Being asked for a fine dining date and not sure how to deal with intimidating etiquette and table manner? In a highly connected society today, networking plays one of the most important role in everyday life. Even for the professionals, they are often asked to do job interviews, consultations, and meetings over lunch or dinner. The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself in front of your prospective boss or clients.
FantabulouZ would love to share some smart advices and tricks when it comes to wine dining etiquette. As we know, it is challenging to entertain business clients or to create immaculate first impression on a romantic date. It could be make-or-break moment. Being able to order a bottle of wine with confidence is a prerequisite, to be viewed as a sophisticated host. It is not a rocket science.
Follow our simple steps below; even with your limited knowledge of wine, you will shine FantabulouZly.
First thing first, there are three basic steps to order wine
- PRICE LIST
The tricky part is how to order wine based on your budget without announcing it to your guests. Start by selecting the wine categories that you would like to order in the wine list and pick the price of the wine that you are comfortable with. Next is the crucial part, point your finger to the sommelier or wine server on the price, rather than on the wine itself. 99% the sommelier will get the hint and will recommend wine based on that price range.
In a rare unfortunate occasion, you might be facing a sticky situation. What are you supposed to do when one of your guests order wine that is above budget? Well the tips above will come handy. When facing such situation, you may kindly advice your guest to seek recommendation from the sommelier. Remember, while asking for recommendation, you may gracefully place your fingers on the price range and again, the sommelier will recommend you within the appointed price range.
- SELECTING THE RIGHT WINE
After choosing the price, the most imperative is to select the right wine with the food. As the rule of thumb, red wine goes along with red meat and white with white meat. But there are MORE: other important aspects when it comes to food pairing.
There are SIX important components related to food-wine pairing, and here is the way to remember those components.
“SATurday Act like a Boss”
Sweetness means the amount of residual sugar present in the wine. Sweet wines, such as Icewine from Canada, will pair nicely with desserts, but do take note to choose a wine that is sweeter than the dessert itself, as the food consumed will eventually decrease the wine’s sweetness. The opposite of sweetness is recognized as “DRY” wine.
Acidity injects freshness to the wine. It gives tingling and sharp sensation; which causes your mouth to water. Acidity pairs perfectly with fat and acidic food. The level of acidity cuts through the fat and gives a nice balance to the overall food. It is like giving a good squeeze of lemon slice into a fish dish.
On the other hand, food with high acidity will blend just as well when paired with less acidic wine. Therefore, pasta dishes, particularly tomato-based, complement Italian wine, such as Barbera from Piemonte, which is predominantly high in acidity.
Tannin is a big word with wine especially in the world of RED. What does tannin taste like? Tannin is the bitterness that you can detect at the back of your tongue. It is the astringent, puckering sensations that you can feel on your gum. Generally, tannin describes the taste of red wine, although there are some exceptions in which it can also be found in white wines, through contact with oak barrels during maturation.
Tannic wine will always go perfectly with thick meat. As you are enjoying the meat with high tannic wine, it attracts fatty protein inside your mouth, taking them along the ride when you swallow and cleanses the palate for the next round of meat.
Alcohol level is the next thing to consider when you are ordering a wine. It is definitely not recommended to order spicy food like curry with wine that contains high percentage of alcohol and vice versa. Alcohol level also determines the wine’s weight/body. Thus, it is critical when it comes to wine pairing that will be discussed in next entry.
The alcohol content is the main contributor to a wine’s body as it gives viscosity and weight to the wine. Speaking about the body, there are three categories: light, medium and full body. Those three categories can be illustrated as the feel of skim milk, whole milk and full cream milk inside our mouth.
So how do we pair food with wine based on their body? The key of wine and food pairing is to find a good balance. Rich, heavy food like red meat will perfectly paired with full-bodied wine, for example, a medium steak paired with Shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley, while lightweight food like fish and seafood are good with delicate (light weight) wines such as Pinot Gris.
- WINE PRESENTATION
There is hidden etiquette when it comes to pouring of the wine. It is important to understand this etiquette especially when being the one who order the wine.
The sommelier or the wine server will showcase the bottle to the host and these are basic steps you have adhere with:
The wine server will open the bottle and by rule of thumb he/she will pour a little into the host’s glass and then waiting for your approval. This is what you should do next:
If you smell anything off like: wet cardboard, tainted corks, mouldy please do not hesitate to let the wine server know so they would be able to change it.
If everything is fine, the wine server will move to serve the person who is seated next to you and to all other guests first before coming back to you.
Other amazing HOT TIPs being an impressive host in a party:
“Pre-order a bottle of bubbly for the table even before people are seated. Usually the guests will be surprised and enchanted when they are offered a glass of cold sparkling wine even before they see the menu”
All of the above are some of the practical advices when it comes to basic wine pairings and etiquette. We hope you enjoy reading and learning from the article written, so in the future, especially all the FantabulouZ ladies out there, will have their confidence in ordering wine FantabulouZly!!!
Of course there are still many other factors to consider when ordering wine, for e.g. the difference of the tasting note and palate when it comes to different grape varieties. We will definitely discuss them more deeply in our next FANTABULOUZ article.
Cheers FantabulouZ people,
One of FantabulouZ Founders
Send your questions and comments to