Why Learn To Serve Wine Properly?
If you have ever bought a bottle of wine in a nice restaurant, you may have noticed that the server does not just pop the cork and pour you a glass, but instead goes through a specific process of opening the bottle, letting the buyer test the wine, then pouring in a specific manner.
This presentation may seem unnecessary, but like many formalities it is based on tradition, and serving wine in the proper manner shows that the restaurant knows what they are doing. Most restaurants want to give their guests the impression that they are very important customers, especially when they are going to pay top dollar for a bottle of wine!
This formal wine presentation adds to the atmosphere of exclusivity of the restaurant, and makes the guest feel important. When you are serving the wine, it shows that you are professional and know your business well.
7 Steps to Serving Wine in a Restaurant
Step 1: Set up wine glasses ahead of time. Make sure there is a glass for everyone who will be drinking wine. Make sure you have the proper glasses for the wine (red, white, or sparkling wines require different glasses). If you are not sure about the glass, go to my website and see my wine glass types page for a guide on which glass should be used with which wine (this is important!).
Step 2: Bring the wine up to the table. Present it to the person who ordered it with the label facing them. Announce the wine to them. For example, say “the 2003 Chateau Latour Pauillac, sir”. This is just so the person can verify that you brought them the correct bottle.
Step 3: Hold the bottle in one hand and use your wine key to remove the cork. Try to take out the cork without it making a pop. If it is champagne or sparkling wine, definitely do not pop the cork and shoot it across the room (even though it is fun)!
Step 4: Present the cork to the person who ordered the wine. Some people want to inspect it or sniff it to make sure it has not dried out.
Step 5: Pour a small amount into the glass of the head of the table (the person that ordered the bottle). Let him or her test it out to make sure it is OK.
Step 6: Fill up the glasses of the other guests, ladies first, in a clockwise order. Fill the host’s glass last. Only fill the glasses about half full.
Step 7: If there is any wine left in the bottle, leave it on the edge of the table (if it is a red wine) or in a chiller (if it is a white wine). The guests will then refill their own glasses as necessary.
These are the basic 7 steps for serving wine for a server or sommelier. There are other things to consider, including the serving temperature of the wine and whether or not you should aerate it or use a decanter. For more information on these subjects, go to my website.