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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I had a glass of Rioja in a good restaurant and got a big mouthful of sediment. When I showed the waiter he said that it was common in Rioja and didn't really apologize. He asked me what I would want and I said I would prefer not to pay for the wine. It was taken off the bill. What is the correct way to handle this situation?

—Suan, Canada

Dear Suan,

It sounds like you handled the situation well. It’s unfortunate when a conflict or disagreement comes up at restaurant, but as I’ve said before, I find that restaurant management can be receptive if you’re very clear about your expectations. If you’re not going to drink a glass of wine, or if there was something wrong with it, getting it taken off the bill is a perfectly reasonable request.

Of course, if things had been different, you could ask for a replacement glass. But given the way the server didn’t apologize and suggested it was to be expected, that might not have gone well. And for the record, you should not expect a mouthful of sediment with a glass of Rioja.

—Dr. Vinny

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