Spilled wine is one of the greatest drinking tragedies we can think of based simply on the fact that it didn’t wind up in our mouths. And what can make it even worse is when you spill a special glass or when the wine ends up all over you or someone else. It’s these types of situations that can turn a jovial time into a tense situation at the drop of a glass – pun intended. But the simple accident of spilling a glass of wine shouldn’t cause an otherwise fun evening to turn sour — it’s just a matter of how one handles the situation.
If the glass you happen to spill is your own, and the wine lands on an inconsequential location such as the floor, the tablecloth (which, let’s be honest, is basically just a bib for the table) or somewhere else where little harm was done, the biggest risk is potentially looking like a klutz and maybe damaging your ego a bit, a situation we’ve all been in at one time or another. In this scenario the best approach is to make a self-deprecating joke about the whole ordeal and then help clean the mess up. The worst thing you could do here is just sit there while a waiter, the host or your fellow companions all scurry around to mop up your accident. Just sitting there is one of the quickest ways we can think of to be labeled an ass. Don’t do it. After everything gets cleaned up, grab another glass, and just be a bit more careful next time.
However, what if that wine you spilled on the inconsequential locale wasn’t inside your glass, but instead was housed inside the glass of someone else? If you’re out, the first thing to do after helping to cleanup the spilled glass of wine is to offer to buy the person a new one. We realize glasses of wine can often be expensive, but it’s the polite thing to do if the wine they were drinking is indeed available by the glass.
If instead the wine in the other person’s glass was from a bottle that was purchased for the table, apologize for your clumsiness and then you should both move on. We understand that it can be frustrating for the person whose glass was spilled to miss out on some of the wine from the bottle, but for a klutzy mistake one shouldn’t be expected to order a brand new bottle, that’s simply unrealistic. A nice gesture, however, would be for the person doing the spilling to order the injured party a glass of Champagne. Because Champagne cures everything.
Spilling the glass of wine on someone or something is another story. It is this occurrence that is most often the cause of a simple accident becoming tense and uncomfortable. In this particular situation it is worth remembering, for both the person who has been spilled on and the person who has done the spilling, that cool heads always prevail. It should also go without saying that our advice above about helping to clean up and offering to replace the spilled glass is just as essential here, but in this scenario you also have a stain and potentially a wet companion with whom to deal.
The first thing to do in order to diffuse the situation is to apologize and immediately offer to pay for the cleaning of either your companion’s garment, their rug, their sofa or whatever other stainable accessory you managed to spill wine all over, including perhaps their very white dog. This offer, while it may seem simple enough, can go a long way in causing the other person to feel less upset and angry about now being covered in wine. When on occasion we’ve been the ones to do the spilling, we’ve also gifted the person whom we spilled on a nice bottle of wine a few days later as an additional apology. It’s an extra step that just shows we recognize that they had to spend the rest of the night in wine-soaked clothes and that we are sorry for our klutziness.
Alternatively, if you are the person on whom the wine was spilled, it’s important that your remember to keep your cool too. Also, rid yourself of any expectation that the person who spilled on you should actually replace your garment or other accessory. An expectation of the person paying for the cleaning is legitimate, but an expectation of a replacement is pretty ridiculous. Shit happens in life. Is it really worth ruining a friendship or creating a scene because someone spilled on you or your precious stuff? If you’re so concerned about spilled wine on yourself or your things, then don’t wear nice clothes out or have people over to drink red wine.
At some point or another we will all find ourselves both as the person who spilled the wine and as the person who was spilled upon. Just remember in either situation to be polite, and that a glass of Champagne solves most problems.