[WSJ] When Your Dinner Guest Orders a $700 Bottle of Wine: An Etiquette Guide

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Wow. The comments section… Apparently there are people that bring wine to a party for themselves, not to share. How do you even do that? Stash it somewhere and sneak refills? Make a general announcement that this is your wine and no else can pour from it? Boggles the mind.

Depends on the total circumstances, but I think that can be polite when the host is in on it.

Usually when I’ve done that, the bottle is some wine-geek treat that the friends we’re hiding it from wouldn’t like any more than the other wines anyway, or might not like at all.

Make sure you serve them the bad cut of steak also. I’m sorry but that just seems tacky. If it’s not “good enough” for everyone then tell the host to put it away for y’all to share at a later time.

Oops, I mistyped. If it’s “too good.”

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It’s not that the wine is too good, it’s just a waste to pour it for people who wouldn’t like it any better than whatever supermarket stuff is on the buffet.

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Same thing, Robert. IMO of course. We have a friend who’s really into CA wines and when they come for dinner I cook and he brings very good wine. I promise you, while I know zip about wine although I drink it just about every day, I LOVE the wine he brings. But hopefully he wouldn’t bring something wildly expensive. Again, based on how I was raised (I’m Southern so we get carried away about etiquette sometime) it’s tacky.

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So would you also hide the truffles if a particular guest wouldn’t know the difference between truffle shavings and wood ears?

At a dinner party I put all the wine on the table and warn people who might not like some wine-geek juice to have a taste before pouring themselves a glass. And if they do pour it and I see they don’t like it, I’ll give them a new glass of something else and pass the esoteric stuff around to the geeks.

We often have some pretty divisive bottles on my table. “Yikes, that’s sour! How can you drink it?” What, this 2006 Domaine de Montbourgeau Vin Jaune? Here, give me that glass and I’ll pour you some Rombauer Chard.

That’s very different that what you said earlier – i.e., stash it and sneak refills.

There I’m talking about a big casual party where lots of people bring wine, not a dinner party where everyone’s at the same table.

And that’s what I was talking about.

So not really at a dinner party?

To me, the etiquette where everyone is at the same table and can talk with each other is completely different than the etiquette for a casual potluck with a lot of people wandering around the house and yard. In the latter case, the wine geeks sharing an esoteric bottle or two is probably just one of several semi-private sub-events going on.

If I’m with friends and we’re splitting the check, if I decide to order a fancy bottle I tell the server to bring me a separate check. Ordering a bottle of wine in a restaurant and not offering to share it with the table would be shocking. I couldn’t keep a job that required putting up with such rudeness.

Okay, I suppose at a potluck you can stash the good stuff. I like wine and I do cringe when I see someone chugging down a glass of nice wine just to catch a buzz.

Then again, I wouldn’t bring good wine to a potluck, I’d bring tequila. Anyone can appreciate the difference between good and bad tequila.

Do you also bring something for the less palate-gifted?

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I often bring a bag full of decent to very good wines that have accumulated in my cellar because they’re not to my taste.

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I was revving up to criticize you and then…

Oh. My house is glassier than I thought, so I’ll just put the stones away.

Okay, you can come to my next pool party.

I understood what Robert meant. I’ve been tempted and maybe have done it once. But the thing is, it doesn’t go unnoticed and it makes people feel left out and makes you look cliquish. Best to leave the good stuff for an intimate gathering.


…With that said, this quote in the article caught my attention. - “That’s probably because those who are truly savvy know great wines that are not necessarily of the trophy kind.”

You guys seem pretty wine savvy. What wines & sparkling wines under $100. would you say are solid and respectable choices?

I confess . I did hide a nice bottle for the host and me to share . She cuffed all the cash to put on this party with a whole 125# spit roasted pig . By the way the food was awesome . Plenty of booze and wine for everyone else . I felt like I was in high school sneaking the wine .:smirk:

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