Choosing wine

Colin BurbidgeQ: I enjoy taking clients out to dinner all except for picking the wine. How do I avoid making embarrassing faux pas and is it possible to impress without breaking the bank?

A: Of course! Picking and enjoying wine does not need to involve buying the priciest bottle or worrying over what the label says about you. Be adventurous in your choices but resist the temptation to shake the champagne and you should be fine.

Here are my top ten tips:

1. Be adventurous, try different wines.
2. Don't assume spending more will get you a better wine.
3. Serve and drink wine at the right temperature to make the most of it.
4. Always share a bottle of wine, it's a social thing.
5. Never shake champagne before opening, motor racing drivers are used to danger!
6. Don't worry too much about food matching, avoiding the major incompatibilities will suffice.
7. Don't choose your wine by the atractiveness of the label.
8. Try a fino or manzanilla sherry, it's fantastic value.
9. Visit a vineyard, it's fascinating.
10. Try Spanish wines, they are wonderfully good value.

Colin Burbidge is the founder of Lancashire Wine School, which opens its doors in January to offer anything from a two-hour evening tasting, through an all day introductory session with lunch up to a full ten-week course, perfect for those who enjoy a tipple and would love to learn more.