Not About Food


I'd prefer to choose how much wine I drink at dinner, but how to say so?


Not About Food Dinner

I'd prefer to choose how much wine I drink at dinner, but how to say so?

Marsha | | Apr 12, 2010 09:47 AM

Had an unexpected problem at dinner last night. We ordered a carafe of wine (which was advertised as being only a glass and a half, which the server reminded us) for the two of us - we didn't want much, and we figured we could always order another. The server brought it, poured a third in each glass, and went on her way. My husband drank some of his with his first course, but I didn't because it matched my main course better. On her way past, the server quick as a flash picked up the carafe and emptied it into my husband's glass, then whisked it away. I blinked; he growled, and when she returned he asked her how she knew that we wanted to give him all the rest of the wine. She countered that some people like that kind of service/attention. He told her that we would prefer to be the ones to decide who gets the most. She was apologetic and brought us another glass without charge, but I don't think she ever got the point.

In case I haven't made it clear: We had intended to split the wine, and when she originally served us both I assumed she understood that. But it brings up the larger question of how to pace oneself when the server feels a need to top us one's glass. Now that we are so attuned to the perils of driving under the influence, this seems to be increasingly important. Yet "good service" has traditionally included discreetly dispensing the wine as each patron's glass empties, paying attention to how much each has already had (which unfortunately was not the case here - the just dumped the wine into the emptier glass).

My questions: Would it be wise to reposition the carafe/bottle in future so that servers won't keep filling our glasses without asking? Would it be better to mention that we'll take it from there after the first glasses are poured? I don't want to offend the server who is a polished professional (I know several) and can be trusted both to be nonintrusive and to make eye contact before refilling a glass. But I don't want a reprise of last night's issue, and I have no way of knowing if the server has this sensitivity. Your suggestions for ways to politely head off this problem would be welcome

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