I have a friend who is a member of the Joseph Phelps Preferred Wine Club, and has verticals of Insignia and Backus Cabernet in storage. You might not pick him out of a lineup to be the wine collector. I witnessed a server in a full-service restaurant with a solid selection of wine offer my friend every drink available except the wine list. After the list was asked for and delivered, the server highlighted only wines by the glass. For whatever reason, this server had determined my friend was not a serious wine drinker. 

A server in a restaurant with any wine program at all should have the list at the ready, if not on the table, when making introductions. After that, there are simply too many potential unknowns to judge a diner on appearance. If the server had offered the list going in, he might not have found out about my friend’s collection of wine, but he would certainly have known he was likely to order a bottle. When selling a full-service experience that is attracting sophisticated diners, it is a good rule to expect that they want your best, regardless of appearance. Or at least that they want to see your wine list.

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