8. Don't fear the wine list
When the sommelier asks if you’ve had a chance to look through the wine list, don't freak out and pass on the 200-page vino novel for a beer -- breathe and remember: Yes, he’s way better-dressed than you, but it comes with the prestige of his role at the fancy restaurant where he works and where you are the dining customer. Don't be afraid to ask questions -- his job is to offer helpful information. Try ingratiating yourself with something like, “I’m not familiar with many of these selections, but we really like white wine. I’m having the duck and she’s having the Mahi Mahi, and we’re looking to spend about $75 on a bottle.” There, you’ve proved yourself in front of your date, and the somm has a roadmap to help you find the perfect bottle.
9. Quit hating on Merlot and sniffing corks
Stop talking about the movie Sideways and how you don’t drink Merlot, because someday you’ll say it to a winemaker who makes Merlot, and he’ll punch you in your Merlot-stained teeth. And don’t ever smell a cork to determine if the wine is good -- do you sniff a dog’s ass to see if it’s male or female? We hope you won't do either.
Jonathan Cristaldi is the deputy editor of The SOMM Journal. He thinks his friend Michael is an idiot for storing his favorite Sicilian wines on top of his refrigerator. If anyone wants to know why Michael is an idiot for doing this, follow and tweet JC at @NobleRotNYC.