to order great wine you’ll love when you are out!
About the Author: Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach®, combines her extensive knowledge of wine with her experience as a life coach. As The Wine Coach®, Laurie creates unique and fun corporate events, private events and tours that help people de-mystify wine one glass at a time. To learn more about The Wine Coach® and to sign up for her FREE Weekly Wine Tips, visit www.TheWineCoach.com