Tips for Ordering Wine at a Business Meal With Clients

It’s easy to feel an overwhelming amount of pressure when you’re out to dinner with business associates and clients and your server hands you the wine list. You don’t want to waste too much time mulling over the decision, but going straight for the most expensive bottle can seem flashy. These are a few tips for ordering wine at a business meal with clients to help you feel like a professional. 

Look Online Ahead of Time

Most restaurants have their wine menus available online, allowing you the chance to look ahead. Read reviews of wines that you’re debating between. Get to know which wines pair well with which dishes, so you can purchase a bottle that will go well with various entrees. Your extra effort won’t go unnoticed.

Call the Restaurant 

If you’re still at a loss or the restaurant doesn’t have its wine list available online, give the restaurant a call to discuss their wines with a sommelier. Sommeliers are accustomed to working with budgets. You can ask questions and discuss prices freely without your associates and clients. 

You can quickly scan the menu, order wine and appetizers, and look like a confident decision maker when you get to the restaurant. 

Shy Away From Familiar Supermarket Brands

Restaurants will typically have their own fine wine for sale or a partnership with a specific vineyard. Try the house wine brand but order the variety, such as Cabernet or White Zinfandel, that you know the table will enjoy. 

Order a Few Different Bottles

It will be impossible to cater to all wine and food pairings. Most clients and associates will be ordering different entrees, making it challenging to create the correct pairing for everyone. Instead, order a few bottles of wine for people to choose from throughout the dinner. Purchase both red and white. 

Don’t Go Too Bold

Aim for light to medium-bodied wines like Sauvignon Blancs, Malbecs, or Pinot Noirs. These are universally appealing wines that pair nicely with a wide variety of foods. Choosing an oaky Chardonnay or a bold California Cabernet can overpower lighter foods at the table. 

We hope you have learned some new tips for ordering wine at a business meal with clients. Enjoy!


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  • Great advise And like in Spain if the red wine isn’t good mix it with Coke and you have a Kalimotxo. The drink of northern Spain/ Euskadi. Best drink for fiestas. Enjoy

  • I always get to the restaurant a few minutes early and chat it up with the concierge. I’ll generally ask for wines in the $ 50-60 range. I ask the concierge which bottle(s) would pleasantly surprise me in my price range. Then I’m all set when my guest arrive!

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