I am currently 19 years old and work as a server at California Pizza Kitchen. I have never had an alcoholic beverage in my entire life.
One night, a woman came in with her husband and were reading over the wine list. She asked me to recommend a wine to accompany her dinner. I got stuck and said "I'm sorry m'am, I have never had any wine before since I am underage so I'm not sure I can give you a proper recommendation." She gave me a look of disgust and asked in an annoyed manner, "well is there anyone I may speak with that knows more than you?" The husband told her not to worry and that he'd choose one for her.
That being said, we have a wine list with about 30 different types of wines. I've been through training which teaches me various descriptive words I can say about each wine. There have been a few occasions where I have been asked to recommend a particular wine. I just don't know what to say because I've never tasted any of them before and I don't want to run the risk of recommending a bad wine and ruining someone's meal.
As a diner, what would you want me to do? Recommend a wine? Tell the truth about my inexperience? How would I go about admitting it without sounding foolish and angering the customer?