Wine Etiquette Tips for Business Part 1 of 3

Jun 18 2014

by Kyla Cox

The responsibility of ordering the wine at a business function is extremely important. Business people (especially women) are judged by just about everything they do, and an ability to order wine decisively and well probably takes on far more significance than it should. The ultimate goal is to be confident in choosing a good wine when presented with the wine list at every type of occasion. Remember, wine is a matter of interpretation and personal taste. This is a business dinner or lunch, not a formal food and wine pairing exercise. You should aim to confidently order a wine that will appeal to a variety of palates and compliment a wide array of foods.

Part I – Selecting & Ordering

Preparation is key! More and more restaurants have their wine lists online. Find it and study it before you go. See what fits into your budget and look up the wines online. By the time you are handed the list, you’ll be able to make a snap judgment that will make it appear you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t!) and are a quick decision-maker as well. If the wine list is not online, call or drop by the restaurant in advance, look over the list and talk with the sommelier. It’s a small investment in time that will pay big dividends.

Buy yourself some time! Ok, so the ball is in your court. Everyone has arrived and it’s time to sit down and order. Selecting the wine should be done once your fellow diners/guests have chosen their meal. Buy yourself some time by suggesting an aperitif or glass of champagne (or a sparkling wine like Cava or Prosecco for the budget conscious) to be enjoyed first while you are reviewing the wine list and guests are ordering their meals.

Make a swift decision! Once your guests have chosen their meal you can then decide on the wine. The longer you stare at the list, the more apparent it is that you have no idea what you’re doing. If you are in a steak house you can feel confident ordering a bolder red wine. Italian food? Stick with Italian wines. But if the meals vary consider 1 light to medium bodied red and 1 white so that guests have a choice.

—Sidebar— Skip the familiar! No one is going to be impressed if you order a Kendall Jackson Chardonnay or Merlot. A wine that is unfamiliar is more likely to impress. If the wine list is geographically broad, it will be hard to go wrong with the following- a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a Malbec from Argentina, a Spanish Tempranillo or perhaps a Pinotage from South Africa.

If you are in a restaurant or wine bar known for its eclectic wine selection, or with a group of colleagues you know to be real wine enthusiasts, it is ok to allow everyone to order by the glass individually. Experimentation is fun and helps everyone get to know each other a little better. You can tell a lot about someone by the wine they order!

Part 2 – Presentation of the Cork & Bottle


Part 3 – General Protocol

About Savor Wine Boutique

“Wine is art, it’s culture, it’s the essence of civilization”, states Kyla Cox, owner of Savor Wine Boutique. Located in the historic East Atlanta neighborhood of Kirkwood, which is also home to an array of boutiques, galleries, restaurants and spas, the customer-centric retail store specializes in affordable artisan wines that are not mass-produced or readily available in grocery and package stores. Customers can find a diverse selection of global wines from renowned wine regions such as France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and South America, along with lesser known wine regions and obscure varietals. To join our email list for wine news, tips and advance notice of local tastings and special events visit



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