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Proper Etiquette for Ordering Wine in a Restaurant
by Darryl Roberts
Magazine Issue: Internet Only
If you follow these simple steps when ordering wine in a restaurant, you'll be certified and branded a wine geek. This will make you extremely popular with readers of "other" wine magazines, and gain you instant membership into the country club of your choice. Remember, keep a rude and obnoxious air about you. And never, ever, let them see you smile.


If your waitperson doesn't present you with the winelist immediately upon being seated, seem baffled. It's obvious, isn't it, that you're interested in ordering a bottle of wine? Moron. If the waitperson presents you with the winelist immediately, simply ignore it. You obviously can't be bothered with so much so soon.


When considering the winelist, note its size and weight. If it seems thin, smirk and direct a few condescending chuckles toward its limited contents. If the winelist seems too thick and heavy, do the same. After all, how can you effectively choose from so many selections.


Even if you know what wine you want, make your waitperson come back at least three to four times to ask if you're ready. It shows you don't make rash decisions when it comes to important matters such as wine.


Never ask how to pronounce a winery name, type of wine or grape varietal. If it's unpronounceable, simply point to it and exclaim, "I believe we'll be having this, thank you" and quickly close the list. This way the waitperson will have reopen the winelist and ask you about your selection. Never, never let them show you the list and simply point to your selection to confirm it. Busy yourself. Make them read the unpronounceable name(s). If they can't, laugh at them. If they can, look at them as if they're a moron. Of course that's what you ordered!


After choosing your wine, firmly clap the wine list shut in the waitperson's face. This reminds them that they're working a minimum wage job.


When the wine arrives, be sure to take your time making sure it's the bottle you ordered. Chances are your waitperson's got five tables worth of food currently getting cold in the kitchen. This'll teach them who's in control.


If it's the wine you ordered, nod ever so slightly. This'll confuse your waitperson. Did you approve it or not? If they take the wine away, grab it firmly and immediately, pulling it closer for more inspection. If they continue to hold the wine in front of you, glare up at them with a "today already" look.


When the sample is poured for your approval, do every conceivable evaluation test you can think of. Hold it up to the room lights for a thorough inspection. Hold it up to the emergency exit light for a different view. Tilt it against the white tablecloth to scrutinize its clarity. (Your waitperson now has six tables waiting for their dinner.) Smell it. Smell it again. Furrow your eyebrows and smell it again. Is it a bad bottle? (Of course not, but make them think you can smell a rose from a mile away.) Now swirl. Smell. Swirl again. Smell again. Check the color one more time. Smell one more time. Seem pensive. A bit confused. Pause for at least a minute, staring into your glass like you see the Virgin Mary swimming inside. Now, sip slowly. Pause. Now start chewing on the wine. Swish it around. Make more noise and commotion than a Hoover WetVac. Now, swallow. Contemplate for at least another minute. Make sure your waitperson sweats, trying to guess which way you'll go. Then, throw up your hands and mumble "I guess."


Never let the wine be the right temperature. If it feels a bit warm, ask for an ice bucket, loudly ridiculing the restaurant's storage system. If it feels a bit cool, cuddle your wineglass in your hands as if trying to unfreeze it. Shake your head and act annoyed. This sucks.


During your dinner, make your waitperson fill your glass when low or empty. Never, ever do it yourself. This, again, reminds them of who's waiting on who.


When the bottle is empty, ask your waitperson if you can take the label from the bottle home. This'll require at least 10 minutes of their time to steam it off, and give your ample room to figure out their seven percent tip.

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