The Right Way To Order Comfortably-Priced Wine At A Restaurant

If you've spent years learning about obscure grape varieties and have a wealth of wine knowledge, selecting the right variety to pair with your food in a restaurant may be a breeze. However, for most of us, ordering a bottle of wine can create anxiety. When looking at the wine list you might be worrying if the one you choose will make you look cheap or maybe you're even panicked that you'll order the wrong thing. 

Of course, you can ask your server or a sommelier for help, since they're the experts, but giving the server guidance about the price you're comfortable with is critical, lest you feel pressured into ordering a wine that's beyond what you wanted to spend. Fortunately, there's a simple solution to alleviating anxiety and getting an affordable-for-you bottle of wine. Here's the trick — tell the server or sommelier roughly what you'd like to spend or point to options on the menu that you're comfortable with.

Why you should be up-front about cost when it comes to wine

A good sommelier knows every wine on their list and they know which wines pair best with which dishes. But part of assembling and selling a good list requires having suitable options in a range of prices. Telling a server you want a moderately priced wine isn't specific enough because a $40 bottle may be a splurge for some, while for others, a $400 bottle is suitable for an ordinary Tuesday night.

Your best bet is to either specify a price or a price range or simply point at the section of the wine list that has offerings in a scope that you're comfortable with when you're asking for a recommendation. And if you think the sommelier won't appreciate your guidance in terms of the cost, you're wrong. Good sommeliers want you to be pleased with and feel good about your selection, regardless of how much you're spending. Part of that process is putting the right-priced bottle on your table. Be direct and you'll be far more likely to end up with a wine that's priced in a way that's comfortable for you.