While this might come as somewhat of a surprise, as a general rule, I try and avoid doing the wine pairing option at restaurants. While wine pairings sound like a good idea in theory — taking the thought out of what you should be drinking — I have often found them to be underwhelming.

Sure, wine pairings are a good way for the sommelier and beverage teams to highlight wines you might not order, but they’re also a great excuse to move through bottles that aren’t being ordered in the first place. On top of this, the wine pairing for two can often turn out to be just as expensive or more, than if you’d ordered a nice bottle of wine with glasses of Champagne to start.

The other issue is the quantity you receive; sometimes it’s far too much wine, while other times it can be much less than you expected, especially when you take into account the price of the pairing. For me, I’d rather have a conversation with the server or beverage team and then order glasses or bottles that allow me to pace myself throughout the meal.

Get the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.

If I am ever to do pairings, it’s usually at a restaurant where I know the team is known for the wines they choose, and it’s known the pairings are worth the cost. Unfortunately, I find that’s rarely the case, and I’m better off letting the team guide me through the list they’ve built, a list that it’s worth remembering was also curated to go with the restaurant’s cuisine.