HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
May 3, 2010 11:31 AM

In need of crash course in wine

I've been slowly learning about wines for the past few years. Today I interviewed for a position in a restaurant that requires (unbeknownst to me) an extensive wine knowledge. I was honest in saying that I don't know much about wine. The manager is willing to give me a chance as I have other applicable experience.

Can you help me? What are the most important things that I should know about wine (and beer)? What can I learn quickly that will impress the restaurant staff?

Any tips are greatly appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I assume when the restaurant says "extensive wine knowledge" they mean " with relation to their wine list".
    Is the list publicly available?
    Can you post it?
    The more info you can post on that regard, I'm sure the more expedient practical advise you'll get from board members.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RicRios

      Good advice. Also, post the menu, as matching specific wines on the wine list to specific dishes will be important.
      Ask the chef for tips/suggestions in this regard. Keep a little cheat sheet on an index card in your pocket. Learn proper wine service (lots of tips on this board).

    2. Two good books for newbies are "Fear of Wine" and "Oldman's Guide to Outsmarting Wine."

      1. I agree with Maria that proper wine service is key.

        A cheat that I used to use it to pick one or two reds and whites in each price point, Google their tasting notes and pimp those, until I had a firmer grasp of the wines on the list.

        1. Grab Andrea Immer's "Great Wine Made Simple." Her current name is Andrea Robinsion, but I doubt that the latest edition will reflect that. Gather a handful of friends, SO's, partners, and get busy with the homework. OK, the exact wines listed are probably not what you will find today, but you will be able to substitute, and you must do the homework.

          Good luck,


          1. Total Wines has this book that they put out. Nothing fancy, but quick, straight to the point and informative. It's easy to read with many good examples, nothing too technical. My first book was Windows to the World.

            3 Replies
            1. re: triggs73

              "Windows" is a very good book too. Kevin was Andrea Immer's mentor, and she learned well, IMHO.


              1. re: triggs73

                It's "Windows on the World", in case the OP goes to look for it.

                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  You are correct. I mis-read Triggs' listing. Actually, the official title is "Windows on the World, Complete Wine Course - A Lively Guide, by Kevin Zraly, Sterling Publications, ISBN: 0-8069-7649-7.

                  Note: in later editions, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the benefit of the families of the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center - the location of the restaurant and wine cellar.