How to serve wine well in a restaurant

Updated on January 24, 2023

For a restaurant, wine service is one of the key points of an irreproachable service quality. It is not enough to take the bottle out of the cellar: there are specific presentation and service rituals. Temperature of service, choice of glasses, presentation: Les Grappes gives you some advice to serve wine in the rules of art.

Serve wine at the right temperature

Always make sure you serve your wines at the right temperature: it is an essential element of the quality of your service. And there is no universal rule, each type of wine has its own ideal serving temperature:

Be careful, we often tend to serve wines too hot! Make sure to serve at 18°C maximum. It is better to serve a wine that is too cool than too warm, as it will naturally warm up a few degrees depending on the temperature of the room. Also take into account the contact with the glass which can warm the wine by 2 to 3°C.

The choice of glasses

It goes without saying: you are not going to serve a great wine in a water glass! In restaurants, clear, colorless stemmed glasses are used to highlight the wine's color. The glass must be impeccably clean.

The size and volume of glasses vary according to the type of wine served, but also according to the wine region. There are indeed specific shapes of glasses for certain regions (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne...). If you prefer to keep it simple, think of the universal model used for tasting: the INAO glass.

The presentation of wines

Before serving a wine, it must be presented at the table. This starts with the transport of the bottle to your customers. Be careful, you will have to adapt this transport to the type of wine you are serving:

  • For a red wine, the bottle must be straight: the transport is done on a metal coaster, or a plate.
  • For white wines, the bottle should be placed in a bucket and then filled halfway with ice and water. Put it on a plate during transport.

When you arrive at your customers' table, place the set on the pedestal table, then present the bottle(s) of wine to the person who placed the order. Announce the bottles clearly and present them with the label facing the customer, positioning yourself to the right of the customer. For white wines, it is agreed to take the bottle out of the bucket, drain it and present it without wiping it. Put it back in the bucket to proceed with the opening.

When you present a wine, you must announce the appellation, the name of the wine, the vintage and the classification if there is one, the name of the merchant, the château or the producer.

After opening...

Always open all bottles ordered at the beginning of the service: the wine must be served before the dish it is to accompany. After opening the bottle, let the person who ordered the wine taste it and wait for his or her approval before serving the other guests. Don't forget to serve the person who tasted the wine again, so that they have a full glass.

When serving, you should traditionally position yourself on the customer's right side, holding the bottle in your hand and never obscuring the label. If you are serving white wine, fill the glass one-third full; if you are serving red wine, fill the glass half full. Once the wine has been poured, turn the bottle around and lift it up. Once the neck is wiped clean, you can serve the next customer.

It is also important to remember to re-serve the guests during the meal: remember to re-serve the wines before clearing the dishes. Glasses should never be empty: it is a service fault

Need to be accompanied?

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