Bottled Wisdom

Lou Amdur, of Lou, in Hollywood, suggests five ways to make the most of a wine bar

bottled-4Leave Your Comfort Zone
“A lot of people come to me and say, ‘I’m a pinot grigio drinker.’ If you want to drink what you’re comfortable with, go drink at home. Use the wine bar as an opportunity to expand your awareness and to exploit the knowledge of the folks there—like me.”


bottled-4Don’t Commit
“If you’re shy about trying something new, go to a wine bar that offers smaller, two-ounce tastes. It’s not the most economical way to get your drink on, but at least if you love it, you can get a glass or the bottle. If not, it’s no big deal.”


bottled-4Start Small
“Wine service is like a three-course meal: You want to start with an appetizer.Even when someone says they want a full-bodied red right away, I give them a white or a lighter-bodied red to start— something to reset your palate and your brain.”


bottled-4Learn the Lingo 
“With steak we know what rare, medium, and well done means, and that helps the chef. Wine terms do the same for sommeliers. If you say you want something with ‘refreshing acidity, no oak, and slightly sparkling,’ I’ll know you should try this muscadet.”


bottled-4Drink Water
“There’s a difference between being happy and being bombed. Drinking water isn’t going to make you any less drunk, but you may have one less glass of wine. It seems like a stupid business decision, but you want customers to come back alive.”


Illustrations by Brett Ryder