How to Order Wine in French

How to Order Wine in French

France is renowned for its exquisite wines, making it the perfect destination for wine enthusiasts. However, ordering wine in a French restaurant can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with the language. To help you navigate this experience with ease, we have put together a guide on how to order wine in French.

1. Familiarize yourself with the basic terms: Before you visit a French restaurant, take some time to learn a few key words. Start with the types of wine (vin rouge – red wine, vin blanc – white wine, vin rosé – rosé wine), and also learn how to say “a glass of wine” (un verre de vin) and “a bottle of wine” (une bouteille de vin).

2. Study the wine list: Most French restaurants will have a wine list, often referred to as “la carte des vins.” Take a few minutes to review the list and identify wines that you might enjoy.

3. Seek recommendations: If you’re unsure about which wine to choose, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations. The waiter (le serveur) or sommelier can suggest wines based on your preferences and the dishes you plan to order.

4. Ask about local specialties: Many regions in France produce their own unique wines. If you’re dining in a specific area, inquire about the local specialties and try them for an authentic experience.

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5. Pronounce the wine name correctly: When ordering, make sure to pronounce the wine name correctly. If you’re not sure, ask the waiter for help or point to the name on the menu.

6. Specify your preference: If you have a preference for red or white wine, let the waiter know. They can guide you towards wines that suit your taste.

7. Consider food pairing: French cuisine is famous for its intricate flavors, and wine pairing can enhance your dining experience. If you’re unsure, ask the waiter for advice on which wine would complement your chosen dish.

8. Be confident in your choice: Once you’ve made your selection, confidently state your order. For example, you can say, “Je voudrais un verre de vin rouge, s’il vous plaît” (I would like a glass of red wine, please).

9. Understand wine sizes: In France, it’s common to order wine by the glass or by the bottle. A standard glass of wine is typically around 150ml, while a bottle is 750ml.

10. Pay attention to wine etiquette: In formal settings, the waiter may present the bottle to you for approval before pouring. It’s customary to examine the label and nod your consent if you’re satisfied.

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11. Enjoy the experience: Ordering wine in a French restaurant should be an enjoyable experience. Take your time, savor the flavors, and appreciate the rich culture surrounding French wine.

12. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: If you have any doubts or queries, don’t hesitate to ask the waiter or sommelier. They are there to assist you and ensure you have a memorable wine experience.


1. What is the legal drinking age in France?
The legal drinking age in France is 18 years old.

2. How do I ask for the wine list?
You can ask for the wine list by saying, “La carte des vins, s’il vous plaît.”

3. Are there any specific wine regions I should explore in France?
Yes, France has numerous renowned wine regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and the Rhône Valley.

4. Can I ask for a wine tasting before ordering?
Yes, many restaurants offer wine tastings. Simply ask the waiter if they can provide a small sample of a particular wine.

5. What are some famous French wine grape varieties?
Some famous French grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir.

6. How do I say “I don’t know much about wine” in French?
You can say, “Je ne connais pas beaucoup le vin.”

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7. Is it customary to tip the sommelier?
It’s not necessary to tip the sommelier separately, as the service charge is usually included in the bill. However, rounding up the total amount is appreciated.

8. Can I bring my own bottle of wine to a restaurant?
Some restaurants allow you to bring your own bottle, but they may charge a corkage fee. It’s best to call in advance and inquire about their policy.

9. What is the difference between “sec” and “demi-sec”?
“Sec” means dry, while “demi-sec” means semi-dry or slightly sweet.

10. How do I order a specific vintage?
To order a specific vintage, simply state the year along with your wine preference. For example, “Je voudrais une bouteille de vin rouge de 2015, s’il vous plaît.”

11. Are there any popular non-alcoholic wine options in France?
Yes, France also produces non-alcoholic wines known as “vin sans alcool.” They are a great option for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages.

12. Can I ask for a wine pairing suggestion for dessert?
Absolutely! The sommelier can recommend a wine that pairs well with your dessert choice, enhancing the flavors of both.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to order wine in French, embrace the opportunity to indulge in the rich wine culture of France during your next dining experience. Santé!