Ordering Wine

Published April 30, 2014

Ordering WinewebI’m not embarrassed to say that I enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner when we decide to go out for the evening to a favorite restaurant.

But many times I find the wine list quite overwhelming. Do we order a glass or a bottle? Which wine is best with the chosen entrees? These are just a few of the questions we all ask ourselves when we dine out.

Of course there are many people out there who are quite knowledgeable about wine.

But for those of us who may require a little assistance, here are a few helpful tips from North Shore resident and wine enthusiast, Charlie Cleghorn of Bimini’s Liquor Store in Kitsilano.

Probably one of the first questions we ask ourselves is do we prefer red or white? Most often it really is a question of personal taste. If you’re unsure, you may like to ask your server or wine steward to provide a suggestion based on your menu selection.

On the question of bottle versus glass, Cleghorn feels that ordering by the bottle is often a good economical choice if you and your party can agree on a selection.

However, ordering by the glass offers more flexibility to those at the table in terms of preferences and also allows the party to enjoy a pairing with each course, as one may prefer in a food-and wine-pairing scenario.

Just be prepared to pay more for the glass of wine as many restaurants have a considerable mark up on their wines by the glass as compared to bottles.

There is also the concern that the glass of wine may not be as fresh as one that comes from an unopened bottle. However, these days many restaurants are employing a new dispensing technology that keeps the wine fresh for longer periods of time and there is less worry of spoiling. This new technology has also allowed many restaurants to offer a broader selection of wines by the glass.

As far as ordering an expensive bottle of wine over a relatively inexpensive choice, Cleghorn states that the expensive wine often has a place in a celebratory dinner or special occasion.

Yet many restaurants are incentivized to move volume and the mediumto lower-priced wines may often be a better value.

At the lowest end of the range are the house wines and they are often selected to give the restaurant its greatest profit margin.

What this means is that without any brand association, the restaurant can still charge a reasonable amount for what they rate as being relatively lower quality wine. In the end, Cleghorn feels that sticking to the name brands is usually a safe bet.

There are many other guidelines and rules you can follow when ordering wine in a restaurant. If this is something you would like to learn more about contact Charlie at Bimini’s Liquor Store, 2018 West Fourth Ave., Vancouver or the helpful staff at the Dundarave Wine Cellar, 2448 Marine Drive, West Vancouver.