Gusatore Delluva's Article On
Dealing With Restaurant Wine Stewards


Charming wine steward

Sometimes I wish my favorite restaurant had this guy for a wine steward. He won't embarras me in front of my party by recommending a vintage Bordeaux wine that blows my budget.

Our Introduction To Dealing With Restaurant Wine Stewards

Delluva tells you what you should know when ordering wine in a restaurant. He takes you through the steps. This article should be required reading for any candidate wine stewards.

Learn To Deal With the Wine Steward in Restaurants
By: Gusatore Delluva

Ordering wine in restaurants is an essential step in enjoying your dining experience. You will find that there are two types of restaurants serving wine: simply, those that have a poor wine service and poor wine selections, and those that provide a knowledgeable and helpful wine staff, and stock favorable wines.

When faced with a restaurant with a poor selection of wines or a server with no knowledge of wines, your best bet will be to order something you recognize. Even bad restaurants usually stock some familiar names that you can rely on and that you know are worth the money.

A wine list doesn’t have to be lengthy in order to be good. Restaurants that take pride in their wines hand pick them to compliment their menus so you are likely to have a good match with your meal. Another alternative is enjoying wine by the glass instead of by the bottle. Better restaurants will offer this choice as well as quality house wines. Their staff should be well informed, helpful, and respectful of your choices. They should also be willing to replace any wines that are not up to par.

Decide on your price range before ordering, and consider what type of food you will be eating If you let your wine steward know what you will most likely be ordering, he or she can help you make the best choice. You may want to inform them that you are having, for example, a seafood dish and that you enjoy something dryer. With this information, they may be able to recommend a nice Chardonnay in your price range. Selecting your wine should not be intimidating and a good wine steward should be able to help you make a good decision if you ask.

There are certain formalities that are involved in serving wine. Though they are mostly formalities, they are done for a reason and you should be aware of each step in order to recognize good wine service.

The first thing that will happen is that your wine will be retrieved, brought to the table, and presented to the person who ordered it with the label facing out. This allows for verification that the wine is the correct bottle and vintage. 

Next, you will want to check the temperature of the bottle with your hand. This will enable you to determine if your wine is too warm or too cold. If you find that your wine is not the correct temperature, you can request an ice bucket to chill it for a few minutes, or you can leave it to sit at room temperature to warm it up a bit Once you are satisfied with the temperature, you can let the steward know you are ready to be served. Most likely, this will not be necessary in a better restaurant

Once the bottle has been opened, the cork will also be presented. Though it is not necessary to smell the cork, you may want to do so to check for a moldy smell, which could indicate that the wine is tainted. Squeezing the bottom end of the cork will allow the small amount of wine there to be properly sensed.

Whether or not you have chosen to sniff the cork, the waiter will pour a small amount into a glass to be tasted. This is to determine whether or not the wine is acceptable. That is not to say that you should use this opportunity to decide if you like the wine, but only to make sure that the wine is not flawed. Before you taste it, though, you should also evaluate the wine using other senses.

How does the wine look? Is it bright or is it cloudy or murky? If it is cloudy, notice if it is from sediment. Red wines tend to develop a dark deposit over time, which can be relieved with decanting. Reds that are not as old should not have a brownish tinge and white wines should look pale to yellow. Pieces of cork in the wine are not great, but they do not make the wine faulty. White crystals on the cork are caused by tartrates, which are natural deposits in white wine and are also not signs of bad wine.

How does this wine smell? There are a few tell-tale signs that a wine is faulty. If it has a sherry-like smell, it may be a sign of oxidation. If the wine smells like vinegar, it will most likely taste like vinegar. Rotten egg smell is a sign of fermentation and faulty wine-making. A moldy or musty smell may indicate that the cork is bad and the wine will have a dull taste. The smell of sulphur (like a burning match) it is not necessarily a bad sign. Wineries sometimes use sulphur-dioxide to ensure freshness and it may be absorbed into the wine over time. This smell should lessen after standing for a few minutes.

The purpose of swirling your wine is to release the aroma. After smelling the wine, you can taste it.

Once you have used these methods to determine that you have selected a good wine, you should signal to your wine steward that you are ready to be served. They will then serve your party in a clock-wise fashion, ladies first, and ending with your glass.

About The Author

Gusatore Delluva is the owner and founder of Avia Wine, http://www.aviawine.com, a website dedicated to wine. If you would like to learn more about wine you can find more articles at: http://www.aviawine.com/newsletters

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