Lifestyle Eat

Red wine roulette

Written by The Eagle

This article first appeared in the Jul/Aug 2012 issue of World Gaming magazine.

While red wine is the connoisseur’s choice when it comes to sophisticated sipping, ordering by the glass in a casino can be a bit of a gamble. The Eagle offers five tips to ensure you come out ahead in the drinking stakes.

It’s a drink so classy the ancient Greeks and Romans each created their own god to represent it. The health benefits of drinking it in moderation have been espoused for many years. Until the 18th century, it was often considered safer than the available drinking water. Of course we are talking about one of life’s most exquisite pleasures, red wine.

Known to be an ideal drink for reducing anxiety and tension whilst stimulating appetite, it is no wonder this ancient beverage is available on most gaming floors around the world. But in my experience the gambling involved when attempting to select a glass of quality red wine from those on offer in casinos is often riskier than that involved with the wagers being placed at the tables.

Given the developing wine culture in many parts of the world you are often ordering from and relying upon the knowledge of someone, who, in all likelihood, is not a wine drinker. Unless you are able to see the bottle for yourself, you could be in for some trouble.

Casino reds tend to be fairly bland – even in the high rollers room. The last thing you want when having a good time at the tables is a bad quality wine or a mouthful of vinegar from a bottle which has been open way too long.

Adhering to the following pointers will increase the chance that your red wine experience enhances your overall gaming experience:

Tip 1

Given the choice, choose something local. Local wines are likely to have the highest consumption amongst customers. The high turnover of bottles should reduce the chance of wine being spoilt by environmental factors. Local wines should also represent the best value for money, as they are not subject to import taxes.


Tip 2

Select a wine from a country renowned for the particular variety on offer. Those who design wine lists usually look for both value and drinkability. By asking which country the variety is from, you will improve the chances of sipping something pleasant. Knowing which wines and regions offer consistency is the key.

Pinot Noir from New Zealand usually contains seductive scents and flavors which result in crisp finished wine that can be consumed even though relatively young.

Shiraz from Australia features earthy, round flavors with a velvet, aromatic finish. As the vines were planted in the 19th century, all Shiraz growing regions in Australian produce a consistent quality of fruit, which results in consistent wine.

Merlots from France have a strong track record for being soft, lush and medium bodied. The lower levels of tannins make it an easy drinking wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon from the United States thrives due to the warmer climates of California’s wine regions of the Napa Valley and Sonoma. Considered the king of the reds, wine from California is complex, intense and consistent.


Tip 3

Avoid wines from countries where there are many different wine types from different regions produced within the country. The risk of being poured a dud wine from such regions is far greater than being surprised by a star. For a casino floor “red by the glass”, I would steer clear of wines from countries such as Chile, Spain and Italy.


Tip 4

Ask for a taste first. Most places offering wine by the glass will let you taste, depending on the distance between the bar and the gaming tables.


Tip 5

Don’t be shy to send back the glass after a sip or two. The taste of wine is a personal one that varies according to an individual’s palate. Sometimes you will be served something that is clearly not fit for drinking. Nothing brings down your mood quicker (or makes you leave the table faster) than receiving an undrinkable glass of wine when you really want to be consuming a good one.


And remember, too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad for you, so enjoy in moderation!