We all know that dating is hard: the awkward silences, the nerves of the first kiss, the fear of flatulence in an intimate moment. Yes, dating is hard on so many fronts, including knowing what wine to order on the very first date. Perhaps you’re at a nice restaurant and don’t want to come across as having too rich of taste, hoping to stay away from the best vintages. Perhaps you’re having a date over for dinner and want a bottle that is flavorful, but not too expensive. Perhaps you’re out for just a drink and don’t want to ruin your chances of next time going out for a dinner by getting too loopy from a wine with a high alcohol content. If you fall into any of the above categories, keep reading; this buzz is for you.

Best Wines to Order for Dinner

Glasses of wine at restaurants can range from five or six dollars, to eleven or twelve dollars or more. On the first date, you may simply look at the prices when ordering and let that dictate your decision, choosing a glass in the lower range. However, you don’t want to order a wine you won’t enjoy drinking, that defeats the purpose of ordering wine to begin with.

Instead, order a wine that you think you’ll like, but one that is not at the top of the price range. If you are enjoying a steak or a red sauce pasta, try ordering a decent priced Italian Cabernet Franc or a Pinot Noir from Oregon or California. If you are enjoying chicken or a white sauced pasta, try ordering a moderately priced German Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Don’t start off just yet ordering the 1995 Chteau Margaux to go with your lobster. You see, we build to that.

Best Bottles to Buy

When inviting your date over for dinner, there are essentials you need to purchase: candles, a bottle of wine, and a vacuum cleaner (if you don’t already have one). As far as the bottle of wine is concerned, you don’t want to go too overboard, and present a 200 dollar bottle of Champagne, nor do you want to purchase a bottle that may be too much of an acquired taste, such as Sake. You also don’t want to purchase a really full bodied wine that might be hard on your date’s palate or a dessert wine that is sweeter than, well, your own lov’in.

Instead, purchase wines that are moderately priced, and genuinely well accepted. If you are serving a red dish, try a Yellow Tail Shiraz, an Australian wine that usually sells for around eight dollars or a Castle Rock Columbia Valley Cabernet, a Washington Wine that sells for around eleven or twelve dollars. If you are serving a white dish, try a Spellbound Chardonnay, a California wine that goes for under 20 dollars, or a Clean Slate Riesling, a German wine that goes for around 13 dollars. Buy a smaller bottle rather than a large one; once you open it, you will have to drink the contents within a few days to avoid spoilage. Plus, if you finish the wine, you can always use the empty container to play Spin the Bottle. It’s a corner stone of romance.

Best Wines to Order When Just Going Out for a Drink

Minus the disclosure of a prior sex change operation, there are few things that will ruin a date faster than getting unbelievably drunk and performing the Macarena atop the restaurant bar. On your first date, it’s important to stay on your best behavior and stay away from wines with high alcohol content.

To avoid any potentially date-killing performances, avoid wines that are dessert wines, sparkling wines, or fortified wines: avoid the Sherry’s, the Ice Wines, the Champagnes, and the Ports. Instead, fill your glasses with Pinot Noir, a Shiraz, a Zinfandel, a Chardonnay, or a Pinot Gris.

Dating - taking its cue from life - has no guarantees, but knowing the best wines to order on your first date may be the initial step in turning your first date into a second one.