Glasses should be good quality stemware. Their size and shape vary depending on wine color and where it’s from. They must be clean and odor free.
Carrying the wine to the guests’ table.
The bottle should be carried upright on a metal coaster for red wines. For whites and rosés, the bottle should be carried in an ice bucket containing some water, placed on a plate or tray and covered with a folded napkin.
Showing the bottle
The wine waiter shows the bottle. They hold a napkin in their left hand resting the bottle on it. The neck is held in the right hand.
For whites, the sommelier takes the bottle out of the bucket, lets the drops drain off without shaking it up or wiping it and presents it to the customer.
Reading out the name
The sommelier reads out the name of the wine clearly to the customer who ordered it, showing them the label while standing on their right:
The appellation area, the wine’s name, vintage, its classification if appropriate, name of the château, producer or vintner.
E.g. Saint-Julien, Château Léoville Barton, 1974, Deuxième cru classé or second growth, Château Langoa & Léoville Barton.
All bottles should be opened in front of the customer; so they shouldn’t be uncorked beforehand (except if sold by the glass).
The waiter puts a bottle of white back into the ice bucket to open it.
The bottle should be opened on the table.
Cutting off the top of the capsule
The sommelier cuts into the middle of the capsule or below the bottleneck’s collar using a sommelier’s knife to remove it. The blade cuts around the neck; the bottle remains upright with the label facing the customer.
They then wipe the top of the neck with a napkin.
Inserting the corkscrew
The waiter holds the screw thread straight on top of the cork, right in the middle and turns the corkscrew inserting it into the cork without going through the side.
Positioning the lever and taking the cork out
The sommelier tilts and rests the corkscrew’s lever on the edge of the bottleneck, and gently eases the cork out.
They sniff the bottom of the cork (that’s been in contact with the liquid) in case it smells corked. They wipe the neck with a napkin and perhaps with the cork’s rounded edge, if any shavings remain. They put the cork on a saucer and place it to the customer’s right.
Nod of approval
After opening it, the sommelier gives a taste of the wine to the person who ordered it, and waits for the go-ahead to serve other guests. They top up the person who tasted last. (If a woman tasted it, she’s served first)
The wine waiter should never offer a wine for tasting directly after an aperitif but wait until the customer has started to eat.
The wine could be decanted or caraffed.
A wine should always be served before the dish it’s going with. The sommelier holds the bottle firmly without hiding the label and serves each customer from the right. The glass should be at most half-filled for red wines and a third for whites.
While staying over the glass, they neatly turn the bottle and lift it to stop a drop forming on the neck. They wipe the neck and move on to the next person.
A good sommelier keeps an eye out to make sure the glasses are never empty.
They make sure the wine’s served before a dish is removed.