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I brought a bottle of nice wine to a nice restaurant. Should I offer some to the somm?
Absolutely. If you’re bringing a bottle of wine to a restaurant, especially one with a nice enough list to have a sommelier on the floor, etiquette dictates that you should offer them a taste. Not doing so is actually viewed as being pretty rude. You’re still asking them to open and possibly decant the bottle for you, even though it’s not one they offer, so providing them an opportunity to also taste the wine is the appropriate thing to do.
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Bringing your own bottle to a nice restaurant and paying the corkage fee is usually a lot of fun for the somm because if the bottle is really special, they usually get a chance to taste something they probably have never had before. Offering that taste is pretty simple. After the somm opens your bottle and pours you a taste to make sure it’s O.K, simply ask if they’d like to taste the wine as well. It’s that simple and a very polite thing to do.
Are cheaper bottles of wine more likely to give you a hangover? If so, why?
Not necessarily, but there is often a good chance. That’s because cheaper bottles of wine — I am talking $10 and under — often use sugar to mask the poor quality of the cheaper fruit while also raising the alcohol. This sugar is what is responsible for that nasty headache and hangover in the morning, similar to if you’d been drinking Rum and Cokes or Daquiris all night. Because your drink is filled with sugar, your body needs water to flush the substance out of your system and that means it can’t also process the alcohol effectively, so you wind up feeling not-so-great the next day.
However, cheap bottles of wine are not the only culprit. Some more expensive bottles have also been known to use sugar when the harvest wasn’t great. But this is a rarity.
What can I expect out of a brewery tour?
Brewery tours vary significantly based on the brewery. Some allow you into the actual brewery to see where the action happens, while others allow you to view the brewery from a safe, elevated platform while a guide points out specific items and machines. All in all, what you should expect from the tour is a fun experience where you learn a bit more about how this particular brewery makes their beer. It shouldn’t be so long that you’re falling asleep, or so short that it’s basically a marketing presentation. In addition, dumb questions should be welcomed with open arms. It’s the only way to get more people into beer.