You’re out to dinner, you’ve order a bottle of wine and you’re enjoying it with friends; however, every time the server passes by the table, they pour you more wine, even though you already have a sufficient amount in the glass. While you recognize that the server is just doing their job, the pouring is happening at a rate with which you’re not comfortable. In fact, it feels to you as if they’re pouring the wine quickly so that you’ll order another bottle. So what’s the polite way to handle the situation?
The first thing to remember is that once you order a bottle and it’s delivered to your table, it’s yours. In fact, did you know that if you don’t finish the bottle, you have a right to ask to take it home? The bottle being yours is an important thing to remember, because this means, while you still must be polite in how you request the server pour the wine, you have every right to drink the wine at your preferred pace.
One tactic you can use to hint to the server that you don’t want to be rushed through your bottle is simply placing your hand over your glass the first time they try to refill before you’re ready. You can then say something polite such as “we’re really loving this wine, but we want to drink it slowly to ensure it lasts through the meal.” Most servers will get the hint.
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Don’t feel comfortable interrupting a server mid-pour? Another option is to mention something immediately after tasting the wine. A line our wine geek likes to use includes a little bit of self deprecation, “I’m a bit of a lunatic and wine geek. Would it be cool if I poured the wine?” After all, you’re the customer and in control of your restaurant experience; most servers will kindly oblige and simply leave the bottle on your table.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that if you don’t want to be rushed through your bottle, you don’t have to be. Just politely let your server know that you’d like to drink the wine you’ve ordered more slowly. It may feel awkward, but any good server will make sure you have the experience you desire. Now it’s your job at the end of the meal to tip them well for helping you have that desired experience.