The Dude’s Guide Pt 4: Ordering and Buying Wine

Sexy Red Dress and WineThe scenario – You’ve just scored a date with a super hot friend of your co-worker. When you pick her up she is wearing a clingy red low-cut dress. The kind of dress that shows her curves and makes you hope it’s a little breezy. As the evening progresses, all the signs point to success. She laughs at all your jokes, she flings her hair back flirtatiously, and touches your shoulder periodically when she’s talking. You arrive at the restaurant and score the table overlooking the river. The waiter comes over hands you your menu and hands YOU the wine menu. As you open it up, a cold sweat comes over you and your cheeks get flush. What does it all mean? How do you choose? 

The Dude’s Guide to Wine helps demystify and educate the average Joe about wine. 

  • In Part One we explained three reasons all guys should know a little about wine – Rated PG
  • In Part Two we explored the basics of grapes and their general characteristics – Rated PG-13
  • In Part Three we talked about the experience of wine tasting (swirl, smell, sip, savor) – Rated R

Why is there so much anxiety when ordering wine or buying from a store? I think it can be distilled down into one thing; Fear of Failure. We’re afraid of ordering the wrong wine with the food. We’re afraid of paying too much for a bad tasting wine. We’re afraid of looking bad. The dude is comfortable with ordering beer. You’ll always find the same basic beer in every restaurant. A margarita is basically the same wherever you go. Wine, however can cause even the Chuck Norris type dudes to develop Erkle like demeanor.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Directions

The best sex happens when guys aren’t afraid to ask their ladies for a little direction. The same thing is true with the wine experience. Asking directions can lead you to the ‘G Spot’ or pleasure center of food and wine pairings! Some basic tips:

  • Ask the wait staff if the restaurant offers small wine flight samples – This is a small two ounce pour of three different wines to help determine a good selection. This is also a great sharing experience between you and your date.
  • Ask the diva in the red dress (your date) if she has any particular favorites. If she prefers sweet white Rieslings and you order a big meaty Cabernet Sauvignon, the mood could be ruined. If she really has no preference, she’ll defer back to your manly decision making skills.
  • Wait to make your final wine decision until you’ve made your dinner selection. While many opinions exists about proper food / wine pairings, there is some science to the right experience.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff for a recommendation. This shows care, concern and passion. Your lady won’t be keen to your lack of wine understanding, she’ll be impressed at your discernment to defer to a knowledgeable resource.
  • While ordering a bottle is preferable; because as the nectar flows the conversation grows, don’t be afraid to order two different glasses that pair best with each of your meals.

Sexy Wine ImageIf you choose to go it alone, refer to Part 2 of this series for a basic explanation of grapes and food pairings. The generalizations are RED WINE for big hearty meats and pastas and WHITE WINE for lighter chicken, white sauce, and spice.

The more you experience wine, the more comfortable you will feel at making the decisions. Great wine pairings will come with ease and the lady will be pleased. Similar to sex, you start with a basic knowledge of anatomy and what goes where. The more you experience it, the better moves you make and the passion comes with ease and the lady is pleased.

Tips for Navigating the Store

The scenario: Your successful moves on date one have led to the all important “night in” dinner date. This is the date that is at either one of your residence that migrates from dinner to the couch with potential for second and third base. As a side note, hosting dinner and making it from scratch will score you big points. Also, don’t be too quick to slide into home. Showing restraint shows self-control, builds trust, and grows anticipation for the final scene. For this date you are without the help of the wait staff and must rely on your cunning abilities to navigate the wine store, local winery, or local grocer (I strongly encourage you to BUY LOCAL for good service and informative advice).

  • Decide what’s for dinner and follow the same basic principles when ordering at a restaurant
  • Determine your budget. While there are a lot of good $10 and under wines out there, nothings says, “let’s get drunk and screw” like a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. Shoot for something between $20-30 and your chances are better that it will be a good wine and if she knows anything about wine, she’ll be a little impressed.

Personally, I would avoid going all out for something more than $25 on a date like this. 1) You don’t want to set the bar too high for future wine purchases. Starting high may set an expectation that your wallet cannot afford. 2) You haven’t yet sealed the deal. At this point you’re still feeling things out (so to speak).

  •  Ask the wine steward or shop attendant. Similar to the restaurant, tell them your dinner and your budget and they can be a wealth of information.
  • If there isn’t a wine steward available, the store should be grouped by grape varietal. Head to one that fits the general pairings mentioned above and in post 2 and choose one that fits your budget.
  • If you’re ambitious you can choose a label that fits the mood of the relationship. Chances are, as you look, you’ll see labels that are sexy and flirty, fun and witty, artistic, and fancy.

Don’t let the size of the selection bother you. As the girls say, it’s not the size that matters, it’s the quality. One final tip, if you think things are going to go well, buy two bottles. As the night progresses, you would hate to find yourself without more wine!

There you have it, four posts to help the average dude venture into the wine world. Would you like to see more? There have been some preliminary conversations about turning this series into a book. What other things should the average guy know about wine? Are you a beer drinking dude? Comment here, let me know.


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Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

18 comments on “The Dude’s Guide Pt 4: Ordering and Buying Wine

  1. Joshua S. Sweeney

    “nothings says, “let’s get drunk and screw” like a bottle of Two Buck Chuck.”

    Haha, too true!

    Good advice here, Josh. For the average guy, asking for suggestions about wine at a restaurant is NOT like asking for directions… there’s no pride at stake, and it’d be surprising even if you were a wine connoisseur if you knew all of the wines on their wine list already (unless it’s a truly horrible wine list filled with throwaway Californian table wines and the token under-$10 French import).

  2. Randy Watson

    Lots of great tips in this series!

    You really did a great job putting this together!

    1. drinknectar

      Randy do you have any other suggestions for topics…just in case I decide to do a book?

  3. Chris @ Wine a Day

    Great work! As for tips, I would have to say you have done a pretty good job. The only thing I could add which may appeal to “dudes” is the alcohol content of wine compared to other drinks. It has more than beer, so it helps you get your “confindence” up, but has less than spirits which helps to not fall over all the time on the way home.

    The 4 parts were a great read. Cheers!

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Chris. I wonder if there are any other topics I could cover?

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  5. Chris Broholm

    Wow, great job in doing all this Josh, must’ve taken you quite a while!

  6. MichiganByTheBottle

    If your local wine shop doesn’t have someone who can help you pick out a bottle of wine, I would recommend finding another wine shop. It is too important of a purchase to pick a bottle based on shelf position.

  7. Sip with Me!

    Hey Josh, you know how much I love this series, and this post certainly doesn’t let down. I have a gazillion ideas. For starters, how about something on the Dude’s Guide to Understanding or Choosing Wine Labels? Animals, sports, women—it could say a lot about a man. DM me to discuss further…

  8. Chris Broholm

    Hm, what about the do’s and donts about wine lingo, eg: How to be interesting without being boring while in the company of someone who knows nothing about wine?

    Chosing wine labels is a good idea that Tamara brings up, although i fear that it is a very extensive project. Just keep it real and im sure it will be good whatever you feel like writing :-)

  9. Ronald

    Josh, thanks for the series. It was a fun and entertaining read. Also thanks to Diva Tink for turning me on to it!

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Ronald. Do you have any ideas for future chapters? I may try to put a book together.


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  13. Russell Mann

    Favorite line: “nothings says, “let’s get drunk and screw” like a bottle of Two Buck Chuck.”

    Phooey: “the store should be grouped by grape varietal.” If you’re at the grocery store sure, but that’s because the grocery store knows as much about the wine as they do the toothpaste they sell.

  14. Clive

    Funny stuff Josh and good recommendations. I think Wine Peeps head just exploded though.


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