If you want to look smart when you order wine in a restaurant, outward confidence is essential. You should always keep in mind, you’re in charge. It’s your money and taste buds, the waiter or sommelier is there to please you and your group.
Be straightforward about what you like and describe it in words that make sense to you.
Feel free to mention specific wines you enjoy and ask for something similar.
Tell the server how much money you’re comfortable spending. It’s their job to point out a wine or wines you’ll enjoy that fit your budget. If you feel like going out of your comfort zone, ask the server what wines in your price range they’re excited about at the moment, this will often lead to tasty wines and very good values.
One thing you generally never want to do is order the second-least expensive wine on the list; this selection is quite often the item that has been marked up the most severely. People often resist ordering the least expensive wine and often jump up one notch and end up getting burned on value.
Most importantly, remember: there’s no disputing taste. If you like it, it’s good.