Who doesn’t love going out to eat?

It’s time to stop slaving over a hot stove or washing dirty dishes! Going out to a restaurant for dinner can provide you with an opportunity to relax, a chance to spend quality time with family and friends, and to truly enjoy your food and drinks. Speaking of drinks, it can often be a little nerve wracking to order a bottle of wine if you aren’t particularly familiar with the drink menu. Fear not! There’s no need to stress over ordering the wrong wine. Here are a few tips to help you become a master of ordering wine while fine dining!

Know What You Enjoy

Most of us have a certain type of wine that we enjoy more than others. Wines can differ between various blends, origins, and ages. If you have a favourite that you usually tend to drink, stick to what you like! If you enjoy white wine, simply ask your server or bartender which white wines they offer and which are their favourite. Most restaurants post a digital wine menu on their website these days. If you have the time, check online to help you get an idea in advance.  You could even jot down the names of a few interesting brands and try them at home. Trying new wines at home will be more cost-effective, especially in those cases where you don’t enjoy it. Even if you aren’t familiar with the kind of wine on the menu, why not try something new?

That’s why many people book wine tours in the Niagara Region, after all. To try new things!

Look for a Sommeliers List

Many restaurants will offer a wine list for customers to browse and choose from. Certain restaurants will even provide what’s called a “Sommelier’s List”. This list essentially highlights the most educated choices, acting as a “wine cheat sheet” if you will. If you’re too shy to ask your server which wines are most notable, simply ask for the Sommeliers List, and you’ll look like a pro. Just don’t mispronounce the name of the wine afterwards, or they will figure you out!

By the Glass or by the Bottle?

It’s important to factor in that most restaurants will mark-up the prices of a glass of wine. If you do the math, it’s usually more cost-effective to order a bottle. If you’re trying a new wine and you’re unsure if you will enjoy it or not, it may be wise to stick to a smaller glass, like the 5oz instead of a 9oz. That way, you aren’t left with an entire bottle of something you don’t enjoy.

If you plan on enjoying dinner with guests, why not try new wines together? This way, you can split the price of the bottle between the table, so the risk doesn’t have a huge impact on your wallet.

Ask Your Server or Bartender

When in doubt, ask! There’s no shame in asking your bartender or server about the different wines they offer. Chances are you aren’t the first customer to ask either. When you ask about the different kinds of wine they offer, it gives your server or bartender an opportunity to recommend the most popular wines (especially if they don’t offer a Sommelier’s List) or even mention which one is their personal favourite. They work there, after all – who would know the wine menu better than them?

In the meantime, why not further your knowledge of local wines in your free time? Booking a wine tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake can provide you with a new experience and further your knowledge of local wines. Not to mention, you might just find your next favourite!

Contact the experts at Niagara Vintage Wine Tours today to book your next tour!