A wine waiter is someone whose primary duty is to recommend and serve wine at a hotel or restaurant. A wine waiter is typically a person who is wine knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of serving wine, such as knowing the characteristics of each grape variety and what wines best complement particular foods.
A wine waiter usually has gained wine knowledge by having trained in a hotel or restaurant, or taken courses and seminars on wine. They have gained knowledge by reading books on the subject. Most importantly, a wine waiter has educated his or her palate by tasting and comparing many wines .
Some hotels and restaurants have extensive wine lists and a wine waiter might not have had the opportunity to taste them all. However, it's important to know how various vintages compare and the common characteristics of every type of wine.
A wine waiter should be familiar with the menu and know what wines would be appropriate with each dish. She knows the characteristics of each major wine varietal or type, such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and chardonnay, and is able to explain and suggest food pairings, such as a full-bodied cabernet with a steak and a chardonnay with a chicken or fish dish. A wine waiter never should argue over a patron's wine selection. Knowing that taste is subjective, she should accept a patron's desire to have a heavy red wine with fish.
A wine waiter is able to serve wine properly, knowing that presenting the cork to the person who ordered the wine is only to authenticate the wine label by the cork's imprint and not to smell, which tells you nothing. A wine waiter is familiar with different wine glasses and knows what shape of glass enhances the flavour and aroma of a wine. A wine waiter knows how to pour wine so that it fills the glass a quarter of the way and that wine breathes in the glass, where it's exposed to more air, and not in the bottle. Knowing how to open a bottle of champagne by holding the cork and twisting the bottle is equally important.
Working in Harmony
A wine waiter always should work in concert with the other waitstaff and not overstep his or her position by interfering or taking on the duties of the food waiter or server. A wine waiter knows how to coordinate with the food server the proper time to serve the wine.