Keeping the bar bill under control during the holidays.

Dear Wine Ladies,

Over the next couple of weeks I will be inviting several clients out for dinner as a thank you for their business. I’m a little new to this and would like to know how I should handle ordering the wine, particularly because of my limited budget. I’m afraid if I ask the sommelier I might get stuck with a bill I really can’t afford.


Dear Martin,

Rest assured there are several steps you can take to ensure that the bar bill will not exceed your budget. Firstly, a quick visit or telephone call to the restaurant of choice is a great way to guarantee a smooth and affordable wine selection. Take a few moments to speak with the sommelier ahead of time and give him an idea of your price range.
Ask for a couple of suggestions for both white and red that reflect different styles of wines. For the whites for example, two recommendations might include a light and crisp white such as a Sauvignon Blanc and on the other end of the spectrum a full bodied, buttery Chardonnay. Do the same for reds. If you don’t have the opportunity to call ahead, when you are handed the wine list, have a look and then ask to speak with the sommelier. Discreetly point to a couple of wines which are consistent with your budget and mention to the sommelier you were thinking of either of these; what would he think, or could he make another recommendation. The sommeliers are there to help and make your dining experience as pleasurable as possible, the more you engage the sommelier and offer him/her parameters to work with the smoother and more satisfying the wine selection process will be.

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