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How To Open A Bottle Of Wine

Presenting a bottle of wine for a table the first few times can be scary, anything unfamiliar or not yet a habit can be a little shaky.  But, you’ll become a pro, I’ll see to that!  There are a few steps that you must follow to make sure that you are doing everything correctly.  Get these down, understand them and you on your way to living up to your bad-ass potential.

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Stand to the right of guest and show the host the bottle; read *him the vintage, the producer, the varietal and where it came from.  Here is your 2007 Duckhorn Merlot from Napa Valley.

  • The reason this step is important is to communicate with the customer so mistakes will be prevented.  If you state all of these facts to your customer and they approve the wine, there will be much less room for them disagreeing with the bottle after it is opened.  Example “I didn’t want the Duckhorn, I wanted the Paraduxx.”  Maybe they did but they approved the Duckhorn.   With that being said, it is your job to present the bottle of wine that they ordered.  If they said Paraduxx and you bring them Duckhorn, you are naughty.
  • If you ever have a chance to taste Duckhorn or Paraduxx, I suggest it; they are delicious. (In my opinion.)

Remove foil, pocket it.  Remove cork and present it to the person who has ordered the wine, either stain up or stain away.  Put the cork on something, not just the table.

  • By doing this you are allowing the host to inspect the cork for flaws.  The cork itself witll not tell if a wine is bad but it will give possible red flags to be weary of, such as a ribbon of wine running from the bottom of the cork to the top, dryness throughout, dry at the bottom of the cork or if the producers name on the cork does not match the actual wine.

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Once the cork is presented you will pour about one ounce for the host to smell and taste.

    • This is the real opportunity for the  host to know if the wine is “corked” or “off”.  He will be smelling the wine to make sure that there is fruit in the aroma.  If it smells flat, like newspaper, vinegar or wet dog things are not looking good.  He will also taste to confirm what his nose has told him.  Often times, smelling the wine is all that is necessary.

All About Wine Corks from iamWaitress on Vimeo.

After the host has accepted the bottle you will pour the wine for all guests.

  • Be aware of how many people you will be pouring for.  That bottle of wine needs to be poured for everyone, including the host, leaving some to spare in the bottle.
  • Make sure you go around the table in a clockwise fashion, passing the host.
  • Start with the person of honor, regardless of their gender.
  • If there is no person of honor, continue your clockwise loop and pour for all woman at the table.
  • Make another clockwise trip around and pour for all of the men.
  • Finish with the host.
  • Make sure there is a little wine left in the bottle.  The reason for this is to not give the impression that you are pressuring him to order another bottle.  He will delegate where the last pour goes and then he can chose to order another bottle or not.
  • If there are 8 or more people at a table then you do not have to pour for the woman first but you still must go clockwise and end with the host leaving a little wine to spare in the bottle.

Ask permission from host to remove the cork from the table.

  • Any unnecessary clutter on the table should be removed for basic table maintenance.  If the host wants to keep the cork, then move it to a part of the table so everyone on the service team knows that the cork is to stay on the table.  This prevents your fellow bad-ass servers or managers from seeing the cork on the table and asking the host if they want it there.  This is just a way of communicating with your team without speaking.

Opening wine for a table will become second nature to you, I promise.  Every time you open a bottle, every time you pour, things will get easier.  Enjoy the process.

How To Open A Bottle Of Wine For A Table from iamWaitress on Vimeo.

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