Read the wine list. Don't be rushed when going over the list and look for any familiar wines. Knowing some of the wines on the list can help the selection process by establishing common ground, from which the sommelier can suggest similar wines.
Discuss the list with any other diners at the table if you are out with friends. Their personal preferences should be taken into account when ordering a bottle. Ask if others are familiar with any of the wines and what their opinions are of them.
Decide what to have for an entree. Many wines tend to go well with certain foods. Red wines go well with dark meats and red sauces, while white wines go well with lighter meats and white sauces.
Ask the waiter or the sommelier for advice. While waiters may or may not know about the wines on the list, the sommelier is a professional and may be on hand to help with the decision. They may pair the wine with a meal or to your personal preferences.
Choose the wine that is the most agreeable to everyone at the table. The waiter will bring the wine to the person who ordered it and allow him to taste it first. This allows the wine to be tested to see if it is "corked," or improperly stored. A corked bottle can be recognized by a musty smell and taste. If the bottle is corked, inform the waiter -- who will fetch another.
Approve the wine, and the waiter will then serve the rest of the table. Some problems with a bottle of wine might not become apparent until after the wine has been opened for some time. If problems become apparent, notify the sommelier immediately to request another bottle.