Just because bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant is getting more popular doesn't automatically make it a good idea — not every popular trend is wise. In this case, though, the crowd is on to something: BYOB wine can be a very good idea. There are several reasons why you should consider a BYOB wine evening the next time you eat out at a good restaurant. By bringing your own wine, you'll save money, get a particular wine you like, and may have a better overall wine experience.
It's more popular than ever to bring your own bottle of wine to restaurants when dining out, but if you are seriously considering a BYOB wine evening at a local restaurant, there are some important issues you need to consider first. There are things you need to do in advance and things you need to remember not to do if you want have to have a successful, enjoyable evening pairing one of your wines with a nice restaurant meal. There are also things you absolutely, positively must not do!
As if people weren't already intimidated enough by wine generally and ordering wine in restaurants, their wine is usually served in what appears to be a needlessly complex ritual that almost seems designed to make a person either feel like an ignorant outsider or a snobbish insider. Yes, there is a bit of ritual involved with serving wine but each part of this wine ritual serves a purpose — generally to help ensure that you get the right wine and enjoy your wine experience. Learn to enjoy the wine ritual along with your wine.
Once you've gotten the wine list and have reviewed it so you know its organization, how do you actually order the right wine? Perhaps the real question is how to order a decent wine without paying too much and without looking ignorant? There's a lot of pressure on you if people are looking to you to pick a wine, but it's not too difficult to make a relaxed, informed decision from a restaurant wine list — or at least appear to being do so, and isn't that what counts?
Ordering wine in a restaurant is centered around the restaurant's wine list. Unless you can understand the wine list, you'll never be able to make an informed decision about which wine to order. Unfortunately, wine lists sometimes appear designed to make the choice more difficult, not easier. Ordering wine from a restaurant's wine list isn't for the faint-hearted, but it also isn't too difficult once you get the hang of it.
If you're going to order wine in a restaurant, it will help to understand how restaurants sell wine. The better you understand the restaurant's perspective on wine, presenting wine, and selling wine, the more informed your wine choices will be. Ordering wine in a restaurant really is different, but it's still wine that you're buying so everything else you've learned about wine will help a lot as well.