Research conducted by OpenTable suggest that many people in the UK are confused about the role of a wine waiter...
Sixty six percent of those surveyed did not know what a sommelier does, although this was more of a problem with the younger respondents.
Whilst two thirds of over 55s correctly identified a sommelier’s role, only 30% of 18- 24 year olds could.
Restaurant bookings site OpenTable surveyed 2,000 UK residents in March 2017. Its results underline the idea that many people enter restaurants with a degree of trepidation over the wine list.
Its survey also offers some fresh perspective on the extent to which sommeliers have gone mainstream, despite gaining a higher profile in recent years.
Growing numbers of sommeliers have been building their profiles at tastings and in wineries, according to Elin McCoy, writing in the newly released July 2017 issue of Decanter magazine. And sommelier awards have gained increasing media attention.
In the restaurant, ‘a really good sommelier is a kind of speed-dating psychologist,’ said Decanter columnist Andrew Jefford.
A fifth of the under-24s surveyed by OpenTable also admitted to being too embarrassed to ask waiters about wine when in a restaurant.
Over half of all asked admitted they are not confident in how to pair wine with their meal.
Two thirds of those asked by OpenTable admitted to always choosing the house wine, and 90% believe it to be the easiest and cheapest option.
That is not always the case, but some experts have argued that restaurants should be judged on the quality of their house wines.
‘House wine is a restaurant’s flagship wine,’ said Antonio Roveda, head Sommelier at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill.
‘It is usually medium bodied and well balanced to go with a whole host of key dishes. It isn’t necessarily the cheapest but it will generally represent good value for money.’
Decanter’s tips for choosing wine in restaurants
Don’t be afraid to indicate your budget; a sommelier should find a wine at every price point.
Let them take the burden for choosing wine for a table – it’s what they’re there for.
Use the opportunity to taste the wine when they bring it; check for mistakes or faults.
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