All Wined Up

The Gentlemen’s Guide: 3 Steps to Ordering Wine like a Pro

8925965384_6fa145c4b2_z Photo credit to The Big Shizzle

Guest post by Justin Harrison

Gents, here’s your job on a date: Be charming. Be intelligent. Be a great conversationalist. Oh, and wear a clean shirt. Basically, be the Renaissance man your date’s girlfriends only wish their man could be. A major step toward achieving this goal is knowing how to properly and confidently select the right bottle of wine while on a date. If being handed the wine list at a restaurant gives you the sweats and the shakes, fret no more; the good folks at DC Wine Week have your back. Follow these simple steps to woo any lucky lady with your wine-ordering skills.

Do your homework. Check out the restaurant in advance so you can be familiar with the menu and wine list prior to arriving. If your lady is really into wine, a little familiarity can really be a great conversation starter, and it will set the tone for a great evening.

Ask questions. It’s not unmanly to ask the server or sommelier for help. Think of them as your wingman or wingwoman for the night, as they want to ensure you have a great night entertaining your date. The key to showcasing your familiarity with wine is HOW you ask the question. Asking, “What wines do you like on the list?” is a great way to engage the server. Also, if you have a favorite wine varietal that you consistently pick up from your local wine shop or Trader Joe’s, subtly provide the server with clues to your favorite wine styles by asking, “I typically drink [name a grape/winery]. Is there something similar you would recommend?” Any good sommelier or server should be able to take your clues and provide a great wine recommendation for the evening.

Remember the “6 S’s” of wine tasting: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, but Save the Show. If you decide to order a bottle for the table, here’s the quick and easy process to sample and approve your selection like a pro. The sommelier or waiter pours. Take a look at the wine to make sure there’s no cloudiness. Swirl the wine to allow oxygen in the glass causing those beautiful aromas to open up. Give it a quick sniff to ensure nothing funky is going on in your glass. Sip the wine to obviously make sure it tastes good. Pause. Give the server or sommelier the nod of approval, and go back to entertaining your date. Easy. This should be a quick and casual process. No slurping. No deep inhales. Save the performances for the post-dinner festivities.

The number one rule above all is to have fun and enjoy the company of your date. Remember, the best way to learn about wine is to keep drinking wine, so why not share these experiences with an awesome companion?

What is your go-to wine while out on a date?

Justin is a native Washingtonian, certified wine professional, and founder of, a DC-based startup that is modernizing the wine subscription club by creating a buying experience that is personalized to your taste. You can follow Justin on Twitter via @jharrison233.