Second-Cheapest Wine Syndrome

Second-Cheapest Wine Syndrome

Feeling insecure about choosing a wine from a restaurant list? You are not alone. According to a recent study in the U.K., one out of three Brits feel that they do not know which wine to order.

Most choose the second-cheapest wine to avoid looking cheap or stupid in front of friends and waiters. (Presumably, being cheap is defined only as ordering the absolute cheapest bottle on the list.)

As well, a quarter of the survey respondents said that they wouldn't know if they were served a bad wine in a restaurant, and half feel stressed just ordering wine. (In the picture above, they seem to be sharing a spot of tension over who just selected the wine and how much it cost.)

I think that those stats are probably applicable to the U.S. too. Is there any more socially sticky situation than sending back a bottle at a restaurant? Most diners won't do it, according to sommeliers I know. And yet, if industry stats are correct ...

... somewhere between 5% and 10% of wines are corked or otherwise faulty.

Is there any hope (or help) for this situation? Most subjects in the study feel too intimidated to ask a server for advice. What would you suggest? Do you feel this way about ordering wine in a restaurant?


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