How to Order Wine like an Oenophile

Does choosing a wine feel as if you’re closing your eyes and pointing on the menu? Want to order like an expert when it’s time to select a bottle for the table? Next time you’re out with friends, remember these tips from sommelier Patrick Cappiello, the Operating Partner and Wine Director at Pearl & Ash, a restaurant in lower Manhattan. When the wine menu is handed to you, you’ll be prepared.


The first thing to keep in mind is budget. You don’t have to order the most expensive glass or bottle on the menu to savor the most enjoyable wine. The job of a sommelier is to explain the range of wines in your price point. First things first, let the sommelier know how much you are looking to spend.

“I think that there’s an old mentality about the way sommeliers are and this whole thing that they’re going to judge you,” says Cappiello. “[But] I think being up front about a budget is something that makes our life easier.  Because if sommeliers are recommending wines, we may recommend a certain type of wine with many different price points. But if you give a budget right from the beginning we can kind of go horizontally within that budget and give you a lot more great options in that sweet spot.”

For more of Cappiello’s ordering tips, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:

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