Dedicated wine bars and wine-oriented eateries know that storing and protecting the stock is top priority, but what about restaurants where wine is secondary? Here's what to look out for when wining at non-wine establishments:
Storage. How are the bottles stored and displayed? Are they protected from sunlight, stored horizontally (unless fortified, which should be stored standing up), and in a controlled, 55-degree environment in a gas or vacuum storage system? Any deviance from these mandatory procedures can result in an off or oxidized wine, so don't be afraid to look or ask.
Glassware. Though colored stemware may look good, serious wine drinkers want a clear, clean glass in which the color and quality of the wine can be best displayed. Also, wine glasses with dust in them, or ones washed with detergent (they should only be washed with very hot water) can impede the wine experience.