How to order wine in a restaurant (without feeling like an idiot)

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Tracie P and I feel so lucky to to belong to the international wine professional community.

We can travel to LA, San Francisco, New York, Langa, Siena, Rome, and even Paris, and our industry friends and colleagues always welcome us with professional courtesy.

But I also know what it’s like to feel the cold shoulder of the trade when I visit an unfamiliar venue.

It’s sad but it’s true: we all know that feeling of being seated at the “kids table” in a restaurant where there’s no previously established relationship.

In my post today for the Houston Press, I am brutally honest when I write that I’ve been treated like shit by snotty sommeliers (the exception to the rule, no doubt, but unfortunately something that happens more often that you’d like to think).

I’ll never forget the snooty sommelier in NYC who refused to pour me a 96 Poderi Colla Barolo Dardi Le Rose because she thought it was “too tannic for someone like me.”

I’ll never forget the absurdist sommelier in Chicago with a tongue pierce who refused to even consider that a 95 Grivot Clos de Vougeot was corked (there wasn’t even an offer of something by-the-glass as he turned to lecture the table next to mine on Sagrantino).

I’ll never forget the holier-than-thou sommelier at a Michelin 3-Star in Padua who lectured me on Rio Sordo after pouring me a über-barriqued, cherry-cough-syrup-flavored wine from my least favorite producer of the cru, even after I had told him that I like traditional-style Nebbiolo. Why bother telling him that my wife and I slept at the top of Rio Sordo on our honeymoon at the Cascina delle Rose?

This type of thing happens to the best of us.

And it happens to the little people like me, too.

Here’s my post today for the Houston Press on “How to order a bottle of wine in a restaurant (without feeling like an idiot).”

3 thoughts on “How to order wine in a restaurant (without feeling like an idiot)

  1. Speaking of ordering wine in a restaurant–I have good friends going to Sotto tonight. Do you have any favorites on the list right now? I don’t know there specific preferences, but they are generally adventurous with wine and food…

  2. Hate to say it but I have had the absolute worst luck with Somms and like I you I never want to be, “That” guy and point out what it is I do. Truth is, shouldn’t have to because they should just treat everyone well. I had sort of assumed that I was brushed off or ignored because I was a woman, which isn’t really fair I guess, but dammit…I sure wish I’d have better luck. Good piece Jeremy.

  3. Love this post 2B. This sort of happened to me just this last week (I just laugh it off) and is one of two reasons I will never go back to Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa.

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