I’ve read many, many times that a man absolutely must know how to order wine in a restaurant, whether he’s at a business dinner or on a date. I agree. But why just men? I’m a lady who knows her way around a wine list (for obvious reasons), but I think the average person should have basic command of wines so as not to panic when the wine list arrives. It’s good to feel some degree of comfort when ordering wine, either by the glass or by the bottle, and it’s fairly basic to know how to pair to most dishes.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot are pretty basic - steak and hearty dishes. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc (and perhaps Riesling as well) with lighter dishes, fish, etc. Pinot Noir is generally what I consider a safe “crossover” wine - it’s lighter than the other reds, usually has nice bright acidity, and tends to pair well with lots of dishes. I’d also generally place Chianti and other Sangiovese based wines in that category as well, for its food friendly characteristics and texture.
Yes, anyone can ask the sommelier or whomever is available to assist at a restaurant, for help with the wine list and making a selection. But I think it’s a good idea to have basic knowledge enough to be able to select a reasonably safe wine to have with dinner. And if it’s just for sipping, feeling confident enough to experiment with the wines available can be quite fun!
The other thing I think is at least as important as knowing how to choose a wine is knowing how to use a corkscrew. I think this is particularly important for men, and based on my own personal experiences, I think it’s safe to say it’s essential that a man know how to open a bottle of wine. (Yes, I was once involved with someone who couldn’t master the corkscrew - good thing I know how.) Any corkscrew will do, and since new corkscrew models are available that make opening the bottle even easier, there’s hardly an excuse for not being able to use one. But mastering the waiter’s corkscrew is worth it.
Me - I’m impressed when someone knows how to order wine correctly. I’m left scratching my head when a guy can’t open the bottle on his own. As they say, “don’t be that guy” - it’s pretty easy to learn to order correctly, and it’s very easy to open a bottle.