Dustin Wilson, Master Sommelier and Co-Owner of Verve Wine in New York City, guides us through the process of providing wine service for sparkling wine for guests.
Sparkling Wine Service
Remember: safety for the guest, the people around you, and yourself is the most important aspect of sparkling wine service!
- Repeat the order to the host (person who is ordering).
- Set the table with the proper stemware as well as a cork tray for when you present the cork.
- Bring the wine to the table at the proper temperature (in this case, 45F).
- Always have a serviette in hand, properly folded. Use the serviette to frame the bottle when presenting the wine to the guest.
- Present the wine to the guest and confirm the producer name, vintage, grape or cuvée name.
- Use the knife on your wine key to cut the foil around the neck of the bottle, remove the foil and place it in your pocket.
- Place the serviette over the cork and your thumb on top of that. From this point forward you should never remove your thumb from the top of the cork until the cork is safely removed.
- Reach under the serviette to unwind the cage on the cork and loosen it.
- Tilt the bottle at a 45 degree angle pointing away from all guests and yourself.
- Hold on to the cork and twist the bottle until you start to feel the cork pushing itself out. From here, control the pressure of the cork and allow it to come out from the bottle with no more noise than a whisper.
- Once the cork is safely removed from the bottle, remove the cage from the top of the cork and place it in your pocket.
- Wipe the mouth of the bottle to ensure it is clean.
- Present the cork on the cork tray you've provided.
- Pour a taste of the wine for the host with the label facing him/her and allow him/her to smell and taste the wine. Wait for his/her approval before continuing to pour.
- Once approved, move clockwise around the table, pouring for guests of honor first (birthday person, etc.), otherwise pour for the ladies first, gentlemen second, and the host is last. The label should be facing the guest each time the wine is poured.
- After finishing the pours, offer to remove the cork from the table and ask if the guest would prefer to keep the wine on ice or on the table and respond appropriately. If the guest would prefer the wine on the table, an underliner must be used for the bottle.
- Ask politely if there is anything else that you can help the guests with at that time.
- Check back in periodically to top up and make sure they are enjoying the bottle.
About Dustin Wilson, MS:
With a work history that spans top restaurants across the US – Frasca Food & Wine (Boulder, CO); The Little Nell (Aspen) and RN74 (San Francisco), Dustin is best known for his position as Wine Director of the 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, Eleven Madison Park. His expertise is also showcased in the critically acclaimed wine documentary, SOMM, and the film’s sequel, SOMM: Into the Bottle. In 2017, he opened Verve Wine in the downtown Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca.