The Wine Selection Tip To Follow When Faced With An Overwhelming Menu

Wine can be somewhat mysterious and downright intimidating if you don't know much about it. There's so much to know about wine that it becomes difficult to understand the nuances in taste, color, and aroma unless you're a professional sommelier. 

According to, Americans didn't even have the privilege of regularly enjoying wine until around 1849, during the Gold Rush. Before that, wine was only for the elite. During the Gold Rush, people worldwide came to California seeking fortune and drinking plenty of the good stuff, including wine. As they settled in California, vineyards began to appear. Still, most wine in America would be imported until the 1960s, when Americans finally began to take more interest in wine.

Thankfully, you can now sample hundreds of varieties of wine from all over, including regions in your own backyard. Wine can be enjoyed by itself but different varieties also pair with particular foods. A dark Cabernet red enhances your juicy steak, while a crisp Chardonnay pairs well with your seafood dish (via Hope Family Wines). Pairing wines properly can bring more flavor and enjoyment to a meal. But what if you don't know how to do it? What about wine beginners or those who love wine but haven't had enough experience to match the right bottle with the right food? No worries. There is one very important wine selection tip to follow when faced with an overwhelming menu.

Choosing your wine

If you've ever been handed a wine list as long as a novel while seated among friends at a fine restaurant, you know the pressure can be daunting. You're holding the list, so you can either attempt to make a decent choice or pass it on to someone else, letting the table know you aren't the one to choose the wine. That's fine, but wouldn't it be more fun to impress everyone with your wine selection skills? You truly can, even if you don't know a ton about vino.

James Suckling, a wine industry critic, explains to MasterClass that if the wine list is extensive and overwhelming, simply choose a wine you know is easy to drink and that most people enjoy. It doesn't have to pair perfectly. However, if you're still unsure, it's best to politely ask the on-staff sommelier (if they have one). If you let your server know you would enjoy some advice about the wine list, the restaurant's sommelier will be happy to share their passion and knowledge with you.

Also, sometimes wine lists will have suggestions or descriptions that share what the wines pair well with. In that case, Wine Cooler Direct recommends you let the food decide which bottle of wine is best.