Wine 101: The Client Dinner

As young professionals continue to navigate the world of business, entertaining and networking, a little wine know-how can come in handy. Even if you’re not an avid wine drinker, wine knowledge is a must in everything from dates and client dinners to hostess gifts and company team-building exercises. The experts at Apothic Wine have provided a few simple tips on what to do in the most common wine scenarios as part of our exclusive four-part series.

Client dinners are plentiful and important for young professionals, whether you view that as a perk of the job or tedious chore. Those precious food, booze and conversation-filled hours can be the icing on the cake to securing that huge campaign or business partnership. Most of the time, then, you need to be game on, dressed to impress, and strategically sell yourself along with your company. There may come a time where you (yikes!) are asked to pick a wine. Wine can make of break a meal; make sure you pick wisely and like a pro.

The situation: You’re out for dinner with new colleagues/clients and you are asked to order the wine.

Ask guests for their wine likes/dislikes (get a general consensus). Determine whether you’ll need to order more than one variety to accommodate diverse tastes.  

Consult the experts: speak with the sommelier (Some-mal-E-eh) for recommendations on what will best suit your dinner party’s needs. Sommelier: highly trained and responsible for creating the wine list.

In restaurants or lounges without a sommelier, you can ask your server.

You will be in charge of tasting the wine on behalf of the group, so be confident and own it. This ritual typically takes place to ensure that you’re getting the product you paid for and the wine is not flawed in any way.

Try the “swirl, sniff, sip and savour” technique when tasting on behalf of the group – it’s simple, really: 

Swirl: it releases a wine’s aromas, such as intense fruit aromas for Apothic Red.
Sniff: stick your nose right in the glass.  You should smell fruit and any perceptible effects of winemaking, like oak-aging. Other scents include vanilla, butterscotch, red berries and black cherries, as in Apothic Red.
Sip: a small amount of wine will do.
Savour: hold the wine in your mouth for a moment, let it sit on your tongue to get a good sense of its flavours, such as the rhubarb, black cherry, hints of mocha, chocolate, brown spice and vanilla found in Apothic Red.

But, how do you know the signs of a faulty wine? Despite the impressive winemaking talent and quality of grapes used in your wine of choice, wines with any of the following aromas or taste profiles have fallen victim to a faulty cork or improper storage and should be returned for a new bottle:

– Fruitless, unbalanced
– Wet cardboard, mushrooms, mold or smelly socks
– Cooked or stewed fruits, lacking body
– Resembling Sherry or Madeira (fortified wine styles) 

If you’re unsure whether the wine is faulty, don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s a sommelier’s job to make sure you have the best possible dining experience and they want the wine to deliver ultimate enjoyment. If the wines appear sound, kindly let the server know and he/she will begin pouring glasses for everyone else at the table.

Have fun with it! Ordering wine at restaurants is a great opportunity to try unique wines and take your meal to a whole new level. And, don’t be afraid to experiment with different wine styles 

Connect with Apothic Wines to be further acquainted with the world of wine: