1. Do not be intimidated by the sommelier:
The sommelier, or the wine steward, is there to help you choose the best wine to go with your food, so don’t shy away from asking him or her for recommendations.
2. You’re not bound by the sommelier’s suggestions:
First, be specific about your price preference, as well as varietal, vintage or label, if you have any. Be open to the wine steward’s recommendations, but don’t be afraid to refuse it, especially if the wine is outside your budget.
3. Unsure of the pronunciation?:
Simply points to the wine’s name on the list.
4. Make sure the wine is not ‘off’:
When the steward brings the bottle to the table, he should show you the label before opening, so you can check that it’s the wine you ordered. Once it’s uncorked, check the bottom of the cork for cracks or dryness — it implies the wine was not stored properly. Finally, taste a sample for any ‘off’ flavours.
5. When to send the bottle back: If the wine seems faulty, ask the sommelier for his/her opinion before sending it back. If you are served a wine that’s more expensive than what you ordered, you should pay the cost of the original.
6. Guests should be served first: If you are the host, especially at a formal business dinner, etiquette demands that your guests should be served first.