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Dinner Party Wine Etiquette

Perhaps some people here can give me guidance on an issue that has become a bit of a pet peeve.

Scenario: I get invited to dinner at the home of friends. It is usually as part of a holiday, birthday event, etc., so it is a "special" dinner.

I like nice wine. My friends do too, but are less picky. Typically I find they serve stuff like Lindeman's Cawarra or Yellow Tail at dinner. Invariably, therefore, I will bring a bottle of something better, a nice Bordeaux or something a bit unique at a higher price point than what you'd find in their house.

The problem: sometimes the wine I bring doesn't get opened, but just ends up in their wine rack. Presumably they drink it themselves at a later time.

I get irritated with this. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do. It seems to me that if I bring wine to dinner, it's intended to be opened. Am I missing something? Or is there a way to say, without offending them, that I bring the wine because I want to drink it with them at dinner, and not donate it to their collection?

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. When I bring wine to a party or dinner, I intend it to be a gift for the host/ess to enjoy at a later date, and I usually say something to that effect. I suppose if I wanted it to be served that evening, I might try a comment in the other direction, such as "I thought this would go well with what you're serving tonight", or "I've heard great things about this wine and thought you'd like to try it with me". How would something more direct, like heading into the kitchen, opening the wine, and pouring a glass for yourself go over? I might find this pushy, but not too offensive...

    1. actually, proper etiquette is to not expect to drink your bottle with dinner. it's more like a hostess gift.

      depending on how close you are to these people, perhaps call beforehand and say "i'd like to bring a bottle to share over dinner." that way, you set up the parameters.

      my heart bleeds that you have to drink yellowtail. oh, well, drink up and be polite, be happy they like you enough to invite you to share dinner. you could always have them over to your house, ya know...

      1. A gift is a gift. You can't demand how it is used. Once that wine leaves your hands, it is up to your hosts to do with what they will.

        1. OK, this is making me LOL. I suggest insisting on contributing to the dinner by "bringing the wine", ask what they will be serving and choose based on this. also, I normally do what spyturtle suggests and walk straight to the kitchen and open the wine myself!
          Only in uptight circumstances (where we clearly don't know the people yet and they seem like they might be offended) would I hesitate...and drink the yellowtail...but at least yellowtail is considered a drinkable cheap wine..better than charles shaw. just the sight of the shaw makes me feel ill.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Amanda Enclade

            technically, your hosts are being polite by putting your wine away and drinking what they've ahem *selected* for the meal. I like hot's suggestion- say you brought it to go with the meal. Otherwise, drink the swill and stock up on Advil. ;)

            1. re: Amanda Enclade

              I really hope you're joking about walking into someone's kitchen and opening a bottle of wine you've given them!

              .... just the thought of it makes me feel ill.

              1. re: Amanda Enclade

                this is so rude. hoe dare you treat your host with such lack of respect. you should be ashamed of your ill manners

                1. re: Amanda Enclade

                  Wow. I can't agree with your decision just walk into the kitchen and open the wine yourself. This isn't your kitchen and even if it is Yellowtail, decline any wine if you don't like it or enjoy it for what it is.

                  But to barge into the kitchen and more or less demand a particular wine be served is just rude.

                2. I agree, it's an annoying situation. When I have people over, I try to open the wine that they bring when appropriate (sometimes it's yellowtail - regift!). When I bring wine to a party, I don't expect it to be opened - but if I'm comfortable with the hosts (which is usually the case) and I've selected something interesting, then I'll make sure it gets opened through the course of the evening. It's easy to notice that the bottle is almost empty and offer to open yours next...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: tochipotle

                    "It's easy to notice that the bottle is almost empty and offer to open yours next..." - not to be pedantic, but at that point, isn't the bottle "theirs" - to open or not as they choose? Trust me, I understand the OP's suffering, but a gift is a gift. Fortunately, it's mostly my family members who drink cheap wine, and we're always more than welcome to bring ours and they are happy to serve it. Also though, I'm sure there are circumstances with friends where it is perfectly comfortable to open the bottle one brought, and others where it is not.

                    Also, for me, if someone has brought something interesting - I'd rather wait and serve it with food that I've chosen specifically for the wine - and try to invite the person who gave it to me to that dinner. And - if I'm invited somewhere where they invariably serve cheap wine - I might just not bring wine but another gift that they might appreciate more.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      True - it is their bottle, my mistake. I guess I'm just looking at this question far more casually than others. Maybe it's a generational thing? I haven't been to a lot of very formal dinner parties. For me a dinner party usually includes very close friends - I'm usually hosting, and I'm pretty easy going. Also, our wine and food pairing experience is still rather on the naive side...so trying different wines helps with our wine education. If one of us does happen to splurge and bring something interesting, then we're all excited to try it.

                      1. re: tochipotle

                        I understand what you mean ... I'm (almost) 40, and when I have people over, I've usually planned things very carefully etc. - it's not that I wouldn't open the wine if say I ran out (v. unlikely as I always buy too much) or if I think the wine brought would be better with what I'm serving than the wine I'd bought - in which case I'd say "Wow - I think this would be wonderful with the xyz dish - do you mind if I serve it this evening?'. I think generally the issue here boils down to "expecting" the wine gift to be served, and as the OP seemed to indicate, bringing a "good" bottle b/c the hosts serve something akin to swill and expecting it to be served. Beyond that there is a huge array of possibilities, but it's the host's choice. Now, the opposite issue would be if someone volunteered to bring the wine to serve with dinner, the host accepted, the guest brought swill - then I think you'd be stuck serving it!

                  2. Sometimes I am invited to dinner and I know I won't really like the vegetable they will be serving, like carrots, so I bring something different, maybe green beans.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: Chris Rising

                        maybe you an amanda above can get together and write the ten most obnoxious things to do when invited to dinner.

                        you guys have lowered the bar clear into the sewer.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I really, really hope I'm right about this. I assumed Chris was being sarcastic and would NOT bring a substitute side dish. Drawing a parallel to show how rude it might be to insist that your wine be opened because it's better than the wine the hosts selected.

                          1. re: debbiel

                            I got the joke also. Nice one Chris.

                      2. Sorry guy - the wine you bring is for your hosts to enjoy. If by fluke they open it while you are there then great. Maybe you can drink a bunch of the bad stuff (drop it in the toilet) so they have to open your bottle. I think Miss Manners had a whole series on this - the wine your bring you might as well just forget.

                        1. I'm sorry but your expectation in this instance is quite unreasonable.

                          When you are invited to someone's home and bring wine, that is a gift for the host. There's really no socially acceptable way to suggest that they pour the wine you've given them, particularly when your intention is to replace the wine they've served because you consider it substandard. In fact, it is really not proper for the host to open your gift of wine during the event. The correct thing is that they graciously accept your gift, set it aside and continue entertaining.

                          Please do remember that your hosts have planned this dinner and selected the wines. Would you show up with a jar of salad dressing and expect them to replace theirs with yours because really yours is just so much better???????

                          If you find that this continues to stick in your craw, you'll need to bring another sort of hostess gift (not something to be consumed during the event, a little something for the host) and psyche yourself up to endure your friends' bad taste in wine. When you're the host you can serve your guests whatever you like!

                          1. The only way I see around this is to set up ahead of time with you host that you would like to furnish the wines for the entire party (assuming 2-3 bottle limit). This would have to be worked out when the invitation first comes up and followed up with a discussion with the host about the menu. I know folks who do this where the host cooks the meal and a guest (who is is more wine knowledgeable) then is responsible for the wine for their 4some.
                            Another scenario is when splitting up dinner responsibilities--one brings the dessert and another the dessert wine. Again, the rules get set up ahead of time that what folks are bringing will be served. But if the host(ess) is furnishing the entire meal, anything you bring is a gift.
                            Otherwise, I agree with the others--any wine brought unsolicited (even if it is a gift) should be expected not to be served. It's totally up to the host to decide to open it that occasion.

                            1. The only time i can see this as an acceptable situation is if you pre-arrange with the host. If you just assume that you can bring your own wine and the pop it open to drink you are being EXTREMELY rude. I can not think when it is polite to BYOB to a gracious invitation to dinner. Would you bring your own meat to cook. You really like polenta with lamb shanks and show up with the sides. The cheese they are using for the onion soup is not up to your standards.

                              There are lots of suggestions here that work and I would add one more. Since you are the "wine expert" why not call and offer to bring two bottles, one for the host/hostess as a thank you/hostess gift and then say that everyone can experiment with a second bottle.

                              Unless the host(ess) agree, leave bottle number 2 at home.

                              1. I think it also might depend on what the nature of the social relationship is. Is this a "social" dinner- then the wine is a gift for some other time, or is everyone a bunch of foodie/Chowhounders who might get together often for a real sharing food experience-whereby the parties may consult ahead of time as to what is being served, mutually consult on the wines with the idea that what you bring will be served and what will pair nicely- etc. I've been in both situations and try to bring the wines accordingly.

                                1. When you are invited to someone's home for dinner, I think it is extremely rude to bring your own food or wine. If you know your host is a wine lover, a bottle of winer is a nice, thoughtful gift.

                                  At dinner, I never serve the wine that someone brings. I have planned out my menu and wines to accompany the menu.

                                  If people are gracious enough to invite you to dine in their home, please don't forget that it is dining together that is important. You can always go out to dinner, or make your own dinner another time, using your favorite ingredients and drinking your own wine.

                                  There is something very narcissistic and self involved to expect that everything revolves around you all the time. One cannot control everything in life.

                                  1. Another possibility is to bring 2 bottles of wine and let the host know that one is for trying that evening if s/he pleases and the other is a gift for the host to drink later. In the end, whether your wine is served is up to the host.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: syoung

                                      syoung, that is my thought too, as long as it is worded correctly. It may or not be opened, but at least you didn't force it to be.

                                    2. I think this question also depends on how formal the dinner party is. If it's a regular bunch of good friends, then I think things are a bit more relaxed and you can all experiment together with some treat bottles found at the liquor store. Certainly in my experience, things are casual - good quality food, with good friends who can say - hey we brought this bottle of wine we'd all like to try, why don't we open it? As long as they're not trying to offer ice wine with the soup opener, then I'm fine with it. That said, if it's a formal party, then I would never imagine somebody would open the bottle of wine I brought as a gift. (and I would probably have a lot less fun...)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: tochipotle

                                        I really don't think it matters whether the party is formal or not. I gift is a gift is a gift. Your host can serve it or bathe in it.

                                        Now, if it were my very best friend, I might be willing to call up and say "do you care if I bring some wine for tonight, I bought this bottle of "x" and I'm dying to try it" But then again, my very best friend knows how I am, and would be more likely to call me and say "why don't you come an hour early and we'll open that bottle you gave me at the last party and drink it before the rest of the crowd comes and we open the swill"

                                      2. This is an interesting topic, I always ask my friends to bring the wine for dinner (with guidelines of what I'm serving). Granted my dinner parties are on the casual side, but I see no problem with asking my friends to bring the wine to be shared at dinner.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: JoLi

                                          The critical difference is that you, the host, have decided to serve their wines. While it is more correct to graciously accept and set aside wine that guests give you as the host, it is certainly OK (particularly at casual gatherings) to go ahead and open it if you like. However it is not OK for the guests to expect that wine she brings will be served that evening.

                                          1. re: Kater

                                            I agree with you that I have relayed to my friends that the wine they bring will be opened prior to dinner.

                                            However, even if I hadn't said anything previously, I disagree that it's more gracious to accept and set aside. I don't think it's rude to open the wine that was offered to the host and sharing it with the guests, in fact, quite the opposite, I think it's very nice to share it with the group.

                                            1. re: JoLi

                                              Actually, you've changed my mind on this point. I was taught to set wine aside but now that I think about it there's no practical reason not to serve a guest's wine so I guess it's equally correct for the host to chose to open the bottle. I'm not sure where the idea of setting wine aside comes from. I think the root of it as it was conveyed to me is that the guests has brought a gift and diving right into it would be somehow unrestrained or might indicate that you were holding back your own wine. I'm not even sure - which seems a particularly good reason to set the convention aside.

                                              That said I probably won't be opening guests' wine at a party because I've always got that worked out in advance and don't like to change on the fly - but at least I'll feel free to do so if I were so inclined! : )

                                                1. re: Kater

                                                  By the time guests arrive, we have already decided on which wines to serve, and they are either already opened and breathing, or being chilled.

                                                  I do entertain more formally. I plan a Menu, wine pairings, and table setting. I put a great deal of thought and effort into it.

                                                  1. re: Fleur

                                                    Might you share some of your favorite menus? I like to entertain the way you describe and am always looking for new ideas. Maybe on the Home Cooking board?
                                                    Thanks if you do!

                                                2. re: JoLi

                                                  The critical element to the the two is that the host(ess) decides.

                                                  - If the host(ess) asks someone to bring wine, salad, dessert, etc. for the meal then I would expect that all of those items would be included in the meal;
                                                  - If a guest shows up with a bottle and tells me that it's great and ASKS if would I mind opening it I probably will, and in fact I have never turned down this request.
                                                  - If a guest assumes that (s)he can walk into my kitchen and grab the corkscrew and decide to just serve their wine, that is wrong and rude.

                                                  I might serve both the guest's and the one I set aside in number 2 above, so people can see the difference in the two and how each paired with the meal. I rarely turn down an educating moment.

                                            2. I agree with Fleur's post. In my opinion, it is up to the host what wines to serve. They are responsible for planning wines to go with the meal. I often bring wine and have friends of varying wine tastes, like you do. People bring wine when I have a dinner party and sometimes I open it and sometimes I don't. It depends on what I'm serving, the quality of the wine, the wine I have already selected, etc. For me the dinner is all about enjoying the people (even though sometimes the food and wine are not what you might serve yourself). I once went to a dinner party and the host was a horrible cook. They served vodka and that was how I got through my dinner . . . the company was still great.

                                              1. I'm surprised no one suggested bringing a "Marble Rye", instead.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: CocoDan

                                                  Well, you know, that's why I'm confused! Not so much about the marble rye but the other episode with the chocolate-cum-cinnamon babka. Growing up, when I went with my folks to places that we were invited to for dinner, they always brought something and it was always served. Maybe I'm a victim of bad generational training!

                                                  I'm glad to see this is generating some discussion. The concensus so far seems to be that I'm a doofus for expecting to be able to taste the wine I bring. Maybe I'll start bringing poorer quality wine from now on and save my good stuff for myself... :)

                                                  1. re: Greg B

                                                    I think there are probably regional trends as well as possible class issues at work on this one, but from an ettiquette standpoint your wine is a gift. Choose one that you would be proud to give to the host.

                                                    OTOH I learned years ago (in part from sites like this) that there are people who think that if they bring something to a party it should be consumed. I try to be on the look out for this and will even try to put the item out if it doesn't completely clash with my plans or embarrass me in front of my other guests. Usually there's not time, but I make a special point to call and thank the person for their wine/baked goods/marshmallow peeps and gush about how much we enjoyed it. I hope that makes the experience a bit more comfortable for them and they can learn the pattern at my home.

                                                    1. re: Greg B

                                                      I think a great deal of this is cultural. What is the usual and accepted approach to gift gift giving within your family and group of friends .

                                                      I'll never forget Woody Allen going to dinner at the Dictator's Palace, and bring along a box of cookies.

                                                  2. I think it all comes down to how well you know the people. I almost always bring a bottle of wine, as do most of my friends. The host/friend usually asks me if I want it opened, even though they have wine decanting. I don't think in this day and age that bringing a bottle of wine is necessarily a "gift" for the host. And I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with suggesting you brought it to be shared with them your friends. You want a hostess gift, bring some flowers.

                                                    1. -----

                                                      I think there is a huge difference between a bottle of wine as a gift, than a bring your own wine party. Perhaps that needs some clarification???

                                                      I live in an area that several of my friends that makes home made wines, so the party may end up with a few commode huggers. Hic-hic- ;-)


                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: RShea78

                                                        I agree that clarification is needed but I expect that there will continue to be guests who are missing it!

                                                        If the hosts contacts you and asks you to bring wine to the dinner then you have brought in a context where it will be served. If you choose to bring wine and in your mind you expect that host to make it part of the meal, you are simply wrong. You would not just show up with green beans (per our friend Chris) though at least with green beans your ill mannered intention would at least be clear. The guest's intention is simply not part of this equation.

                                                        Further, if you ask the host what you can bring and he replies: 'Oh you can just bring a bottle of wine' do NOT expect that it will be served. Sadly, there are guests who will harrangue a host endlessly about bringing something to a gathering. Many will not stop and might just show up with the green beans if you're not careful. So 'just bring wine' has become shorthand for "I'm inviting you and you do not need to contribute to the evening's refreshments. Since you dont' want to come empty-handed and were apparently never taught about hostess gifts why not just bring wine." In these cases the guest should not expect that the wine will necessarily be served. You are bringing it as a courtesy, you were not specifically or proactively asked. If you feel that you brought better wine than the host served and that matters to you, it may be time to re-evaluate the friendship.

                                                        So yes, it definitely makes a difference if you are actually assigned to provide the wine for the function. But outside of that very specific circumstance you're giving a hostess gift.

                                                      2. WOW, I am definately in the camp of "It is entirely up to the host whether to serve a wine brought as a hostess gift".

                                                        All of the following are rude:
                                                        - as a guest, to bring wine then suggest it be opened (unless prearranged with the host)
                                                        - to expect the wine one has brought to be opened
                                                        - to bring a notably higher quality of wine as a gift than is traditionally served at the host's home without some sort of an special explanation (hey, I brought this back from Paris for you)
                                                        - to disparage the choice of wine the host makes

                                                        1. A guest cannot bring anything to another host's event with the expectation that it will be served at that event without prior agreement with the host (which may be inferred from the habits of a social or family circle, but one should be careful about that if uncertain at all). It is rude of a guest to expect otherwise. A basic rule of etiquette in our culture, though other cultures different.

                                                          Why is considered rude? Because it implies (in our culture, at least) that the host is incapable of providing complete hospitality (that is, in our culture, a host is assumed to be given the place to do so). Something a guest should never imply.

                                                          The OP proves the wisdom of this, because he is impliedly impugning the graciousness of the hosts. Good guests learn not to do that.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                            Agreed. I understand that in France it is actually rude to bring wine to a dinner because to do so is in fact an insult - suggesting that the host does not know how to choose the appropriate wines to serve with the meal. Just as, in some cultures, it is rude to bring or send flowers arranged in a vase, because it implies that the recipient is unable to arrange his own flowers.

                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              How very true. Wine is never appropraite as a house gift when invited to a French home. However, if one is American and brings a bottle of Bourbon, it is greatly appreciated.

                                                              The "no flowers" rule is a little different. It is customary in France to send flowers to the hostess early in the day before the dinner, or the day after. The thinking is she will be too busy to interrupt preparations, to have to find a vase, arrange the flowers .It would be a rude intrusion.

                                                          2. Wine brought to a house is a gift to the host who may choose to open it or not. The guest happily drinks the wine provided whether it meets there standards or not. A sophisticated host will serve wine that compliments the meal.

                                                            The best you can do is call ahead, ask for the menu, and tell them you picked the wine to match this meal. Sometimes it works... Anything else is rude and pushy.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: JudiAU

                                                              I think calling ahead and asking what is being served is rude and pushy. I've never heard of such a thing -- sounds like you're scoping it out to make sure you still want to attend. There are books on the subject of etiquette that cover matters such as these extensively. Buy a tried-and-true (Miss Manners or Emily Post) or check it out of the library.

                                                            2. If you brought a bottle to my house, I would not open it unless we had prearranged that first. and then I would expect you to bring all the wine for the main course.

                                                              Of course, I don't serve Yellowtail to anyone, nor would I drink it.... Life's way too short to drink such awful wine.

                                                              1. If your guests were serving burgers, would you show up with filet mignon and insist they cook that instead? Your responsibility as a guest is to politely try everything offered to you that you are not allergic to/religiously forbidden to consume. The rules for food apply to wine as well.

                                                                Obviously you don't approve of your friends' taste in wine. If it's because they can't afford nicer wine, then to insist they drink yours would be an insult to their ability to provide for you as hosts. If they simply don't know/care as much about wine as you, there's a very simple, gracious solution: Invite them to your home, cook them dinner and serve them wonderful, well-paired wines. When they love what they're drinking, teach them about the wine and where to find it (gently, without being patronizing).

                                                                If they don't notice/care about the wine, suck it up and love them for the other qualities that make them your friends.

                                                                Unless you are a lifelong friend or family member, under no circumstances are you allowed near the corkscrew, or even the refrigerator, in my home. If you are in those two categories, the "help yourself" mantra always applies, but then again you are close enough to me that you can just say, "Man, why do you buy that crap wine? Try this instead!"

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Covert Ops

                                                                  As a side note I'll never buy the "can't afford" argument as there are tons of wines in the sub $10 price point where the wines are killer- if you're serving yellowjunk you can clearly afford many of the less expensive dolcettos and whatnot.

                                                                2. it is a gift. And not just the wine either. Don't complain. There is a joke about me and my expensive cakes and pies. When I go somewhere I bring a really fantastic desert. It is never served and now it is a tradition.

                                                                  1. Being Paddy Eurotrash, I never bring wine to a dinner. I think it's rude. Admittedly, Brits do it all the time, but they always bring the worst plonk imaginable, on the assumption that hosts will immediately add it to the stash. There is never any expectation that the wine will actually be opened.

                                                                    I once brought a bottle of 'stage' Moet to a dinner. This is champagne supplied to films as product placement. They usually use ginger ale, because it looks much like the real thing. The host was very snooty about his wine, but immediately opened the champagne. To his credit, he got the joke ( unlike some of the posters, above).

                                                                    I always bring flowers. It's a reward to the hostess for all the work that she has done. If the guy has done all the work, I bring flowers anyway, so the hostess doesn't feel unappreciated.

                                                                    - Sean

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Sean Dell

                                                                      As a hostess - much as I love flowers, when a guest - or particularly several guests - brings me flowers to a dinner party, it really is inconvenient - and I don't mean that to sound ungrateful or churlish, but in my case, the tiny kitchen counters are full of plates of hors d'oeuvres and parts of the meal, my vases are up on a very high shelf, so I have to get out the ladder, climb up, get the vases, fill them w/ water, trim the flowers etc., while I have other guests arriving whom I am now neglecting. I guess I could bring down a couple of vases ahead of time - just in case - but I also have the problem, in a smallish NYC apartment, of where to put them, since I've certainly bought flowers and displayed them on the available surfaces.

                                                                      I'd much prefer to receive flowers the next day as a "thank you".

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                        Good point. I also live in New York, so when you invite me around for dinner, I'll bring champagne for you (the real stuff, and no-one ever assumes that champagne is anything other than a hostess gift!) And you'll get a nice bunch of flowers the next day!

                                                                        - Sean

                                                                    2. Being food people, we sometimes forget that not all people are obsessed with every last detail. In this case, you have to put the feelings of your hosts over your obsession with wine. If you are unable to put your friendship with your hosts over your own personal tastes, it means you're taking your tastes too seriously.

                                                                      However, there are instances where none of this applies. If you ask the host what you can bring and they say "bring the wine," I think there is a reasonable expectation that that wine will be opened, because otherwise their response would be tantamount to choosing their own gift, which is rude.

                                                                      1. I definitely vote with "it's a gift" crowd on this one. I would find it pretty rude for a guest to just open the bottle they brought and start swigging. Likewise, I've been pretty offended at even casual parties I've hosted when I've had guests bring their own cooler of beer. (Not to share, mind you - to sit and drink all for themselves.)

                                                                        I understand that the host offering Yellow Tail probably doesn't have it selected to go with the meal, but still, that's what they have provided. I usually select my wines based on the courses I'm serving and have them chilled or open and breathing and ready to serve when my guests arrive, so I accept my gift bottle graciously and add it to my collection. The ONLY exception I make to this rule is when our friends who own a wine shop come to dinner. Then I provide them with the menu and they make the wine selections for the courses and bring them. But that's a prearranged understanding with us.

                                                                        1. sorry, OP - its a gift, you have to deal. any suggestions about bringing two bottles, opening it yourself, etc, are off base, plain and simple. hand the wine over and they can do with it what they will.

                                                                          if you are really set on drinking your wine and dont mind being rude, open it on the ride over and ring the doorbell while swilling from the bottle. dont hand it over, just hold on to it and proceed thusly through the evening.

                                                                          since you clearly care a bit about propriety, and i feel for you having to drink yellowtail, the one thing i could think of is this: when invited, you can say you would be thrilled to come, and since you know how hard it is to entertain, you would love to offer to help out, and then you can volunteer to being wine for the evening. ask what will be served and make and effort to pick out something that pairs, being enough to last the evening, and let your host know they are off the hook.

                                                                          the catch here is that when they offer to return the favor for your dinner party, if they show with yellowtail, you have to serve it with a smile.

                                                                          1. Besd on what you have described, what you have done is to bring a hostess gift and they have the right to do with thier gift as they please. When invited, ofter to bring the wine and then when you show up in addition to the wine birng a hostess gift. If you friends recognize that you have good taste in wine, especially if they believe that your taste is better or you will spend more, they will likely appreciate and accept the offer. I have one friend who doesn't know anything about wine but she knows this and always accepts at least one guest's offer to bring the wine.

                                                                            Because you are attending a "special" dinner, you are actually less likely than normal to have your gift used at that time. When invited to my sister's home I always bring her chocolate. She loves good chocolate but it does not fit into their budget. When I am invited to her home for dinner, her husband is out of town and it is her, me, and her toddler eating spagetti, I always get a share of the chocolate because that is what sisters do. When she is hosting a dinner party for 8, 10 or 12. I bring the same chocolate and she immediately goes and hides it so no one gets to it before her.

                                                                            Based on the above chocolate story, maybe you can train your friends to let you bring the wine by starting with a less formal or special occasion until they get to the point where they invite you just so you will bring the wine.

                                                                            1. OK, I can understand the OP being disappointed that his wine wasn't opened, but "irritated?" What, do you think your friends are pulling some sort of scam? "Hee hee, let's invite him over and he'll bring good wine and we can pawn off our Yellowtail on him!" Stop bringing wine if you're going to get irritated that it's not opened. The Yellowtail won't kill you, and if it's just too much for your palate to suffer through, drink water. You know, I often eat dinner at people's houses where they serve dishes I don't care for (salad with Hidden Valley Ranch, not my style, but I certainly don't bring my own vinaigrette.) I'm sure your friends would be saddened to know that the kindness of their invitation was overshadowed by your irritation at having to drink wine that you don't like.

                                                                              I don't understand the attitude that if one thing isn't to your liking, it's ok to manipulate the hosts into serving something you want. I have an idea, keep hinting around that their tastes are too pedestrian, you won't have to worry about this problem for much longer.

                                                                              1. My husband and I are well known winos, er, wine appreciators. Our friends frequently bring a bottle of wine as the hostess present. As this is a present, we generally put this away (after writing the giver's name on the bottle for a thank you note when we drink it). When we plan dinner, we plan the wines to go along with it.

                                                                                We have had occasion when our friends have offered to bring the wine for the dinner. Please note that this requires that more than one bottle be offered. Our ratio of bottles to guests is generally 3:4. As you can see, this often gets too expensive for a guest to undertake. Should you really wish for your bottle to be consumed during the dinner, call ahead of time and ask if you can bring a bottle for the meal.

                                                                                Alternately, if its just a matter of you feeling that your friends are keeping the "good stuff" for themselves while they serve you swill, bring a bottle of Yellow Tail as your hostess gift.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: librarian

                                                                                  I love the idea of writing the name of the giver on the bottle. I sometimes forget who gave me a bottle, if I keep it cellar for a long period. I'll definitely keep my bottle marker available for this tip. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                                2. Option #1. Arrive with the bottle already opened and tell the hostess, you brought this because you heard it was great, wanted to try it soon and woud love to have her/him taste it as well. Also, mention that you think it will even match what is being served.

                                                                                  Option #2. Tell your hostess, you are keeping some tasting notes on a selection of wines and need some help. Mention that you would love to have the input of any other guests who are "into" wine and you should be cleared to being wine to any future parties.

                                                                                  Option #3. Tell the hostess, you know there are only certain wines that agree with you and would they be ok if you brought something that you know won't cause you to have an adverse reaction. They certainly won't want you to suffer.

                                                                                  Best wishes!

                                                                                  1. Oh, my! Unfortunately the price we must pay for the pleasure of the company of our friends is that we sometimes have to lower our standards somewhat.

                                                                                    Perhaps you could do what one woman recently did at a neighborhood progressive dinner at my house. Very congenial group of about 75 people that's been doing this for many years. Most of the wines brought were in the $20 to $30 range, opened and placed on the sideboard to be shared. Not exactly swill. Taking no chances, she brought hers in a personal caddy which she toted around the party for her own consumption. We all like her anyway but we're still giggling.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                      "we sometimes have to lower our standards somewhat"

                                                                                      you may want to check the other thread about food snobbery. This is right in the middle of the bulls-eye.

                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                        Guess you couldn't see my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. Sorry. Poor communication on my part.

                                                                                        When I saw your reply to this post, I was laughing at your previous post just before this one and about to add to it a suggestion that jfood might want to bring his Cool Whip in case they were serving a less desirable topping.
                                                                                        I agree with you absolutely - the main purpose of going to the home of friends is to enjoy their company. I don't care if it's Easy Cheese on Ritz if I like them.

                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                          As little jfood says, "NICE."

                                                                                          To be honest, I had some cool whip with some homemade apple pie two weeks ago and it's not as good any more. :-(( Jfood has moved on to Redi-Whip.

                                                                                          And the Ritz go best with some good chopped liver. :-))

                                                                                    2. If you've been asked to bring wine, then it should be opened. If you offer to bring wine _for_ dinner and the host(ess) accepts, then it should be opened. Any other circumstance, its entirely up to the host and you should have no expectation about the wine being consumed while you're there; its a gift, ultimately.

                                                                                      So, you just have to speak up ahead of time. Then choose whether you want to bring wine or not.

                                                                                      1. If you bring a bottle unasked it is a hostess gift and you cannot expect them to open it.

                                                                                        If you ask if you can bring anything for dinner and they ask for wine, or if they ask you to bring wine it is they who are being rude not opening it. They have asked you to contribute to the meal in that case and it is just as rude as if they asked you to bring a food item (say a dessert, some steaks for a BBQ, whatever) and didn't serve it.

                                                                                        So, next time if they ask.. when you present it say "I thought this would go well with..."
                                                                                        If they put it away anyway next time they ask you to bring wine you can feel free to say "is their anything else I can bring? I've never seen you open a bottle I've brought and I assumed you don't enjoy my taste in wine".

                                                                                        1. Yellow tail is an improvement over what I found at the last party I went to -- boxed wine in white, red and rose. Yuck! But I truly love these people, so I just "sucked" it up and ended up drinking more water than wine. What can you do?

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: RGC1982

                                                                                            See some of the replies above for some of the truly appalling and downright rude things you could do! I'm with you suck it up and hang with your friends.

                                                                                          2. I'm a bit perplexed by this thread. Our friends/we do quite a bit of entertaining. Everyone always brings wine to each others' places. We always drink the wine. I would never have considered any of the things so far mentioned in the long line of responses above. I don't get it.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                              I guess it really depends on how close you are with your friends at the party. With our closest friends I'd have no problem with them suggesting we try the wine they brought and vice versa. It's one thing if I've selected a really nice expensive bottle of wine, but come on if it's a Yellowtail I think everyone knows it's a cheap wine (that I have no problem drinking). If my friends wanted to bring over a nice wine for dinner I'd be more than happy to put away that Yellowtail. I think those of us that buy and serve Yellowtail do it because we're on a budget or don't want to spend more than $10 a bottle for a party and not because of any disillusions about it being a great wine.

                                                                                              Now if I was going to say a Christmas party of a co-worker that I didn't know well I wouldn't expect to be drinking the bottle I brought.

                                                                                              1. re: Rick

                                                                                                Ultimately, none of the details are really important here. Its got a lot more to do with basic respect for people. You just ought to treat people, not to mention your actual friends, with some basic decency and not attempt to manipulate a situation to get what you want when someone else is offering to have you into their home. Be straightforward, be honest, be nice. If you're really concerned about the level of wine your friends are consuming...well, you're concerned about the wrong things.

                                                                                                The etiquette itself is simple. If you bring something to someone's house unasked, don't have any expectations. If you are asked to bring something to share, have the expectation that it will be served. If you want to have "nicer" wine with dinner, offer and be prepared to have them say "no thank you."

                                                                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                  This question came up the other night. People here seem to get lost in the concept of host and guests and the directions. We attended an informal dinner party where in accepting the invitation we indicated we would bring wine. Not knowing what was on the menu we covered the bases with one white, one red and made sure the white was chilled. Needless to say, we were served what was already open in the fridge.

                                                                                                  I have delved into this and the answer is that when having a dinner party and inviting guests the hosting person should define formal or informal. In a small informal setting guests will often ask Can I bring something or pro-offer to bring wine. At this point the host should decline the offer of wine. If a person then brings wine, then it is clearly a gift. When the host accepts the offer to bring wine, it is understood to be for consumption. When the event is not clear, and the guest arrives with a chilled bottle of white, the indicator is that the host should ask, or state in a polite way, looks lovely would you like me to open this now.

                                                                                                  Remember that dinner and wine is one thing. There is also time before and after to enjoy the wine that the guests brought. While we should be cognizant to not insult the host, these people are guests, and deserve not to be insulted by ignoring their wine offering.

                                                                                                  I disagree whole heartedly with those who say sit back and suck back on the Chuck Shaw. As the guests I am offended when offered what ever happens to be open in the fridge!

                                                                                            2. Greg B-

                                                                                              It seems you dine fairly often at their home. Perhaps next time you are invited, mention that since you are a guest of their's so often, it would be your pleasure to supply the wine for the evening. Then bring with you multiple bottles of whatever you wish.

                                                                                              1. To be honest, I am going to go somewhat against the grain...and look at this from the hostess' perspective. We have lots of dinner parties, especially near the holidays and there is always homemade wine on the table, as my father makes it, he is proud of it, and wants people to share in something that he has made. However, we always open 2 bottles (or more), 1 of my dad's and one from (usually) a Canadian vinyard that we are wine club members of. However, many people bring us bottles of wine all the time. And I think its really rude NOT to open their bottle. I will open theirs right away, unless they stipulate that we save it for another occassion, and I will save the vinyard wine for another time or later in the evening.
                                                                                                I feel that if someone has brought us wine, or dessert, it is only fair to share it with them. I think its a nice experience. We usually serve several meats at dinners, and therefore it is a good chance that several wines could work well for dinner. Perhaps we are not sophisticated enough to know all the subtle nuances of wine and what goes with what, but I have never had a problem with my guests' wine yet.
                                                                                                To each their own; when I go to someone's house, and they don't open my wine, I wont get offended, but I just like to open their wine if they bring it. If a guest brings 2 (which sometimes happens), I will ask the guest which one he thinks we should open first, and depending on how much everyone drinks, we may save the 2nd bottle.