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 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 .



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