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Do You Speak Wine?

I bet that most of you have never thought about the benefits of wine for your career before, have you? 


Lunch and dinner meetings paired with good wine have long been a standard of executing the arts of business. We’ve all known the pressure, whether out with friends or with work colleagues. For some reason the waiter hands you the wine list and everyone looks to you to select the wine to accompany the meal or the conversation.

At this point it appears that the list is written in a different language, and yet the success of the evening seems to be bearing down on your shoulders. Perhaps you can’t afford the Malbec but you certainly can’t afford to get the House Red in front of your boss. You want wine that impresses but doesn’t dominate, makes you look in command and most of all tastes good.

Well here are a few tips from the Head Sommelier at Vinopolis on how to manage such a situation:

Safety first.

Firstly, have a budget in mind and stick to it. There is no point in having a great wine if you are dragged over the coals the next day because it cost more than a Greek bailout loan. (This happened to a friend of mine once, she still remembers the feeling of horror when her boss asked her how much a million Lire was in Sterling!) I’m not going to give any suggestions because the budget will depend on the situation and perhaps the location, however a bottle will always be cheaper than 6 glasses of the same wine.

Know Your Classics.

Build up a small repertoire of classic wines in flavour categories. For example, asking if everyone likes a crisp dry white wine could lead you to a Sauvignon Blanc wine such as Sancerre or New Zealand Marlborough (or a Picpoul de Pinet for the more adventurous) whereas a light red wine might be a clue to a Burgundian  or Chilean Pinot Noir. A more full bodied, fruity red wine could be achieved by trying a Spanish Rioja Reserva whilst an Australian Chardonnay might hit the spot for a white wine drinker wanting something a bit richer on the palate. If a big red is demanded then look for the Northern Rhone valley of France where Syrah is King or Shiraz (the same grape variety just a different name) from any warm climate.

Shift the blame.

If you are having the wine with a meal, use your Sommelier. He or She will have an expert knowledge of the wine list and the menu and should be able to find you a good wine and food match, but remembering my first point, make sure that they know your budget as well. More importantly, if their recommendation doesn’t go down that well, you can always blame them and keep your job!