The server walks by your table and notices there are only a few inches of wine left in your bottle. Upon this observation, they swiftly pick up the bottle and ask the table, “would you like to order another?” And here is where an opportunity for anxiety can quickly set in.
While this seems like an easy question, this situation is wrought with pitfalls for many of us every night we go out. The biggest reason for this is that everyone drinks wine in different amounts and at different speeds, and we have to take this into account before choosing to order another bottle, especially if we plan on splitting the bill.
For those of us who like to take dining out as an excuse to drink a few more glasses than normal, we can often forget that for some of our companions, one or two glasses of wine is all they need to get them through the night. So what do we do when we are asked about ordering another bottle and it isn’t clear if everyone at the table wants that extra bottle to be ordered?
One way to avoid this dilemma is by simply establishing at the beginning of the meal how many bottles of wine the table is comfortable with ordering. This duty should fall to the person put in charge of ordering the wine in the first place, and the question asked can be as simple as, “Do we all plan on drinking more than one bottle of wine tonight?” If the group answers yes, you can then quickly gauge the number of bottles, and go from there.
But let’s say this question was not asked at the beginning of the meal and now here you are, server standing over you, waiting to take your order for another bottle. Your first option is to ask the server to give you a moment and then take a quick poll of the table. “Who else feels like having another bottle of wine?” If the answer is unanimous, go ahead and order another bottle. However, if the answer is mixed, the next best option is ordering the final bottle, but only splitting that final bottle’s cost between those who have opted to drink it.
What do you do, however, if you don’t feel comfortable asking the server to come back, or more likely, you want to go ahead and order because you fear you won’t receive another visit from your server until it’s time to pay the bill. Your first option, especially if you’re one of the people wanting to order another bottle, is placing the order and picking up the extra cost yourself. This saves those not wishing to consume any more wine from having to cover a few people’s desire to imbibe a bit more, and will definitely ensure you’re a dinner guest people always will want at their table.
That said, if you aren’t able to pick up the cost of the extra bottle yourself, the next best option is to order the same bottle you have been drinking, or one that costs LESS than the bottle you’re currently consuming. Then, once the server takes your order and departs, you can say to the rest of the table that since you realize many people have already drunk as much as they want this evening, you’d like to suggest that just the people still drinking split the cost of the last bottle. Trust us, no one will argue this with you, and you’ll be a thoughtful dining companion for suggesting it.