Becoming a Server? Here’s What You Should Know About Wines

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Any wine lover, sommelier, or server should know the difference between white and pink wines. Wine knowledge for wine servers is essential because customers might not always know what they are ordering – you need to distinguish the difference between their likes and dislikes and find out what they would like.

In a worse scenario, the customer is not happy with the wine you just brought him – he said he wanted a specific wine thinking it was a red wine because it has the word red in the wine name.

However, you should know that just because there is the word red or white in the name, it doesn’t mean that the actual wine falls under the category of red or white wines – it is just the company’s name.

You need to possess much more knowledge about wine than anyone who comes into the room. To advise them what wine to order depending on the occasion or their preferences.

When someone asks you what year was the best harvest – at the very least, you need to have an opinion followed by an argument of why do you think it was the best.

The bottom line is that being a wine server is much more than just awaiting orders from the customers. You need to be knowledgeable and attentive towards them – keep your ears pilled to the conversation you are having, hear what they have to say, and try to provide them with the best possible option.

Start Small

This doesn’t concern those of you who are already wine experts, but those who are new to the whole experience – do not try to memorize every single wine in existence and their key giveaways.

Starting with the most popular ones is more than enough for the beginning. As time goes, you should push yourself to learn more and try to even talk about a wine that is not even in the restaurant.

The more you show you know about wine, the more people trust you on any wine-related issue they might have. And they will keep coming for more because you have managed to make an educated guess and provide your customers with the wine they enjoy.

The first couple of pages of the notebook that you are using when you are trying to become a wine server should be filled with the images, characteristics, and key features of the most popular wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Bordeaux Red Blends
  • Malbec 
  • Merlot
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
  • Rosé

Key Categories Every Wine Server Has to Know

Dry

Dry is pretty easy to understand – after you have consumed dry wine, you are left with a tingling tongue and a need to drink water.

Sweet

It is a category that is not in use as much as before. Today, it is used to describe desert wines and cheap wines.

Fruity

Describing red wine with the word fruity means that the red wine has red or dark fruits. While white wine, generally speaking, have green or tart fruits.

Buttery

They were used to describe Chardonnays stored in oak barrels for aging, mostly used for the California-style Chardonnay wines.

Earthy

They are mostly used to describe red wines implying mustiness and invocation of a damp flavor.

Minera

The stone-like flavor that can be found in Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris

Body

When describing the mouthfeel in general and how much it weights body is the term to use.

Simple Tips for Pairing Wines With Food

It depends on the food your customers want to eat, but you need to understand that, for example, with beef and chocolate, the best wine to pair it with is red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrali.

Not knowing that can and will make your life harder when it comes to serving wine as the customer might not be as happy as they could have been with the right wine on their table.

While on the other hand, for white wines – eating soft cheese or spicy food is the way to go.

White Wine Goes in a White Wine Glass

What is meant by this statement is that red and white wine have different glasses they are intended to be consumed from. As White wine requires to keep its coldness, it is best sipped from more compact glasses.

On the other hand, we have red wine accustomed to being consumed from a larger bowl surface to best showcase its flavor and aroma.

This isn’t a must-do when you are at home, you can drink the wine from the bottle if you would like, but as a server, you must know, understand and implement those differences.

Best Sentences to Lighten the Mood as a Server

To lighten the mood and investigate what your customer would like, and keep the conversation flowing, three simple questions will allow you to stay on top of the discussion.

Are You a Professional Sommelier

We know that ordering wine can be scary for the customers, so you should try to break the ice and allow them to confess to you that their wine knowledge is not as broad as it should be. You will enable them to have faith in you.

What Wine Did You Have Recently That You Liked

This is a simple question, but the answer you receive is quite complicated – as you not only learn what they have tried, but you get them talking, and if you haven’t received enough information to recommend anything to them, surely you will now.

Are You Celebrating a Special Occasion

The last question before you should recommend any wine to your customer will allow you to gain insight into their lives. Whether it is a family gathering or a proposal, you should understand which wines are for which occasion.

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