Who and How to propose a toast during a meal and the wines to use.

toast eyeHow to Propose a Toast

1. To begin

Stand where you can be seen.

Make sure that everyone has a full glass of something – alcoholic or not.

Hold your own glass in front of you – angle your arm up from the elbow not above your shoulder though..

Introduce yourself briefly, if you aren’t already known by everyone present. Say something about why you’ve gathered. Are you celebrating a successful project or period of time? A recent win? A newly formed partnership? The achievement of a big goal? Or are you honoring a particular person for what he or she has done? Say so.

Keep these introductory remarks brief — no longer than a minute to a minute and a half.

2. The Hope or Desire

Raise your glass to eye level.

State a hope or a wish for the future of the person being honored or for the parties gathered at the event. Use the subjective form, “May…”

Make it no more than two or three sentences. Keep your remarks in the spirit of the event, appropriate to the mood of the gathering. Don’t be light and breezy at a formal gathering or stiff and serious at a casual event.

3. The Toast

Raise your glass overhead.

Look the person in the eye.

In three or four words name the person, persons, or occasion being honored, “To…” If you keep it short, people will repeat the toast.


4. An Example

“X, As your friend/colleague, I’d like to propose a toast to you.

Achieving what you have in such a short time is a testament to your skill and your commitment to excellence.

So here’s my toast. May your success be ongoing. May your future be assured. And may the work you do continue to touch the lives of many. To X”

Tips to remember

Compliments to the host: If you are invited to dinner at someone’s house, always remember to compliment the host and the magnificent meal. If you are having trouble complimenting the host on their magnificent meal, you can always compliment them on their house or the presentation of the meal or even the time it has taken them to prepare it. Always remember that it is a special privilege to have been invited so thank them for the privilege.

Toast the host—don’t get toasted: The first toast is generally given by the host. Raise your glass and take a sip. In the event there are multiple toasts being given, remember you can toast with soft drink (soda) or water to save you the embarrassment of finding yourself completely inebriated by the end of the evening.

Never toast yourself: If you are the object of the toast, when everyone else is drinking from their glass as a toast to you, you do not take part in the drinking.

Know your stems:When you are drinking red wine you hold the bowl of the glass, yet when you are drinking white wine you hold it by the stem so as not to warm the wine.

It is not a crime to say no to wine: If you are attending a daytime function, or you don’t drink alcohol, or you don’t feel like any wine with the meal, when the waiter comes around to pour the wine don’t turn your glass upside down, just place your hand over the top of it to indicate that you do not want any.

Look them in the eye. No matter if you are proposing a toast in front of an auditorium or clinking a glass with one person, always look the person in the eye.

Basics aspects of wine

The Whites

Chardonnay is a very versatile wine grape: Big in the 1980’s and coming back. It’s flavour and aromas are easily influenced by where it’s grown and how it’s made. Fruit flavors range from apple and lime in cooler climates to tropical fruits in warmer places. When barreled in oak, it takes on a richness characterized by honey and strong butter flavors. When barreled in stainless steel, it often retains more mineral flavors and comes across as fresher on the palate.  Chardonnay is a favorite with seafood. Minerally versions, like those from Chablis, France, pair particularly well with oysters.

Riesling is a crisp, clean wine with green apple, pear and lime flavors. The best offer pleasing mineral qualities as well. With age, Riesling takes on honey flavors and attractive oily aromas. Riesling pairs nicely with spicy foods, poultry and pork. Try it with Thai food.

Pinot Gris is made from grapes that generally produce different styles of wine depending on where the grapes are grown and how they’re handled in the cellar. Pinot Gris typically makes rich wines marked by a bit of spice. The Italian style (Pinot Grigio) tends to be fresh, crisp and refreshing. Sample either style with seafood and pasta dishes, vegetarian food and poultry.

Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, crisp, aromatic wine with grapefruit and grassy flavours.  Sauvignon Blanc is a food-friendly wine that goes well with many seafood, poultry and vegetable dishes.

The Reds

Rose, the lightest red. Best served chilled. The primary flavours of rosé wine are red fruit, flowers, citrus, and melon, with a pleasant crunchy green flavour on the finish similar to celery or rhubarb. It is versatile enough to go with Meditterean foods, but also Asian-inspired dishes, Indian cuisine, tapas, BBQ and tex-mex work well too.

Pinot Noir, a delicate wine that tastes of red fruits like cherries, raspberries and strawberries. With age, flavours and aromas become more complex, developing earthy notes like mushrooms and decaying leaves. Pinot Noir is a versatile food wine, great with poultry, salmon, meat and vegetable dishes.

Merlot is a soft, supple wine with nice fruit flavours of plums and blackberries and occasionally mint, chocolate and eucalyptus flavours and aromas. Typically, it is ready to drink earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, which sometimes needs a few years for its astringent tannins to mellow. Merlot is very nice with meat dishes like beef and lamb.

Cabernet Sauvignon is more assertive than Merlot, with more tannin and greater ageing potential. It can have flavours of blackberries, plums, black currants, and cassis. Aged in oak, Cabernet Sauvignon can take on flavours of vanilla, cedar, chocolate, and coffee.  Cabernet Sauvignon is very nice with meat dishes like beef and lamb.

Shiraz (Syrah) Australian versions are typically big, bold and spicy with jammy fruit and aromas of leather and black fruit. Shiraz is a very versatile wine that pairs well with a wide variety of foods. It’s terrific with grilled meats.

For other dining and etiquette tips you can download my Etiquette and personal branding workbooks for men and women. Do the Etiquette IQ quiz to see how you rate.