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Wine Selection For Office Dinner

Which wines would you select/suggest for a small office dinner (12 people) at a restaurant, each having different taste? I don't have a budget, but would like to stay in the middle and the restaurants wine list is massive. The question really is how would you start, possibly a mixture of reds, whites, maybe a blend. Is there a general way of deciding what to serve to people I am just now getting to know?
Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

This is a great question but a little difficult to answer! First, I personally like the idea of selecting a variety of wines for a meal (with multiple courses) at home or in a restaurant. Bearing in mind, however, that you don't really know the tastes of the guests, there is no guarantee that every selection will be a hit. In any group of 12, you can be sure that you'll find a range of opinions: enthusiastic, generally pleased, and not too thrilled.
I would have to see the wine list and menu to make specific recommendations. However, a time-tested formula is to start with a good sparkler as an aperitif (it could be something like Gloria Ferrer or Roederer Estate, from California, not a pricey Champagne); move to a dry white (Sauvignon Blanc, for example, or unoaked Chardonnay) with a seafood first course; and then have a red with a meat entree (medium weight, like Chianti, or more powerful, like Shiraz) . If you have the budget, you might even finish with a sweet dessert wine, but they tend to be more expensive and meet with mixed responses from many people.
I hope this helps - have a great time!

About Our Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey, Portugal, China and the U.S. Roger is one of America's first Masters of Wine.

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