Service is one of the exam components that is required to be a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. The one step that I would be surprised if anyone forgets is to offer a taste to the host or hostess at the table (from here on out I will use the term “host” for both a male and female host).

The reason why this is done is to allow the host to taste the wine and signify by a nod or a short verbal confirmation that the wine is “sound” or has no flaws. There are many things that could go wrong with a wine…maybe in another post we can chat about that…but the vast majority of the time, the wine is fine.

It’s not to see if you like the wine or if it goes good with your food…once you’ve picked it, if it’s sound, this is now your bottle of wine to drink.  Why, truly, is this done? Can you imagine if they brought over one bite of pasta and one bite of sauce to offer you before they put the finished plate in front of you to confirm if it’s not rotten or overcooked? It doesn’t happen.

It’s also really putting the host on the spot that they know something about wine. It took me several tries to know what a “corked” bottle of wine meant and what that smelled and tasted like. I feel this is one area of wine that has become so elitist. Unless the host happens to be experienced with wine and its flaws, why should they be expected to know if the bottle is flawed or not? Shouldn’t that be the Sommelier’s job?

PS One addition…if you are at a restaurant that has a Sommelier…utilize them…they know what they are doing, and know their wine list the best…take their advice!