Would you like to taste the wine?

When I go to a restaurant, I usually order wine, preferably a full bottle.  When the wine is finally opened and presented, the vast amount of wait-staff personnel will ask prior to serving: “Would you like to taste the wine?”  There is a much preferred way to present the wine by the waitperson.

serving-wine-2The person, who is going to initially review the wine that will be served to the other people at the table, should first smell the empty wine glass for foul aromas, possibly left by soap or poor glass storage.  If all is acceptable with the empty glass neutral aroma, the waitperson should then pour a small amount into the glass and follow with the question: “Does the wine meet your approval for serving?”

The person reviewing the wine should not just taste the wine to ascertain if he or she merely enjoys the taste. The person reviewing the wine should first determine if the wine is corked or not.  This is accomplished by smelling the wine in the glass.

Corked? A corked wine gives off a smell that is similar to wet cardboard, a moldy basement, a wet newspaper or a wet dog. When you taste the wine, a typical corked wine-taste will be “off” and not exciting, exhibiting no fruit characteristics. Some people also find that a corked wine can taste astringent and tingles their tongue.


A few other hospitable responsibilities of the person who is reviewing the wine should be to look at the wine’s color, and if the wine was age-worthy for acceptable serving to the other guests.  Color can sometimes be deceptive.  A brownish red could show premature age due to poor wine storage, usually from a heated storage area.  Is the wine evident of sediment or tartrates (wine diamonds) in the glass?  Perhaps the bottle should be decanted, especially if it is a bit older.

Ok – let’s say the wine is acceptable. Now is when the waitperson should be directed to pour wine. The waitperson (if properly trained) should remember the golden rule of ladies first, beginning to the left of the host, followed by serving the gentlemen; but never should the first glass be poured to the host.

Restaurants could benefit from the advice and expertise of a good wine purveyor who is trained in wine service, possibly as a sommelier.  The subtleties of proper wine service are at the least subliminal, but more often it is most appreciated by the restaurants’ guests.  A good salesperson should have the proper knowledge of restaurant wine service and be willing to offer his or her assistance in training the client-restaurant’s staff in proper wine service.  Even the most casual restaurants are far better recognized by their customers with proper wine service.

Please contact Michael Romano at Romano Brands Fine Wines for any questions on commercial/home wine service or any wine pairing concerns you might have, please call us at (646) 948-1100.


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