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Wine Share

February 13, 2011

I sincerely hope you have not been celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Which means I should really be writing about pink Champagne today. Pink Champagne is one of those great things that has gotten a bum rap.

The only problem is that I’m really not much of an expert on this tinted variation of sparkling wine. And even if I did a little bit of research for you on some of the better and more widely available bottlings of the stuff, if you live outside of a major metropolitan area it would still be unlikely that you would be able to buy some in time for the holiday.

Perhaps you could find this, but it’s a pretty penny.

Instead, I’m actually going to ask you a wine question. Now don’t panic, because ultimately it’s not a question about wine, but rather one about etiquette. Let’s just say Mrs. Fussy and I aren’t quite on the same page, and I’m looking for a ruling. I will try to be as impartial in asking the question as possible.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

We like to drink wine when we eat. Wine is a natural match for food, which is one reason why I think it’s ridiculous that it is against the law for grocery stores to sell wine in New York State. One should be able to buy one’s wine where one buys one’s food. Could you imagine how backwards it would feel if you had to go to separate stores for milk and for cereal?

Anyhow, we were going to a fairly large potluck dinner—I’m planning to tell you a bit about what I made, but that will be later this week—and I thought it would be nice to have wine.  We had been to this semi-public gathering in the past and there were about 30 people, which included plenty of small children. This time it was significantly larger, with perhaps fifty or more people in attendance.  

At the dinner, there was the main table where all the food sat. Then there was the drink table that had the bottles of soda, juice and water. People ate their meals at one of a number of other dining tables around the room.

So we had two different ideas about what would be most proper.

1)    Place the bottle of wine on the beverage table, help ourselves to a few ounces apiece and leave the remainder for whomever wanted to enjoy it.

2)    Open the bottle at our table, offer a glass to those who serendipitously happened to be sitting with us, pour a few ounces for ourselves, and bring the remainder to the beverage table.  

Possibly the problem was brining one bottle of wine to a large potluck in the first place. There are only about five full-sized glasses of wine in any standard bottle. That’s a significantly fewer servings than the food that I brought had. And it has not been part of the culture at this dinner for people to bring wine.

My thought is that perhaps this will change.

Sometimes cultural shifts have to do with people seeing how nice things can be when they are done differently. Although that may not have happened in this instance. Despite being open to all, there was still a good bit of wine left in the bottle at the end of the meal.

I’m assuming that it’s just because these weren’t wine drinkers, and not that anyone had a problem with a screw-top closure tempranillo. But if you are bringing wine to a picnic or a potluck, screw-top bottles are really the best. And a wine like tempranillo that is versatile and food friendly is generally a good bet.

So what would you have done?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    February 13, 2011 1:08 pm

    A few weeks ago I shared an over-$300 bottle of French pink champagne (no, I don’t have that kind of money); it was the most wonderful wine I’ve ever tasted, and I’m 65!

  2. February 13, 2011 1:51 pm

    i can’t wrap my head around a potluck that doesn’t involve copious amounts of vino.

  3. February 13, 2011 2:02 pm

    While I don’t think either idea is wrong (does pot luck etiquette exist-there’s a good one for Miss Manners), I probably would have gone with #1.

  4. February 13, 2011 2:09 pm

    I would say that the wine should play by the same rules as the other food. Open the bottle on the beverage table and serve yourself from that spot. But perhaps remark to your tablemates that you brought a delightful beverage and that you would be happy to get them a glass while it was still available.

    ( Full disclosure: we attended the potluck with the FussyFamily.)

  5. February 13, 2011 3:16 pm

    That’s a really tough question, and I suspect that any recommended solution will be offensive to some. The general rule re: “bringing wine to a party” in the Rambler house is that I am not allowed out the door unless I have enough wine for everyone who will be at dinner. Of course sometimes it never gets opened because the hosts had planned their own wine selections. In your predicament I might have left it at the community table, or given it to the host / hostess and let them decide what to do with it. I most definitely would not have put it at my personal table and drank it. That’s tacky. (I would have left it in the car and drank it out in the driveway.)

  6. February 13, 2011 4:23 pm

    I would probably say option 1, however I see nothing wrong with option 2.

  7. February 14, 2011 12:37 am

    Honor your host with your alcohol offering, let him do with it what he will. If there is no identifiable host, offer to all in your immediate presence and pour for them. Serve yourself last and make a worthy toast. So satisfied are the manner gods.

  8. KB @ Home-Baked Happiness permalink
    February 14, 2011 2:16 am

    I think that if I was going to an event where nobody else brings/drinks wine, and there are children running about who could potentially get into it, I wouldn’t bring any.

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