Wine Pages

Mike Steinberger's Wine Diarist


5 Tips For Ordering Wine When You Are On A Date

It’s the night of your Big Date. You’re not nervous… But then you get handed that giant leather-bound wine list as thick as a textbook.
The anxiety is palpable.. and it seems like that list is growing in size with each passing moment.
Worry not! Simply follow these 5 tips the next time you’re in a jam at the dinner table, and your date will think you’re an old hand at the whole wine thing.
ASK YOUR DATE WHAT THEY LIKE TO DRINK You're out to impress, so doing something as selfless as asking your date to guide the wine decision can be a winning choice on your part. Who knows where that question might lead... maybe you'll end up discovering that your dinner companion is as clueless as you are about wine, and you can make a new discovery together.
GIVE YOUR SERVER THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHINE If you’re in a place that cares about the wines they serve, you’ll be in good hands by asking your server or sommelier to tell you about some of the wines that currently excite them. Lots of wine professionals love to geek out about something they love, and sharing their enthusiasm for a hidden gem in the restaurant’s cellar will certainly result in a great story from your evening out. Yielding control of the wine selection to your server is a great way to hedge your bets… and demonstrating your respect for the service staff’s knowledge and experience can also win you points with your date.
TELL YOUR SERVER THE TYPES OF WINE YOU TYPICALLY ENJOY Throw out a price range to help them know where to guide you (you can do this discreetly). This kind of info is incredibly helpful to the server because it's their job to ensure you are pleased with your wine regardless of price. So giving them a range helps them do just that. Beyond price, take a moment to tell them whether you enjoy wines that are light-bodied, full-bodied, fruity, dry, oaky, etc.
FIGURE OUT WHAT FOOD YOU PLAN TO ORDER FIRST ...then ask your server for help selecting a wine that complements what you will be eating. It can be white, red, sparkling, rosé, just about anything. the one thing you'll want to avoid is ending up with either the food or wine overpowering the other.
JUST ROLL THE DICE BY GOING FOR SOMETHING RANDOM If you find that your wine list contains more than the usual suspects, there might be a reason. Try exploring beyond your knowledge and comfort zone, and wing it with a wine selection from Idaho or Lebanon. Chances are the person who put the wine list together might have unearthed a hidden gem, and you'll be the lucky beneficiary.
DON'T STOP HERE! Want a quick and easy way to learn about wine? Then grab yourself a copy of the WINEBAER Food & Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet at