It can be embarrassing if you are out on a date at a fancy restaurant and you don't know the right wine to order, it's even worse if you are out with another couple. Even though ordering a bottle of wine while dining out isn't all that different than buying from a winery you do have people watching you and that can make the situation a little uncomfortable if you don't have at least some kind of knowledge of basic wines. The thing to remember is that not even the so-called wine masters that go to all the wine tasting events know every wine. What is important to you as a novice is to just study up a little if you have a big date coming up and you have an idea where you are going and what kind of food and wines are likely to be there. You should also try to get an idea of what the cost will be ahead of time so you aren't surprised by that as well. The majority of dining establishments these days offer a wine list but that list can vary even more than the meal selection of various restaurants.
Usually the wine list will be printed on a menu just like the food selection and the different types of wines will be listed by the color and type of wine as well as by region plus the smarter restaurateurs will have the list numbered which keeps you from having to try to pronounce that fancy French or Italian wine properly. What type of meal you will be eating is of superior importance when considering what wine to order. This is when it pays to have done your homework or at least be familiar with the wines that the particular restaurant you are dining at offers. If you are in a higher class restaurant they will usually have a wine steward you can ask for advice as well. Now that we have some of the preliminaries out of the way, let's look at some more specific advice.
One thing you should avoid in most cases is ordering the house wine, it is there out of convenience and like most things in life that are convenient they come with a price. House wines generally are marked up in price more than others; you may get a much better wine for only a few dollars more. To help you avoid overpaying look over the wine list and note the average price, if you keep around that figure you should be safe.
Thirdly, you should order a wine that is from the same region as the food you are ordering if at all possible. If you are dining at a restaurant known for exquisite Spanish meals then Spanish wines should be made available. You can also ask your waiter for some suggestions and if they have any specials that he recommends. Keep in mind when you are ordering that if you plan on having a few glasses of wine it is always less expensive to order a bottle.
Gregg Hall is a consultant for online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida. Find out about personalized wine bottles at http://www.winebottlespersonalized.com