Paying for Etiquette
Like everyone else from time to time we speak out against the high price
of wines served at a restaurant. We compare the prices on the wine
list to those we pay in the store down the street. Why is the same bottle
of wine so much more expensive in the restaurant. Ah! because your pay
for elegant service along with the pleasure and enjoyment of the presentation
of the wine. The proper method of pouring. Wine served at the perfect temperature.
A waiter who knows his wines knows how to serve them
There are also business-related reasons for the mark up --the cost of storing
the wine, training qualified wine and serving
staff, and the cost of replacing broken stemware.
My wife and I accompanied friends to a restaurant in greater
Vancouver, The restaurant name will be omitted from this article although I
will say it began with the word wine, An indication that they were
proud of their wine list and ability to serve wine. Prices began at $26.00
a bottle and worked their way up to $90.00.
Our friends quickly stated that dinner was on them and asked
me to select a bottle of wine. "Since you are the wine guy" our
host said. Now it is always easy to select an enjoyable wine, the question
was how much are you going to spend at someone else's expense. I quite
frankly thought the wines at this resturant were priced too high.
I selectd one of the lower priced bottles of wine (sorry to say it was from
Austrailia due to a poor selection of moderately priced Canadian wines) but
not cheap. When the wine arrived the waitress placed the glasses on the table
pushed them forward requesting that we pass the glasses down. She then produced
the wine. To my atonishment the bottle was uncorked. My mind screamed no no
no....so I protested. The waitress made a joke and began pouring wine into
the first glass. Wait just minute here what is going on. Where is the proper
wine serving etiquette. Once again I protested, My friend said" No, it's okay
don't worry about it." I wasn't paying the bill so I fell silent.
It was quite obvious this waitress had no idea how to serve wine,
nor did the management. To me it was an expensive bottle of wine
which I had been cheated out of the enjoyment of the wine tasting experience
along with the necessary elegant etiquette required. There is an explicit
relevance to the etiquette of wine. I did not let my disappointment ruin
the rest of the meal and enjoyed the company of my wife and our friends.
The correct etiquette
After ordering, the waiter/sommelier will retrieve your selection, and
then present it, label forward, to the person who selected the wine.. This
is merely to verify it is the correct wine. The cork is removed and placed
on the table. Unless it is clearly tainted, (the waiter/sommelier should
notice if it is) do not touch or smell it, as it means nothing.
A small amount will then be poured for the host. Swirl the wine in the
glass, smell, then taste. This is to make sure the wine is not spoiled
and is not an opportunity to send back a sound wine that you are not crazy
about. After approval, the wine will be poured clockwise to the right,
ladies first. The selectors glass will be topped last.
If the waiter/sommelier is extremely good he/she will compliment you on your
selection. They will also continuously check your table adding to your glass
at the appropriate moment. In higher class restaurants it's the servers responsibility
to refill your glass .