The knowledge that wine can come in countless different flavors can often leave you with a feeling of dread especially when you are choosing wine at a restaurant. At the outset, remember that there is not a single perfect wine because after all, it really does depend on your own taste buds. Even an expensive wine that tastes perfect for one person can taste far from perfect for someone else.
If possible when ordering wine in a restaurant, ask for a wine you personally prefer or have become familiar with the taste of. This approach removes the risk from choosing wine that may not be a good match for your meal or your dining companions.
However, if you don’t have any idea about choosing wine for the occasion, or if you are just plain feeling adventurous, then go ahead and ask the help of the waiter taking your order.
Better still, if the restaurant has a specialist wine waiter or sommelier, speak to this person.
At any rate, it is a fair assumption that most waiters have been given information about the wines in the restaurant, and at least some basic training in wine selection and serving. In this situation you will have some help choosing wine for your meal.
But if the waiter is equally ignorant about the restaurant wine list the big decision is left in your hands. In this case, ask the waiter to come back shortly and then ask your companions about their preferences. Even if your dining companions are not very knowledgeable about choosing wine, they will at least be able to say if they would prefer red or white wine.
With that decision made as a start, you can assume that the most common choices would be chardonnay for white wine or cabernet sauvignon for red wine, as these are known as the kings of white and red wine respectively. Either of these would be a safe choice.
In most restaurants ordering wine by the bottle is usually cheaper than ordering wine by the glass so if you can get consensus at the table you can also make some savings.
Whether or not you have a limited budget, it is always wise to ask for the price of wine per bottle or per glass if you do not have a wine list to refer to. Over time you will gain a basic knowledge of which wines are very expensive and those which are not, but this does vary considerably from restaurant to restaurant.
Finally, after choosing wine that you believe to be the best option for the table, always check the label to see it matches what you believe you ordered. Make sure you taste a little of the wine (even if it comes in a screw cap bottle) to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises. After having successfully completed the wine choosing, now you can relax and do the wine enjoying!