Mr Grumpy: ignorant wine waiters

Leading a wine tour in Italy, it was my job to select wines for the group while dining at mostly very good restaurants. The size of our party meant that we needed two bottles of each wine. The wine waiter at every restaurant we visited would unfailingly invite me to taste and approve the first bottle before pouring both. They seemed startled when I asked to taste the second bottle.

The ceremony of opening a bottle of wine and inviting a customer to taste it has become just that, a ceremony with no practical purpose, at least in the minds of Italian wine waiters.

I’ve experienced the same “open one, pour two” ritual in this country, although it is less common here.

On a slightly different note, I always accept the waiter’s invitation to taste the wine even if the bottle is sealed with a screwcap and unlikely to suffer from cork taint. I like to check the temperature of the wine in case I need to request a bucket of ice or warm water.

One thought on “Mr Grumpy: ignorant wine waiters”

  1. Mahmoud Ali says:

    The “practical purpose” of tasting a wine in a restaurant has been, as far as I know, to ensure the wine was in good condition and not corked. So I am very surprised indeed that the waiters were surprised to have you ask to taste all the bottles. Had the wines been young and screw-caped wines I might have understood the waiters’ surprise.

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