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Wine Etiquette - How to Order Wine on a First Date


First dates are very fragile affairs. They are about two individuals testing the waters to decide if they are compatible enough or if it is worthwhile spending your gunpowder in a relationship with the other person. On a first date you would probably have many things to worry about, but if I were you I would certainly make sure that I don't look like a dummy when ordering wine.

Why would you bother ordering wine if you don't know anything about it? That's a good question. The great thing about ordering wine on a date is that one bottle is normally about four and a half glasses and can be elegantly shared by two people without anybody getting drunk. You should find something in common and the wine order gives you this opportunity right from the start. The other good aspect of ordering a bottle of wine is that you can show some good manners while refilling your date's glass.

However, there are certain things you should know before ordering wine on a first date.

Call the restaurant in advance and ask for recommendation. Ask for their daily specials, what light entrees they have in the menu, what wine goes well with them and all kind of information that might be useful for you. Request a nice table for a first date, whatever that means to you. Just make sure you don't call during service time in order to get better attention.

First, you need to decide what kind of wine you want - white, red, rose or sparkling wine. This is perhaps the most important decision, and of course, how much you can afford to pay for a bottle of wine. As a rule of thumb, it is harder to select a good red wine. Therefore, when you have no clue about your date's wine preference it may be wise to steer clear of the red wine section. If she has not acquired a taste for any specific type of wine, then you should certainly order one of those two, rose or white wine. Just steer clear of bone dry whites or very sweet ones.

Sparkling wine can make you appear a little Puff Daddy or if you go for a cheaper version, cheap puff, so this is usually best avoided.

Don't be afraid to refuse a wine after tasting it.

How much are you willing to spend? Remember, more money doesn't always mean more quality. But, on the other hand you don't want to appear cheap, so stay away from both ends of the price range. If you want to impress, look for something other than the house white. Bear in mind that you simply want a drinkable wine that does not offend the taste of your companion and is a nice background for a good conversation.

If you are really not sure what to choose, why not ask your server to match each course with a nice glass of wine. Give him your polite instruction of what you expect to go with your light meals and let him do the job.

Of course, you could always give your companion the choice, just don't give it to the chef, he will choose the most expensive wine.

When it comes to a great meal you should always consider a great wine. When it comes to choosing where to go for a first date you should consider a nice, small intimate sushi bar. Take that idea from me. Sushi is healthy, fun and a good conversation starter.


Chef George Krumov
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last two decades he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.

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