Two weeks ago, we recalled some rules of social Wine etiquette to follow at parties and some tips for hosts serving wineto their guests. Today, the focus is on wine etiquettein a restaurant. At some stage, most of us have experienced some uncertainty in the interaction with the restaurant’s sommelier - the person who has designed the wine list and should lead the customers to the right choice. In order to avoid this sort of hesitations, here follow some suggestions on how to order wine at the restaurant:

  1. Many restaurants allow customers to bring their own wine bottles from home and apply only a corkage fee. It is advisable to call the restaurant first to check whether it is possible to do so, without making any surprise!
  2. The home-brought wine does not necessarily have to be the most expensive label; however, bringing the cheapest bottle from an ASDA shelf will not impress the other dining companions nor solicit any interesting feedback from the sommelier;
  3. In the event of budget restraints, it is better to lead the sommelier towards the right pricing, for instance by showing interest only on wines within a specific price range, thus preventing the sommelier from pointing at unaffordable nectars;
  4. The cork: avoid smelling the cork like a sommelier. Customers are always asked to taste the wine anyway and it is the best way to assess whether the wine is up to the expected quality standards and not corked;
  5. If the cork looks clearly tainted or damaged, the waiter should replace the wine even without the need of any further tasting;
  6. It is generally accepted to gargle when sipping the wine, like at an educational wine tasting. So, no shyness, please!
  7. Bear in mind that if the wine ordered is in perfect condition but simply different from the customer’s expectations, the restaurant may not take it back; not their fault if you believed the Sicilian Red Monreale to recall the Spanish Tempranillo!
  8. There is no reason in complaining too harshly if the wine is corked or flawed; most times is not the restaurant’s fault;
  9. No offence given if the sommelier tastes the wine: on the contrary, it is a way to express carefulness towards the table.
  10. When sommeliers are very helpful, they should be told. Separate tips for sommeliers are usually welcome.

Next time, we will be focusing on the best way to taste sight, on the nose and in the mouth...that’s all for now: Libiamo!

Ten Tips for Improving Your Social Wine Etiquet

Prosecco vs Franciacorta: a forthcoming duel among Italian Sparkling Wineste in 2016