ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why is there no standardization for restaurants to be required to bring the wine bottle to the table to pour wines by the glass and to also require that they only keep opened bottles for a set period of time (e.g., 1 day for reds and 1 day for whites)? Too many people are getting ripped off paying high prices for wines by the glass and not assured what they are actually drinking and how long the bottle has been opened.

—Doreen, Tampa, Fla.

Dear Doreen,

While a mythical “Wine Police” going around enforcing good wine-serving policies sounds like fun—and I’d volunteer to be the commissioner—it’s unrealistic. Each restaurant sets its own policies and serving sizes and standards for everything they serve.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to speak up. I’ve asked to see the bottle of a wine being poured by the glass, and if I feel that I’ve been served a wine that’s no longer fresh, I would absolutely ask for another glass. I think you need to read each situation individually—my expectations at an airport bar are certainly different than when I’m sitting down to a white-tablecloth, four-star dining experience. I find that when you’re polite and clear about your expectations about getting what you pay for, restaurant management can be very receptive.

—Dr. Vinny


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