Romancing the bottle | Jancis Robinson

Wine-tasting sounds romantic but Jancis Robinson has seen it go wrong. She shares her tips to avoid disaster

What could be more romantic than a wine trip? A friend once went to enormous lengths to propose to his inamorata in an ideally bucolic setting. Napa Valley was the chosen location. No wine region offers a more attractive combination of glorious scenery, sophisticated restaurants and wineries that set their cap artfully at the visiting tourist.

The denouement of their trip was dinner at the world-famous French Laundry, where Thomas Keller’s staff serve a multi-course tasting menu accompanied by handpicked wines. My friend had arranged that a waiter would suggest to them halfway through that they might like to take a turn in the garden. He proposed and his girlfriend said yes – the only problem was that the last thing she wanted to do was plough through endless more food and returning to the table was a bore. “I told the maître d’ I’d got engaged,” she said, “but he was so uninterested. Maybe people get proposed to there all the time.”

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