About our wine

How to Order Wine

You’re at your favorite restaurant, about to order your favorite meal, and you’d like to try a new wine to accompany your food. It’s time to put your vineyard vocabulary to work and get exactly the experience you’re looking for. Are you ready? (Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated.)

Work with your Server

A good sommelier or server will know how to ask the right questions to arrive at the perfect recommendation for you. But to increase the likelihood of loving their advice, you will find it helpful to use some wine-related descriptors.

Start by identifying words that describe wines you’ve enjoyed in the past. These are some of the most important words to use when ordering wine. Armed with these, you can effortlessly request a “full-bodied, earthy and tannic red,” an “off-dry aromatic white with high acidity,” or whatever else you may desire. 


Dry wine refers to a taste sensation attributed to tannins that causes puckering in the mouth. Dry wine is what you get when all of the grape’s sugars convert to alcohol. It is the opposite of sweet wine, which still has residual sugars left from the grapes. 


Sweet is a tasting term referring to perceptible flavors and odors of sugar in the wine. Sweet wine is the opposite of dry wine.

Tannic or Smooth

Many people who use the word “dry” actually mean “tannic.” That’s because tannins can make your mouth feel dry. Tannins are phenolic compounds in the wine that leave you with a bitter, dry, puckery feeling. Tannins are important because they provide texture and mouthfeel to the wine and a sense of structure and balance. 

Soft tannins are no longer astringent and result in smooth wine. Low tannin red wines are even-textured and round.

Some grape varieties are naturally predisposed to high tannin levels. If that’s what you prefer, be sure to mention it. Conversely, if you want to avoid tannic wines, the word you’ll want to use is “smooth.”


A complex wine has many layers to it and exhibits numerous odors, nuances, and flavors. If you’re looking for a wine that can change from the moment you taste it to the moment you swallow it, ask for a complex or deep wine. 


Do you like wines that make your mouth water and pucker? If so, ask for a high-acidity wine. Acidity is the perceived level of crispness or sharpness of wine. A wine needs high levels of acid to provide liveliness and balance. 

If you find the puckering sensation undesirable, low acidity is the way to go. Acidity works on a spectrum, of course, and many people find themselves somewhere in between. 


Some people prefer their wines to be light and airy, while others want to drink something more substantial. 

Full-bodied wine refers to wine that is high in both alcohol and flavor. Most full-bodied wines are red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Bordeaux. Full-bodied wines have complex flavors and a rich mouthfeel.


Fermenting or aging wines in new oak (barrels that have not been previously used) will give them a woody profile accompanied by a range of flavors such as vanilla, spices, coconut, and mocha. If you like those flavors, you’ll want to mention that you prefer an oaky wine.


Buttery flavors in wine (most notably, domestic Chardonnays) come from a process called malolactic fermentation, in which the tangy malic acid in the wine (think green apples) is converted to softer, gentler lactic acid (think yogurt, cheese or, well, butter). 

Wherever you land on the butter preference spectrum, this is an important term when you’re ordering chardonnay.


Earthy wine refers to an odor or flavor reminiscent of the earth, soil, or even mushrooms, dried herbs, leather, and tobacco. If you’re not afraid to get really earthy, you might request a wine that is “funky” – a descriptor often applied to natural wines.


If you enjoy wines with fruity flavors, you’ll want to request a wine that’s fruit-forward. These tend to be bright, approachable, and easy to drink. Fruit flavors vary with each grape variety; white wines can have flavors of tropical fruits, citrus, or stone fruit, while reds tend to have characteristics like cherries, berries, or plums. 


Are you the fresh-from-the-garden type? Try asking for a herbaceous wine if you like flavors such as oregano, rosemary, and basil. Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine variety that is commonly positively described as herbaceous.

Your Price Point

If you’re not comfortable stating your desired price range out loud at the table, point to the price of a wine on the list and casually mention to your server that you’d like something along those lines. They’ll get the hint. 

Specific Grape Varieties or Regions

If there’s a region or grape variety that you know you love, sharing this with your sommelier can be one of the best ways to get a great selection. 

Saying something along the lines of “I love cabernets from Napa”, or “sauvignon blanc is my favorite grape” is a great way to relay your desires to your server. For instance – knowing that you like sauvignon blanc lets them know that you prefer light-bodied, high-acidity white wines with bright citrus and herbal flavors. 

Enjoy your Experience

When it comes to ordering wine, it’s unnecessary to memorize the countless terms and phrases associated with wine. Knowing a handful of these terms will allow you to communicate your taste preferences to your server. And remember, enjoying wine is a social experience. You can’t go wrong with good food, good friends, and the right bottle of wine.

About our wine

Best Wine to Pair with your Favorite Homemade Dishes this Summer

Summer is almost here and you know what that means – barbeques, picnics, and outdoor dinner parties are right around the corner. With warmer weather comes summer comfort foods – eaten outside, of course. From burgers on the grill to giant bowls of pasta salad, even the most casual of summer meals deserves to be paired with an elegant and delicious glass of wine that brings out its best and brightest flavors. Enjoy these classic summer comfort foods with a glass of Byrd Vineyard’s high-altitude wines and remember our golden rule: if you love it, do it! Never let the warm weather stop you from enjoying a glass of red wine.

Tips for Pairing Wine and Food

Before selecting your bottle of wine to pair with this evening’s dinner, ask yourself:

  • Do I love this wine? If the answer is yes, chances are you will not be disappointed.
  • Is this wine sweet or dry? The wine should always be sweeter than the food you are serving.
  • Does this wine have high tannins? Refreshing and light red wines that are low in tannins and alcohol levels will not overpower your food while still bringing bright flavors to the table.


No summer is complete without a barbeque. Whether going all out with a variety of grilled meats, vegetables, and side dishes or simply throwing some burgers and hot dogs on the grill, barbeques are the delicious summer meals that we dream about all year long. We would be remiss if we didn’t pair these dream-worthy meals with an equally delectable bottle of wine.

When talking about a barbeque, it goes without saying that burgers will make an appearance – and rightfully so. Hearty, meaty, and oh-so satisfying, burgers are an easy and classic summer meal. Since a cheeseburger is composed of the two most popular elements to pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon – meat and cheese – we recommend pairing with our 2009 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon. The body of the wine will pair well with the classic, flavorful meal. Whether you opt to grill a classic cheeseburger or add extra-special touches such as grilled mushrooms and Swiss cheese or blue cheese and BBQ sauce, the pairing is sure to be out of this world.

If you’re a red wine lover, chances are you also enjoy a tender, juicy steak from time to time. If you’re planning on grilling up a ribeye this summer, we suggest serving it alongside our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Silky and rich, this wine is sure to elevate any backyard barbeque. Featuring bold flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and sweet French oak, the smooth tannins and full body of this wine will stand its own against a powerful steak.

Steak not your style? Grilled chicken is another great meal choice that pairs beautifully with our 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Merlot. A smooth wine with hints of red fruits, soft tannins, and a long finish, our Merlot is incredibly versatile. Its sweet and herbaceous notes would bring out delicious flavors of garlic and herbs in grilled garlic and herb chicken

Side Dishes

Everybody loves a homemade mac and cheese – it’s not just for kids! Rich and buttery, this luscious summertime classic needs a powerful wine to stand up against its intense flavors. Macaroni and cheese pairs well with our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Cabernet Sauvignon, an acidic and bold wine that can easily cut through its creaminess. 

There’s something about homemade salads that taste so much better when eaten outside – with a glass of wine, of course. A summer salad featuring fresh strawberries, avocado, and basil would pair deliciously with our 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Merlot to bring out its ripe berry flavors. This bright and lemony garlic and herb macaroni salad would pair deliciously with our lucious and herbaceous 2010 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Byrdeaux Red Wine. Bursting with summer flavors, these homemade salads would taste amazing with a glass of light and refreshing red wine.

Grilled vegetables pair surprisingly well with even the boldest of red wines. The grilling process helps bring out a savory element in the veggies, amplifying their flavor and helping them to stand up to intense wines. Delicious grilled veggies to pair with our 2012 Byrd Vineyard Mendocino Red Wine include eggplants, peppers, squash, and zucchini. 


Don’t forget dessert! A homemade fruit salad filled with fresh fruits would pair wonderfully with any of our fruit-forward red wines. Additionally, the combination of chocolate and raspberry is a match made in heaven when paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. Try these raspberry chocolate brownies or this chocolate raspberry tart with any of our Cabernet Sauvignons for the ultimate wine and dessert pairing. 

Have Fun with It!

Homemade comfort foods are meant to be enjoyed with family, friends, and delicious bottles of wine. Be sure to have fun and be creative when trying new wine pairings – you never know what your new favorite combination will be! Looking to sample more than one of our wines? Check out our new wine bundles.

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