Continued from page 1
It is increasingly customary in many parts of country for restaurants to extend corkage policies for patrons whom wish to bring their own wine. However, this is not case everywhere, (especially on East Coast), and proper wine etiquette dictates that several things be kept in mind.
Always call restaurant in advance to verify that corkage is allowed. Ask what fee is to avoid any surprises. In my experience, very few restaurants charge over $20 as a corkage fee. Some restaurants will waive this fee if an additional bottle is purchased from wine list, but do not assume that this is case.
Wine brought to a restaurant should be relatively unique or rare, and definitely should not appear on restaurant's wine list. After waiter/sommelier opens and pours contents, proper wine etiquette requires that you offer them a taste. Following these guidelines will ensure an enjoyable corkage experience.
The Duty of Host at Dinner Parties
The duty of host toward his/her guests is one of most ancient and enduring forms of etiquette in human civilization. When serving wine, making sure that your guests are comfortable with process is your paramount concern.
Before serving, always allow wine time to breathe at room temperature. Never pour wine for guests immediately after opening. It is host's responsibility to discreetly ensure that wine is sound and unspoiled. This should be done away from company, and a small amount should be sampled.
Always serve wine to your guests in clean, spotless glasses. This may seem obvious, but it is a very common mistake. Additionally, if more than one wine is served, make sure that they are poured in a logical progression.
Especially with older wines, be aware that there may be a significant amount of sediment at bottom of bottle. Keep this in mind when deciding portion given to each guest. Avoid embarrassing situation of last person receiving an unacceptable amount of solids in their glass. If this is a concern with a particular bottle, refrain from pouring last half glass.
It may be necessary to decant a wine to either remove sediment or to expose it to oxygen. Be cautious with this practice, as older wines may quickly fade if left in a decanter for too long.
Wine enjoyment should be an enjoyable and unintimidating process. With these tips in mind, you are prepared for majority of social situations that involve wine.
Ben Bicais lives in the Napa Valley and is the webmaster of http://www.california-wine-tours-and-accessories.com