Have you ever been out with family or clients and been asked to order a bottle of wine for the table?

The sommelier hands you the wine list--which looks more like a phone book--you panic and inevitably order a very expensive bottle because you think that will impress your guests.

Right?

Wrong!

Just because a bottle of wine is expensive, that doesnt mean its the best&or even good!

Ordering wine properly is certainly an acquired skill. And while theres tons of information out there to help you make a smart choice, it takes time to educate yourself. And in the interest of saving employees time, many companies, including Microsoft, MetLife and Merrill Lynch, are actually hiring trained sommeliers to help their employees make good wine selections when dining out with clients. (And lets face it, it saves a company money if employees stop ordering the most expensive bottle of wine on the company dime,)

Laurie Forster, who calls herself The Wine Coach, is capitalizing on this new trend.

She offers her clients tips for ordering a nice bottle of wine off a wine list without breaking the bank and, well, looking stupid.

And Im all about that: being frugal and not looking stupid at the same time.

Cent Anni!

Questions for Our Wine Pro

What is your death row wine?

I have to pick just one..give an inmate a break! Im joking, but picking just one is tough!

Personally, it would be a tie between a fabulous small grower champagne, like Pierre Peters or Salon, and my favorite red wine: Barolo. The red wines from the Piedmont region in Italy are among my favorites. I think for my last supper Id select the Aldo Conterno Gran Bussia Barolo from a stellar vintage like 2000 or 2001.

In your opinion, what region produces the best wine?

Hmm, that is like asking a parent to name their favorite child&I love them all, but for different reasons. I definitely think that regions like the Loire Valley in France are under appreciated. The quality and finesse of wines like Saviennieres and Chinon sometimes get lost with the focus on BIG wines. I also think that each wine region has its own best wine and, as a wine lover, the mission should be to discover what that is whether its in France, Italy or Virginia. This diversity is what makes wine so exciting!

What is the best food and wine pairing youve ever had?

My husband is a chef so I am a VERY lucky lady when it comes to food. Actually we are working on a cookbook called He Cooks, She Wines to help people create amazing food and wine pairings. One of my favorite dishes that Michael makes is called the black tie where he has a scallop with foie gras and black truffle baked in a puff pastry with port wine sauce--its to die for! I paired that with a white* Pinot Noir from Cavallotto Winery in Piedmont. This is a very unique wine and had enough gusto to stand up to this rich, luscious dish. I am salivating thinking about this&

*Most people dont know you can make white wine from red grapes by avoiding contact between the skins and the grape juice during fermentation.

From your perspective, what will the wine industry look like in the next 10 years?

I am so excited to see what the next decade will bring for the wine industry. I think that wine will continue to increase as part of daily life here in the U.S. and hopefully it will be as common on the dinner table as salt and pepper. 

I think wine is part of the recipe for a meal; that secret sauce to a perfect dinner! In Europe it is not uncommon to see wine offered at fast-food restaurants. I think if/when wine is offered at McDonalds, that will be the sign that it is finally mainstream.

I expect to see women taking a bigger role in all aspects of the industry from winemaking to marketing and sales. Women account for a majority of the wine consumption as well as purchases so it would be great to have that represented in the marketplace.

 

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Tracy Byrnes joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in October 2007 as a reporter.