Why You Should Never Order the Second Cheapest Wine on the Menu
Plus 4 other wine-ordering no-nos
It’s been a DAY. You’ve definitely earned that glass--er, bottle--of Sauv Blanc. But don’t just wing it with the wine list. Here, five things you should never do when ordering vino at a restaurant.
DON’T PICK THE HOUSE WINE
Unless you’re in Napa, where delicious wine flows like water, you can expect the quality of the house to be majorly sub-par. And FYI, according to sommeliers, the price per glass is usually what the restaurant paid for the entire bottle. (Cough, cough, rip-off!)
OR FALL FOR FOR THE “SECOND CHEAPEST BOTTLE” SCAM
You think you’re soooo sneaky going for this not-a-total-cheapskate route. But watch out: Restaurants actually plan for this, giving the second cheapest bottle the highest markup overall…as much as 400 percent! In other words, you’re probably better off just going with the cheapest, if cost is your concern.
SKIP THE NAME BRANDS
Sure, you looooove Robert Mondavi, but brand names don’t come cheap on restaurant menus. You’re better off consulting the bartender or sommelier for something new with a similar taste…and non-recognizable label.
DON’T ASK TO SMELL THE CORK
It’s a myth that this is the best way to know if a bottle is good or bad. A better plan: Sniff the wine in your actual glass. If it smells like fruit or a little bit smoky, it’s good to go. If you notice it smells like vinegar or musty (like an attic), mention it to your waiter and see about getting something else.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT MISPRONUNCIATIONS
Unless you majored in viniculture, there’s no reason you should know how to pronounce Petite Sirah or Montepulciano. You get an A for effort of course, but when the bartender takes your order, it’s totally fine to open up the wine list and point.