Ordering Wine For Beginners

06/08/2018  \\\  Posted by By: Jennifer O’Neill  \\\  Wine 101

48% of American adults drink wine a few times a month. If you’re not sure of the difference between a Côtes du Rhône and a Château Méaume, though, choosing a wine on a date can seem impossible. From choosing a type, to a vintage, to knowing the correct procedure for tasting, the world of wine can be intimidating. But if you’re worried about picking the wine for your next date, don’t - there are a few simple guidelines that can turn wine from a headache into a relaxing, enjoyable experience.

What Are You Eating?

On a date, it’s likely that you’re having dinner at a restaurant, rather than just drinking wine. Lucky for you, this makes choosing your wine a lot easier - instead of worrying about particular notes, one of the simplest ways to pick a wine is when you’re pairing it with a meal. The easiest way to remember wine and food pairings is by color: red wines pair well with red meat, where lighter meats like fish pair well with white wines. Once you know that, you can delve into the particulars of different blends: acidic foods like tomato-based meals pair well with acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc, where lighter wines like Pinot Gris can pair well with salads or other light meals. When pairing a wine and food, you want to avoid a mismatch: the wine should complement the food, not clash with it. If you’re eating something bitter, for example, you don’t want a sweet wine like moscato - rather, a dry white or a full-bodied red will match well. The most important thing, of course, is to choose a wine you and your date will both enjoy: if you don’t like reds, then don’t order one, even with a steak.

How Are You Meant To Pick Up The Notes?

If you’re a wine novice, don’t worry about the discrete flavors in your wine. Learning to pick up notes takes time and practice, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to know it right away. When you taste a wine, the primary purpose is to see if you like it, and if it’ll go with your meal. Neither the sommelier or your date is expecting you to pick up the hints of other flavors in your wine - don’t sweat it. All you need to do is enjoy the wine.


Wine menus can be long and complicated, so there’s no shame in being intimidated by one. Keeping a few simple pairing guidelines in your mind can help you narrow down your choices, as well as knowing your personal preferences. As for your date, if they have any particular dislikes, they’ll make sure to tell you before you order. The most important thing, of course, is to make sure you have a good evening, so don’t try to stick to “rules” that tell you to choose something you don’t like. Just remember, there’s a wine out there for everyone.