While the United States has plenty of wine regions to explore — more than enough to keep even the most efficient enthusiasts busy — it’s no secret that many of the world’s greatest wines are produced outside of the country. This means that if you’re a serious wine drinker, you need to travel abroad to fully explore your passion. Even if you just like wine, and like to try the local varietals when you are away, there are two things you need to know to get the most out of your experience. The first is what those local varietals are in the country or region in which you happen to be traveling. Equally important, however, and often overlooked, is knowing how to tell the locals that you’re interested in drinking their wine.
While you could just point and gesture (we’ve all done it at some point), it’s not exactly the most sophisticated way to converse with other adults. And when you’re talking about something as classy as wine, you want to sound sophisticated. Nothing screams “ignorant American” more than awkwardly gesticulating at a waiter or other service person while speaking English VERY SLOWLY AND LOUDLY so that he or she will understand. And in this day and age — this recent day and age in particular — nobody wants to be viewed as an ignorant American any more than Americans as a group already are.
This leaves only one option: Order your wine in the native tongue.
On its face, it’s a somewhat intimidating option. Wine regions span the globe after all, and how are you supposed to keep all of those languages straight in addition to remembering the names of the local wines? Lucky for you, we’re here to help out by providing some key phrases that will come in handy the next time you find yourself desperate for a glass of something bold, bubbly, fruity, or dry in any number of the world’s most popular wine destinations.
“Can I have a glass of red wine [white wine] [sparkling wine]?”
Italy: Posso avere un bicchiere di vino rosso [vino bianco] [spumante]?
France: Puis-je avoir un verre de vin rouge [vin blanc] [vin mousseux]?
Germany: Kann ich ein Glas Rotwein haben [Weißwein haben] [Schaumwein]?
Argentina/Spain: ¿Puedo tomar un vaso de vino tinto [vino blanco] [vino espumoso]?
Portugal: Posso beber um copo de vinho tinto [vinho branco] [vinho espumante]?
Croatia: Mogu li dobiti čašu crnog vina [bijelog vina] [pjenušavo vino]?
“We would like to order a bottle of….[insert wine for which the country/region is known here]”
Italy: Vorremmo ordinare una bottiglia di…[Chianti, Barolo, Prosecco].
France: Nous aimerions commander une bouteille de…[Pinot Noir, Sancerre, Cabernet Franc]
Germany: Wir möchten eine Flasche [Riesling, Silvaner] bestellen…
Argentina: Nos gustaría pedir una botella de…[Malbec].
Spain: Nos gustaría pedir una botella de…[Rioja, Cava].
Portugal: Gostaríamos de pedir uma garrafa de…[Tinto, Vinho Verde, Porto].
Croatia: Željeli bismo naručiti bocu…[Teran, Malvasia Istriana]
“What do you recommend?”
Italy: Che cosa mi consiglia?
France: Que recommandez-vous?
Germany: Was empfehlen Sie?
Argentina/Spain: ¿Que recomiendas?
Portugal: O que você recomenda?
Croatia: Što ti preporučuješ?
Expanding Your Horizons
“Can I try the…?”
Italy: Posso provare il…?
France: Puis-je essayer le…?
Germany: Kann ich den…..probieren?
Argentina/Spain: ¿Puedo probar el…?
Portugal: Posso tentar o…?
Croatia: Mogu li probati…?
“Another round, please.”
Italy: Un altro giro, per favore.
France: Un autre tour, s’il vous plaît.
Germany: Eine andere runde, bitte.
Argentina/Spain: Otra ronda, por favor.
Portugal: Outra rodada, por favor.
Croatia: Još jednu rundu, molim te.
Some Food With Your Wine?
“Can we have some bread [cheese]?”
Italy: Possiamo avere un po ‘di pane [formaggio]?
France: Peut-on prendre du pain [fromage]?
Germany: Können wir etwas Brot [Käse] haben?
Argentina/Spain: ¿Podemos tener pan [queso]?
Portugal: Podemos comer pão [queijo]?
Croatia: Možemo li kruha [malo sira]?
“I need to call a taxi home.”
Italy: Ho bisogno di chiamare a casa in taxi.
France: Je dois appeler un taxi à la maison.
Germany: Ich muss ein Taxi nach Hause rufen.
Argentina/Spain: Necesito llamar a un taxi a casa.
Portugal: Preciso ligar para um táxi para casa.
Croatia: Moram nazvati taksi doma.
Happy travels, and cheers!