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Steps to serve wine for restaurant servers

Why learn to serve wine correctly?

If you have ever bought a bottle of wine from a good restaurant, you may have noticed that the waiter not only opens the cork and serves you a glass, but goes through a specific process of opening the bottle, allowing the buyer tastes the wine, then pour it in a specific way.

This presentation may seem unnecessary, but like many formalities it is based on tradition, and serving the wine properly shows that the restaurant knows what they are doing. Most restaurants want to give their guests the impression that they are very important customers, especially when they are going to pay a lot of money for a bottle of wine!

This formal presentation of the wine adds to the exclusive atmosphere of the restaurant and makes the guest feel important. When you are serving the wine, you show that you are professional and know your business well.

7 steps to serving wine in a restaurant

Step 1: Prepare the wine glasses in advance. Make sure there is a glass for everyone who will drink wine. Make sure you have the proper glasses for the wine (red, white or sparkling wines require different glasses). If you are unsure about the glass, go to my website and see my types of wine glass page for a guide on which glass should be used with which wine (this is important!).

Step 2: Bring the wine to the table. Present it to the person who ordered it with the label facing them. Advertise the wine. For example, say “Chateau Latour Pauillac 2003, sir.” This is just so the person can verify that they brought you the correct bottle.

Step 3: Hold the bottle in one hand and use your wine key to remove the cork. Try to get the cork out without it clicking. If it’s champagne or sparkling wine, definitely don’t reveal the cork and shoot it across the room (fun even though)!

Step 4: Present the cork to the person who ordered the wine. Some people want to inspect or smell it to make sure it hasn’t dried out.

Step 5: Pour a small amount into the glass at the head of the table (the person who ordered the bottle). Let him test it to make sure it’s okay.

Step 6: Fill the glasses of the other guests, ladies first, in a clockwise direction. Fill the host’s glass last. Fill glasses only half full.

Step 7: If there is any wine left in the bottle, leave it on the edge of the table (if it is a red wine) or in a cooler (if it is a white wine). Guests will then refill their own glasses as needed.

These are the 7 basic steps to serving wine to a waiter or sommelier. There are other things to consider, including the serving temperature of the wine and whether or not you should aerate it or use a decanter. For more information on these topics, visit my website.

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