10 Wine Serving Tips for Restaurants or Home Entertaining

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I LOVE wine!  

Not all wines, I love dry red wines with bold, fruity, spicy undertones.  

I LOVE GOOD wine!  However, I am not going to lie, I am not a fine connoisseur of wines.

I am a normal, average, everyday wine lover.  

My pet peeve is to go to a bar or restaurant and they don’t have one brand of wine, or they have the cheapest wine they can buy…in single serving sizes. The worst experience a wine lover can have is to go to a restaurant (especially a fine dining restaurant) and order a glass of cabernet and the waitress or bartender goes off and pours you the house wine without offering you a wine list first! Seriously?  Now, let’s use this example…my husband asks for a wheat beer, the bartender or waitress doesn’t run off and pick the cheapest wheat beer and give him a glass.  They offer him his choices and to try a sample…why not do this with wines?  

The perfect wine ordering conversation:

Me:  “I would love a glass of wine.”

Bartender:  “That sounds great, do you have a favorite red or white, sweet or dry?:

Me: “A dry red.”

Bartender:  “Here is a list of all our choices, let me know if you would like to taste any or have questions.”

The bartender then hands me the wine menu for dry red wines.

I know you are going to say that wine is expensive and to open a bottle for a taste is not wise business.  I guess, if the wine is denied, you could then sell it as a by the glass or offer as a house wine of the night.  However, I am pretty certain, if you have chosen the wines wisely, they will accept the wine and enjoy the fact you know your wines.

Wine Serving Tips Everyone can serve good wine
Even on a train, you can get good wine!

My knowledge of wine is in the flavor, not the year, the vineyard, or the price (although, I do know the best medium priced wines at the store).  I question, no, I challenge all restaurants to get to know their wine!  Don’t just throw some bottles behind the bar and say, “Yes, we have wine.” You need to learn about wine!  If you want a wine lover to frequent your establishment, get GOOD wine!  Definitely, not the single serve, cheap wines.  Carry actual wines that have a decent flavor, aroma and are pleasant to drink.  If you don’t sell enough to open a bottle and serve by the glass, sell by the bottle only.

Paint Party and Drinking Wine - Tips for serving wine at parties 

Understanding the different types and flavors of wines, the many serving temperatures of wines, and the proper serving of wine is something every bar owner/bartender/server should understand.  It doesn’t matter if you actually like wine, you need to know about wine to buy it, store it, and serve it to customers.  

Wine Serving tips

Wine Serving Tips from a Wine Lover!

Wine Serving Tip 1 – All restaurants or when you are entertaining should have various red (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Malbec, Zinfandel, Chianti) and white (i.e. Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Prosecco, Moscato) wines to serve.  Even if you are having a small dinner party or you are a small bar in the middle of nowhere, chances are you will encounter a wine lover.  Having choices will make them happy!  Are you worried the wine won’t be used? Wine, if stored correctly, will hold up for years if not opened! 

***Hint to bars/restaurants – A person who loves wine will be more likely to spend the money on a bottle of unopened wine than to buy a glass of cheap wine that lacks flavor or one of those cheap single-serve bottles. 

***Special Note – Most states allow the consumer to take home wine leftovers.  However, each state has different laws pertaining to this, you should check the laws in the state you are in for further information. Here is a great site that lists the states and their wine takeout laws, Winedoggybag.com has a list of states and rules per state.  

Wine Serving Tip 2 – Do not automatically serve the house brand or serve the cheapest brand available!  Always give your friends and customers a list.  Most likely, your friends and customers will be pleased by having choices.  For bars/restaurants most wine consumers will go for a medium priced glass or buy a bottle if they plan on a few glasses (don’t forget to offer this choice to your customer).

Wine serving tip carry many different types of wine

Wine Serving Tip 3 – Serve wine in the correct vessel.  Yes, the vessel you serve wine in does affect the aroma and flavor of the wine. Every restaurant/bar should carry at least 6 red wine glasses and 6 white wine glasses, even if you don’t have a large wine drinking fan base.  For more information on wine glasses, this is a great article Types of Wine Glasses.

Wine Serving Tip 4 – Learn how to open a bottle of wine correctly.  Especially in a bar/restaurant situation! You need to train your staff on the proper serving of wine.  Open the bottle at the table, pour a small amount in the correct vessel, allow the customer to swirl, smell, and taste the wine.  Not everyone is a fine connoisseur of wine, but they can still smell, swirl, and taste to make sure we want to spend money on a bottle of wine.  Here is a great video on how to open a bottle of wine How to Open a Bottle of Wine.    Wine Serving tip - Get a good corkscrew and learn how to open the wine properly

Wine Serving Tip 5 – Know what the proper temperature for serving wine.  Nothing irritates me more than ordering a cabernet and having it served ice cold!  Here is a good site that goes over appropriate serving temperatures, Vine Pair on The Right Temperature to Serve Wines

Wine Serving Tip 6 – Know what you are serving and suggest wines that will pair well with the main dish.  Bars/restaurants can suggest wine pairing on your menu. If you have food specials for the night suggest a wine that would pair well with the special and have a few extra bottles on hand, just in case.  Wine Serving Tips suggest wine pairing with certain dishes on the menu

Wine Serving Tip 7 – Invest in a good corkscrew, The Best Corkscrew by Foodandwine.com.  Watching a host/hostess or a bartender/server fight the cork is never an appealing sight.

Wine Serving Tip 8 – Store open wines appropriately and discard in a timely manner (or use in the kitchen to make some amazing sauces).   Here is a great article on storing wine. Storing Wine by Winecoolerdirect.com.

Wine Serving Tip 9 – Bars and restaurants can understand what your customers want s by buying a case or two of a nice wine each month and put it at a special price.  This tempts the customer to buy the special and if it turns out to be a hit, you know you should carry that wine all the time, at a higher price of course.  Wine Serving Tip buy cases of wine and suggest them as pairing or serve at a special price

Wine Serving Tip 10 – Have a “Wine Wednesday” or host a “Saturday Tasting” This can be two-fold…getting rid of older wines you no longer want to carry or store and help you learn your customers/friends pallets so you can have wines on hand that customers/friends enjoy drinking.  Bars and restaurants, you won’t want to lose your shirt in the deal, but you can get a nice medium priced wine for about $15.00 a bottle, you can get 5 glasses out of the bottle, so sell it for $6.00 a glass or $26.00 and still make a decent profit.  This will allow your customer to taste the wine, fall in love with it, and order it for $10.00 a glass when they come back on Friday night.

What tips do you have for serving wine at home or in a bar/restaurant? 

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  1. Trina November 24, 2019 at 2:07 am

    Great tips! Maybe should should print or email this post to restaurants. I will say here in the South that they are good to give tasting before you order a glass.

  2. Nancy February 21, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for the helpful wine tips.

    1. Linda February 23, 2018 at 7:53 am

      You know me and wine!

  3. Megan February 14, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I love dry red wines too! Yum!

  4. Verla February 8, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Wine talk makes me feel good. Thank you for this.

    1. Linda February 9, 2018 at 6:42 am

      Thanks! I live wine!


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