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Waitstaff topping off glasses from bottle on the table... [moved from Wine board]

I have a question. I went to dinner w/2 friends last night. I was ordering by the glass, they split a bottle. One friend is a guzzler....so every time the waitress swung by, the guzzler's glass was almost empty and the waitress stopped and refilled it. The other friend was sipping and the end result is she got just over 1 glass out of the bottle. She was a bit peeved and said a firm NO when asked if anyone would like to order another bottle. Is simply refilling the glass of whoever is nearly empty the standard practice? At some point should she have realized she was filling one all the time, and the other never?

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  1. In my experience yes, the waitstaff refills the empty glasses. I think it was up to the sipper to say "thank you, but we will pour our own wine". Or, if the sipper knew the other was a "guzzler" the sipper should have ordered by the glass as well.

    7 Replies
    1. re: gourmanda

      Ah, so simple and yet I never thought of it...."thanks but we'll pour our own".

      1. re: JaneRI

        I guess I don't see the problem. Both people drank at their own pace, the server refilled as needed, and the drunk went home and watched Lifetime !

        1. re: TonyO

          But the sipper DID want more....just wanted it a bit more slowly. Unless you're the closest of friends, it's a bit awkward to say "wouldja stop being such a pig?"

          1. re: JaneRI

            I guess that's the difference between men and women ! I would have grabbed the bottle and polished it off !

            1. re: JaneRI

              But presumably if the customers poured their own wine, the guzzler's glass would be filled at the same rate. The only difference is the owner of the hand on the bottle. The problem here is with an inattentive/inconsiderate dining partner, not the waitstaff.

                1. re: zin1953

                  >if the customers poured their own wine,
                  that is a big IF.

                  if my co-bottle mate is filling my glass, i suppose it is defensible
                  to guzzle. otherwise, if i am filling my own glass ... well it's the
                  difference between "give and take".

                  but i agree for slightly other reasons, it's perfectly reasonable for
                  the server to refill and empty glass unless a bottle syndicate member
                  indicates they will do self-help. so the issue here is really the guzzlers
                  conscious or unconscious lack of consideration for the sipper ... again
                  of some interest whether he's unaware of bottle syndicate norms or
                  doesnt care about them, but unware isnt exculpatory.

                  ok tnx.

      2. I think the proper thing to do would have been for the guzzler to try to match pace with the sipper, or vice-versa. I know I have some friends who are slow drinkers and slow eaters; unless I want to be sitting there empty-handed for 30 minutes, I try to match pace with them and draw out the time we get to spend with each other.

        9 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          "I think the proper thing to do would have been for the guzzler to try to match pace with the sipper, or vice-versa"

          So one or the other would be discomfited and enjoy their dinner less? Doesn't seem a fine solution.

          An adult dining out has the only responsibility for ensuring that they have all the wine, water, coffee, food that they want.

          It seems ridiculous, unless a limit was agreed upon earlier, to complain that one didn't get enough wine, when the readily avaialble option is to buy all the wine one wants.

          Or you go back to family table rules: you snooze, you lose.

          1. re: FrankJBN

            Really? I don't see it that way....if I split a bottle w/a friend, I figure we both are entitled to roughly 50% of that. I don't think I have the right to drink most of it. You say "unless a limit was agreed upon earlier..." To me, when you decide to SPLIT a bottle, a limit is implied.....you each get half. When you split an appie, and a plate comes bearing 4 pieces of something, don't you assume just two of those belong to you by default? Not 3 if you can gobble them down quickly enough?

            1. re: JaneRI

              I think it is different with a bottle of wine where one can pour 1 oz into topping up a glass a dozen times and still have a half bottle left.

              Plus, I find that when I dine out with friends, no one is interested in whether or not I ate more. I often insist to no avail that I should pay more because I ordered an extra app, or dessert. Apparently many people like to split bills evenly no matter who ate or drank what. I don't, but that's because I recognize my appetite and capacities.

              So no, I do not agree that "split" has to mean 50-50. (Point of fact, when I split a 12 pack with certain one of my buddies, I assume he will drink 8 or 9 and I wll drink 3 or 4. We're still splitting it,)

              Still and all it is the question of the dynamics of the ongoing meal.

              Part of that dynamic is that apparently these two were strangers splitting a bottle since one was known to be a guzzler by the OP, but not by the sipper.

              (The same friend I mention above, I have another friend who will not split with him 'He drinks all the dmaned beer himself')

              We split a bottle of wine. My glass is refilled by the waiter. Do I now sit until the end of the meal to see if the other party will eventually refill their glass? At the end of the meal, turns out they only wanted one glass, the two remaining glasses would be mine - if I want them with my apple pie.

              No, it is not my responsibility to keep track of how much someone else, even my bill-splitting co-diner is eating and drinking. Should I notice the waiter is filling my glass and not the other? Should I assume they are never getting any more of the wine? What does it have to do with me?

              Now, if I am pouring the wine, and I notice there is but one glass remaining, it behooves me to ask if the other person wants it (or some of it). But, particularly since the waiter is pouring the wine, how is the drinker going to notice how much wine is left in the bottle and this is crucial.

              While we all know how many pieces are half of four pieces, you might be surprised how many people have no conception of how much wine is in a bottle or a glass.

              I have to think most people who split a bottle of wine don't know that they get 2 1/2 5 oz glasses out of it. Nor would they know that if 6 ozs are being poured, by the third time one glass is filled, there is nothing left for the other.

              1. re: JaneRI

                This situation is roughly like that of the one diner who orders more and more expensive courses when the check is being split. In some cases everyone's OK with it but, more often, some get their noses out of joint over it.

                I think the person who allows the server to help them drink most of the wine is being selfish at best. They should at least ask the slower drinker if they're OK with less (they might be). Better would be for them to ask the server to slow down so everyone can enjoy as much as they like. Not everyone is that observant or thoughtful, unfortunately.

                1. re: JaneRI

                  Jane, you are absolutely correct. Splitting a bottle is 50/50. It's up to the drinker who drinks less to say, "you can finish it off" if they don't want any more. The Guzzler is simply rude. It's definitely NOT a you snooze you lose situation.

                2. re: FrankJBN

                  "you snooze, you lose?"
                  hmmm. consider this.
                  I do not like to eat my food without chewing it. I had a couple over for dinner, my husband prepared the meal. The salad hits the table. The male of the couple dives into his salad as if he is starving. finishes his plate. Takes seconds. Everyone else is still on firsts. He finishes his plate again, and says, "Hey, i'm going to finish this off", then he takes thirds and scrapes out the salad bowl while everyone else at the table is still on their first serving.

                  That is just plain rude. Make an attempt to match your pace to your seatmates- whether that means speeding up or slowing down a little. We are eating a meal together- not foraging for our lives in the wilds.

                  1. re: nummanumma

                    Not sure changing the pace of eating what's on your own plate is so much the issue, though we're going to agree, ultimately about the outcome. It's just basic manners to keep an eye on how much is in the communal dish and not eat more than a fair share until after others have had the chance to eat an equivalent amount and passed on it.

                    I think you can eat what's on your own plate as quickly as you'd like....but that doesn't entitle you to everything else on the table. Personally, I can't eat any faster than I do and wouldn't try but I wouldn't expect anyone else to slow down to match me, either.

                    1. re: nummanumma

                      I totally agree nummanumma.....the concept of "you snooze you lose" sounds like animals in the wild when applied to friends & family dining together.

                      I still say that when you say "let's split" there is a reasonable expectation that each person will get roughly half. It's not a money issue even....it's that I plan my meal and what I order by how much food I'll want or need.....if there are four pieces of an appetizer I don't think I'm out of line by assuming two are mine, and if you're quicker than me you're NOT going to reach for a third.

                      1. re: nummanumma

                        God, numma .... what a rude guest! This person would NEVER be invited back to my house again. (I think I dated this guy in a past life too....) Wasn't his wife horrified? Or just clueless? I would have paused after he finished his second helping and said "there IS an entree! Please dont spoil your appetite!" But I suspect even a remark like that would have gone right over his head.

                  2. Wait staff are generally trained to keep all glasses full -- water as well as wine. The advantage -- for them -- is that they work on tips, and if they a) provide good service (e.g.: keeping water [and wine] glassess full, it's perceived as good service and thus tips will increase; and b) they have a better chance of selling a 2nd bottle, thereby increasing the total bill, and thus their tip.

                    As gourmanda suggests, just say "thank you, but we will pour our own wine".

                    1. The server is not a hall monitor. it's your wine, your table, your pace.

                      Could you imagine the contra-thread to this, "The waiter who wouldn't fill my wine glass when empty"


                      1 Reply
                      1. I think it is about the friendship. If you know your friend is a drinker, then either ask for the bottle to split into two carafes (which says a lot about the friendship), give it up that the friend is worth thirty dollars and order another bottle, or go in knowing that the friend is a guzzler, and order your own. The uncomfortable feelings that come up when you feel like somebody is taking way more than their share, can go way deeper than the bottle of wine. For instance, at your own home, where you may have paid for the whole kit and kaboodle, you most likely wouldn't want to make one person feel like they could only have two glasses of wine, and only at the pace of the slowest drinker, you would buy enough bottles to make sure everybody had enough.

                        1. My question - if left to their own devices and the server did not pour or top off wine glasses, would the scenario have been any different? In other words, what would have stopped the "guzzler" from outpacing the "sipper" and filling his/her glass which would still result in an unequal distribution of wine. When I am out with my friends or family, I honestly don't keep track of the pours and yes, I think it is standard practice if the wine is being poured for waitstaff to fill empty glass unless told otherwise. But, if this seems to be a problem, I would have done as the OP and ordered wine by the glass.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: foodseek

                            Wow, another cool 'ethics' question and one I never really thought about. I've been out with guzzlers and never kept pace with them. At the end of the night, all of the wine was added to the bill and I with my one or two glasses paid for their one or two bottles each.

                            On keeping pace with them, I couldn't, I can't. On eating at a pace with a slow diner, I can't do that either.

                            Interesting, not sure yet how to answer this one.

                            1. re: dolores

                              I think it get's chalked up as lesson learned and don't split a bottle with that person/those persons again. Presuming their company is otherwise enjoyable and I like them, I'll still go out with them but I'd order by the glass or opt for a cocktail instead.

                            2. re: foodseek

                              Very true - it wouldn't have changed a thing.....this is a person we haven't socialized very much w/yet so we weren't quite aware of how big the disparity was.

                            3. I have never ever liked servers refilling my glass, be it water or wine. Leave the bottle, caraffe or jug alone and let me do it myself.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: smartie

                                I'm like that too - I always feel interrupted.....conversation stops while you wait for the stranger to leave the table, etc.

                                1. re: smartie

                                  I don't like the server topping off my wine either... I get that it shows good service and all, but sometimes they fill it too frequently and always to the top (I like a little "room" in my glass) and then I usually end up ordering another bottle for the table when I didn't intend to in the first place. I have said before, "thank you, but I prefer to fill my own glass." No problems.

                                2. I do agree that it is the waitstaffs job to keep glasses full, and I know many more diners who would be complaining if our waitperson did not come back to refill glasses. So, no, the server should not have been keeping track of who was drinking more.

                                  I do however think that the person guzzling should have maybe slowed down a bit and agree with you that when you "split" a bottle of wine among 2 people, it is generally assumed you are each getting roughly 2 glasses. Once the guzzler was on their 3-4th glass they should have realized they were making a pig of themselves!

                                  With that said, I run into this all the time when I eat out with my whole family. On a good night (or bad, depending on your opnion) DH, Dad and "little" Brother can go through 2 bottles of wine without too much help from me. If I am still eating my dinner and want another glass of wine, since I've had 1 and they finished about 3 each, I simply order another "glass" of wine. Which, your friend could have easily done and still said no to another bottle.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: SweetPea914

                                    After reading and absorbing all of the replies I see clearly this issue had NOTHING to do w/the server.

                                    1. re: JaneRI

                                      Yep, probably everything to do with the Guzzler. Even if the bottle had been on the table, it's likely he might have just refilled his own whenever he wanted and drunk most of it anyway. Some people are just oblivious.
                                      If your friend dines with him again, she should order by the glass. I wonder if he'll order an entire bottle for himself.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        But it goes back to how then does one split the bill? The Guzzlers I've known happily split up the bill equally at the end of the night.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          Sadly, the greedy Guzzlers and Gobblers who drink and eat more than anyone else at the table never seem to OFFER to pay more. They're content to split the bill evenly and others get shafted, especially those who don't drink at all.

                                  2. You know, this has been a big problem in my cirlce...in fact, I've chosen to tighten the circle recently because I couldn't afford my friends ability to drink 3-4 glasses to my 1.
                                    I love wine. I love to drink wine. More importantly I like to savor my wine and savor my meal.
                                    Nothing pisses me off more than ordering a nice bottle of wine while at dinner with friends (I do not make much money but I will splurge on a good bottle-when I do I expect to drink more than 1 glass) and having them just pour pour pou right down their throats before I can finish even one glass. They would then take it upon themselves to order another bottle and still expect me to fork over dough to cover their inability to control their drinking problem. NO more! No thank you...I do not dine or drink with these people anymore.
                                    I do not have a buget to throw good wine down the throat of someone who would be just as happy had it been a bottle of 2-buck-chuck.
                                    I've gone to the point where I've told the server before hand to slow down "that persons" refill to ensure that the rest of the table gets to enjoy the wine too.
                                    It worked...I would prefer to never have to do that again.
                                    I've now just made it a point to only enjoy meals with civilized respectful people who also like to enjoy, and take their time with food and wine...when my civilized friends are unavailable, I have a perfectly fine time dining alone not having to keep one arm around the bottle in fear that it will be guzzled in 5 minutes.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                                      Thanks - I'm glad I'm not crazy in thinking 'just order more wine' isn't the solution.

                                      1. re: tatertotsrock

                                        As I have long said -- adjusted for inflation -- what the world needs is a great $10 bottle of wine . . . one that you can enjoy, but is cheap enough that you don't mind opening it for your wine-guzzling/non-wine drinking friends.

                                        Fortunately, they are plentiful.


                                        1. re: zin1953

                                          Hey Zin,
                                          you show me a resaurant that has a good $10 bottle with a tasting menu to my liking and you'll be my hero.
                                          Anyway, I like my resolution to my problem...dump all useless, guzzling jerks from the table and life is much more pleasant with "fine" bottles of wine...I'm a quality vs quantity gal.
                                          It is also a pain if one would consider ordering by the glass since sometimes a bottle is for sure the way to go.
                                          I buy plenty of great wine for aroung $10 at Silverlake Wine with much happiness...at dinner, not so easy...

                                          1. re: tatertotsrock

                                            $10 restaurant price? No. $10 retail price? Absolutely!

                                            1. re: zin1953

                                              C'mon Zin,
                                              I'll say it again :
                                              "you show me a resaurant that has a good $10 bottle with a tasting menu to my liking and you'll be my hero."
                                              I'm in LA and I like good wine with a good meal...much more enjoyable to buy a good bottle alone and take home the rest then eat and drink with useless asses.
                                              Life is much more pleasant and tastey without the.
                                              Off to SHIRO for a good glass and some tastey treats.

                                              1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                Gee, c'mon, tater tots . . . I'll say it again: $10 bottle in a restaurant? No. $10 retail? Sure!

                                            2. re: tatertotsrock

                                              'dump all useless, guzzling jerks from the table and life'

                                              Sadly, easier said than done. Good idea, though, for sure.

                                        2. This is what I do in similar situations- generally the folks who are greedy soon realize it if they need to pour their own. At some point I would have said to the waitress, "thanks, we'll pour ourselves." and let your friend guzzle if need be, but not without being completely aware of it. Other than champagne I almost always pour my own at the table once the bottle is there.

                                          1. I am assuming your friends ordered a regular-sized bottle of wine which is 750ml, or 25 ounces There are around 5 glasses of wine in a bottle but of course this depends on how big the size of the glass is. What I'm trying to say is 25 ounces is not that much to share and your 'guzzler' must have been drinking faster but I wouldn't say they were out of line. Would the other person who shared the wine have noticed if it were just free tap water that was being refilled?

                                            It sounds to me like your friend shouldn't have spoken for the table just because she's a slower sipper. Perhaps the 'guzzler' wanted to order wine by the glass. Whenever I dine with friends, one person always orders more - another orders less. It works out in the end.

                                            Of course you didn't mention how much the bottle of wine was. If it was outrageously expensive then I could see her being a bit peeved.

                                            20 Replies
                                            1. re: Beau711

                                              "It sounds to me like your friend shouldn't have spoken for the table just because she's a slower sipper. Perhaps the 'guzzler' wanted to order wine by the glass."

                                              Beau.....huh? How did you make the assumption that my friend "spoke for the table"? It came about as it often does.....2 people looking at similar wines by the glass, not being thrilled w/the choices and one saying "wanna check out the bottles....?"

                                              There are several solutions (be upfront about wanting your 50%, ditch the guzzling friend, etc) and all are valid.....but I think there needs to still be a bit of acknowledgement that if you agree to SPLIT something, roughly 50/50 is what you should count on.

                                              1. re: JaneRI

                                                You know, I've been avoiding this thread until now when someone hit a nerve. I have about a once-a-month dinner out with a friend of mine. She is a rail thin and doesn't eat much. Likewise, she can't really handle more than a glass and a half of wine. When we go out she always reaches for the wine list and oohs and ahs over each bottle. She asks me if we can "go in on" a particular bottle when I'd be just as happy odering by the glass (or not having wine at all as it frequently gives me a terribe headaches). So we'll get a bottle and she literally micro-sips a glass for the entire evening. The first few times we left a half empty bottle on the table. I wanted another glass but didn't want to seem moochy. Now, I will say to her, "Are you going to want more of this?" and she'll say, "No, I just want this one glass". Next time we go out, I'll remind her that she should probably just get one glass but she'll want to go for the bottle. It's very frustrating because I don't want to be seen as a guzzler, but I can easily handle three of four glasses over a 4 hour period.

                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                  I'm not sure I understand. If you WANT 3-4 glasses and she's happy w/one....isn't this the perfect situation? Why was half a bottle left behind?

                                                  1. re: JaneRI

                                                    Half a bottle was left behind several times because I didn't want to drink more than her. And she didn't want more than a glass. But I wouldn't have ordered a whole bottle if I'd known. Is that weird?

                                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                                      Not weird.....but once she made it clear she didn't want more than one glass, I can't see why you'd hesitate to polish off the bottle.

                                                      Can I assume she wanted to try something that wasn't available by the glass? You could offer to throw in a few extra $$ for your portion of the wine, but given that she's the one saying she wants a bottle, it's certainly not necessary.

                                                      1. re: JaneRI

                                                        Hmm, I don't. Not sure if you can or can't tolerate all that wine, southernitalian, but in that instance, I would sooner polish it off than leave it there. I wouldn't let it happen again, unless I wanted to drink most of the bottle.

                                                        Unless you're caught between a rock and a hard place, as I often am.

                                                        1. re: dolores

                                                          Three glasses of wine in four hours is hardly a lot of wine, in my book. But I'd just as soon forego it or order by the glass than have to drink what she wants and then feel guilty about not paying for more than half of the bottle. You know what I love most about this site? I love the fact that there's something about the process of writing out something that's been bugging my sort of crystalizes it for me. I've been stressing out over nothing. If she wants to spend $40 for the equivalent of a glass of wine, let her. I won't feel pressure to go in on it any more.

                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                            Excuse me southernitalian,
                                                            but isn't what you described alcohol abuse? How could you just let that poor bottle sit there...all alone...used...incomplete...ah the cruelty!!!
                                                            Why not just take the bottle home with you?
                                                            It's legal in LA as far as I know.
                                                            I just took a half bottle of sake home from K-Zo the other night...they didn't have this one by-the-glass and it was dying to roll around in my mouth with the oysters topped with uni and caviar.
                                                            Don't abuse the booze!
                                                            Drink it!

                                                  2. re: southernitalian

                                                    Do you live in a state where you can't take the bottle with you? Here (nyc) we can take the unfinished, opened bottle home (the restaurant is required to pack it in a special bag thing). (Whether one is comfortable with this is a whole other thread.)

                                                    If not, then if you wanted more wine, I don't really see the problem. Your friend (the way you described it) probably wouldn't have cared, yes? If you didn't want more wine, then yes, you all should have been more communicative and decided against a whole bottle.

                                                    1. re: LNG212

                                                      Wow, good on NYC. Here in the suburbs of Westchester one can't walk out with an open bottle.

                                                      1. re: dolores

                                                        Florida permits an open unfinished bottle to be recorked and taken home. The law was changed, I think, on Jan 1 2007 (or maybe it was 2006).

                                                        1. re: dolores

                                                          are you sure? i just assumed the law was for all of new york state; but i'm not positive. (it was new as of maybe last year or 2 years ago.)

                                                          1. re: LNG212

                                                            Come to think of it, no I'm not. It was awhile ago that a relative took a bottle of wine out of a restaurant, and it was as if Al Capone had recreated the Valentine Day Massacre.

                                                            You're probably right. As I've said, though, whenever wine and dinners that I attend are involved, there usually isn't any left.

                                                            I'll have to notice next time there is.

                                                        2. re: LNG212

                                                          We have this in RI now too (taking home unfinished wine)....law is new this yr or last.

                                                          1. re: JaneRI

                                                            I live in NC and I'm almost positive you can't do that but that would have only made it worse. i was deliberately not having more so we would have drunk the same amount. It wouldn't look good for me to cork up the bottle and walk out with it.

                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                              actually you can take home an open bottle of wine in NC. Just be sure it is in the trunk or in an otherwise apparet area so it is not perceived as open container.

                                                      2. re: JaneRI

                                                        "She was a bit peeved and said a firm NO when asked if anyone would like to order another bottle"

                                                        Hi JaneRI - I made the assumption that your friend spoke for the table by your original post.

                                                        1. re: Beau711

                                                          I think we're not communicating properly Beau. That was for a 2nd bottle - she didn't speak for the table either time....it was mutually agreed upon to order the bottle - so she didn't speak for the table that time. The 2nd time she was asked by The Guzzler (as was I) if anyone would like to order bottle #2. She said a firm NO speaking for herself; the Guzzler was free to order another bottle by herself if she cared to. (or another indiv glass).

                                                          1. re: JaneRI

                                                            Hi JaneRI - thanks for clarifying.

                                                        2. re: JaneRI

                                                          Your friend was in the awkward position that many of us find ourselves in sometimes.
                                                          It's hard to say,"Hey, slow down! I'm going to want another glass of that bottle we're supposed to be splitting." Guzzlers and pigs rarely realize what they're doing and when you call them on it, they act clueless, like they're the offended party.
                                                          Some of them never seem to learn. Behavior patterns? The way they were raised at family dinner tables?

                                                      3. Unless it was made clear 'we are going to split the bill 50/50 on the wine' - why didn't the friend suggest just chipping in for her 1 glass portion?

                                                        I've encountered this on many occasions, and the 1 glass person chips in their amount. I roughly figure 4 glasses per bottle -- so the 1 glass person would pay 1/4th.

                                                        If she's peeved about feeling taken advantage of, she must speak up. The guzzler was likely not paying attenton to how much the other person was drinking -- especially if it was the waiter topping them off and not them pouring it themselves.

                                                        I'm surprised the waitress didn't 'top off' the sippers glass at the same time she filled the almost empty one. My experience has been the empty glass is filled and the sipped on glass is topped off a little as well.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: The Oracle

                                                          Oracle, I agree 100% about the need to speak up - I consider myself pretty upfront and yet it's awkward in practice, in real life. Since splitting everything evenly becomes the norm once you get past a certain age (and presumably a certain level of income) you'd be branded a cheapskate if you said "how about if I just give $XX since I only drank XX?" It SHOULDN'T but that's how most of us would feel I guess.

                                                          1. re: JaneRI

                                                            I totally agree with you JaneRI; if two people agree to share a bottle, it absolutely means 50/50, fairly shared.

                                                            I also agree about speaking up. If the person who drinks slowly notices that she/he is about to get less wine, they should say something like: "I am sorry, but even though I drink more slowly than you, I would really like to consume my half of the bottle".
                                                            And if the faster drinker notices she/he has consumed her/his half already, and still wants more, that person should order a new glass of wine for herself/himself, and let the friend finish the bottle. (= Good manners/being considerate)

                                                            It's funny, we just had a situation like that, in a very nice restaurant. Three people shared a bottle of fantastic wine. One of us was the slow drinker. I was so focused on our fun discussion that I did not notice that our (otherwise fantastic) waiter poured for me and the other "fast" drinker, but did not pour more for the slow drinker. Thankfully, the slow drinker -after first being stunned- soon let us know what had happened, so I grabbed the bottle and poured for her. Maybe the staff saw what I did, because after that the pours were fair.

                                                            From past experiences (too many of the kind), my husband and I have learned to (most of the time) keep a very watchful eye on how the server pours the wine -no matter how fancy the restaurant.
                                                            Actually, in more casual places we immediately let the servers know that we prefer to pour our own wine.
                                                            In more formal places, we sometimes do the same. Or we act like "orchestra directors", showing with a little waive of the hand when the pour -in our mind- is enough, or not enough. We do it with a smile and as politely as possible, sometimes joking about it.
                                                            Or sometimes we just say: "Could you please pour a little more for her/him", if a slow drinker got a smaller pour.
                                                            We are polite, but firm. I know some servers do not like this, but frankly; I really do not care: This is our money, our evening, we are in charge.

                                                            We learned the hard way: too many times a server has poured the last of a gorgeous and expensive wine into one glass only, leaving the other diners totally stunned and very disappointed -and silently angry. Those kinds of pours are rude and in our mind just a way to try to make the table order another bottle. Which we often do, but more often than not, we order another wine.

                                                        2. Such a tricky subject!

                                                          I have been both the guzzler and the sipper. If you know you're friends are guzzlers and you're a sipper- you might want to consider ordering by the glass or speak up for yourself (could be awkward, I realize). Recently, I have noticed a lot of places who charge by the glass price out so that 4 glasses = 1 bottle.

                                                          On the other hand, when I eat out with my Mother- we both know she will baby 1/2 glass of wine all through our meal- and I will drink the rest of the bottle on my own. Sometimes we just let our waiter know this is how it's going to go down, and sometimes I poor for myself.

                                                          1. if i was your server...
                                                            i would try to equally pour, but it's tricky when one person is drinking way faster than the other. first refill i would top up the sipper's a bit and pour that same amount into the guzzlers glass. next refill i would pick up the bottle and ask the sipper if she was "good" before refilling the guzzler's. it's improper to keep topping up a glass that doesn't need it. the server probably thought the sipper was just not a big drinker.

                                                            1. This is a personal issue & not a server issue!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: dbug31

                                                                I'm a server, and a guzzler. I don't top off wine for my customers precisely because I am a guzzler. And when I go out to eat with my friends, most of whom are also current or former servers, we either order so much wine that it doesn't matter, or we bring our own bottles and suffer the corking fee: one bottle per person, no one can complain. To answer the OP, not a server issue at all.
                                                                To gluttony!

                                                              2. I'd love to see a gender break-down of where everyone stands on this thread.

                                                                I'm a sipper but I'm also a marathoner, and I think if she didn't want to order another bottle AND wanted more wine (you left that part out), she doesn't have cause for peevishness. I see how there's a pay to play issue, but there were some many other issues here, most importantly your friend asserting herself at the table, than the wait staff refilled an empty glass. In vino vici!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: sailormouth

                                                                  " I think if she didn't want to order another bottle AND wanted more wine (you left that part out)"

                                                                  No, I didn't leave that out - I said she didn't want to order another bottle - and her reasoning for that is she didn't want to once again pay for half the bottle only to get 1/4 of it. Others above DID agree w/me....when you agree to SPLIT something, there is an expectation that there will be a roughly 50/50 split.

                                                                  You mentioned gender - is this a male thing, thinking "you snooze you lose" is customary when splitting.

                                                                  1. re: JaneRI

                                                                    Gender has nothing to do with this situation, in my opinion. I'm a guy. I think when you order a bottle with someone, you should until told otherwise, keep an eye on how much of it you're drinking and try not to drink more than about half. I also think that speaking up if you're on the other end of the deal is important because the "guzzler" may have no clue that they're drinking that much more than the other person and it can also be hard to keep track during a meal and a conversation. Saying "oh, make sure to save me a second glass" or some such thing wouldn't be at all out of line. My experience suggests that the response from the "guzzler" would more than likely be something along the lines "oh my gosh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were still on your first."

                                                                    Relationships have everything to do with it. The closer you are with someone the easier it ought to be to say "hey, don't hog all the wine." But interactions are complex and it's difficult to know what to say and when to say it in situations like the one described by the OP. Trying to navigate such social things is hard and, especially the first time you come up against it, I think it's best to learn the lesson and make sure it doesn't happen again.

                                                                    1. re: JaneRI

                                                                      My question was more to the did she want more wine rather than did she want to order another bottle and split it without getting her fair end of it? Would the guzzler been able to drink another half bottle of wine?

                                                                      I'm not saying that it is or isn't a gender thing, just curious.

                                                                      I agree that there is an expectation of getting about half of it, but I think it's more her responsibility that she get what she thinks is fair rather than the staff or even the guzzler, who may have been a little clueless or just rude. There are also times when I've split a bottle (or food, for that matter) with someone else and one of us likes it a lot and the other really doesn't.

                                                                      Why didn't you say something at the time?

                                                                  2. What I don't understand is why the sipper didn't just pour herself more wine once she saw what was happening. I don't think that the guzzler is at fault here -- it doesn't seem like she drank more of the bottle on purpose, and if you asked her, she probably has no idea that she drank more wine than the sipper. The sipper needed to be more assertive and not just sit there and get irritated about not having enough wine.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                      I guess it's a matter of opinion but I still think that when you split w/somebody you expect to get half....not 3/4 or more.

                                                                      I DID revise my opinion from my original post ....when I was pondering the idea that the server might have something to do w/it.

                                                                      1. re: JaneRI

                                                                        Sure, you expect to get half, but you can't just sit there and not drink your wine and see the rest of your wine being drunk by someone else and then get mad about it. If you want half of the bottle, you have to say "Save some for me!" or pour your own wine. Unless the guzzler was doing this on purpose (which it doesn't seem like he or she was, given that the waiter was pouring), I'm not sure how this is anyone's fault but the sipper's for not speaking up for herself.

                                                                      2. re: JasmineG

                                                                        The sipper didn't pour herself more because there was still wine in her glass, presumably enough that if she had poured herself more her glass would have been full instead of filled to the normal 6-oz line. As far as gender goes, the way my friends and I arrived at the conclusion to each bring our own bottle was because I, a female, told my male friend that I wasn't going to pay for his extra glasses and neither should the rest of use at the table, both male and female. Now we each have our own bottle, and when he's done, he's done, while we get to keep enjoying our wine. Takes a woman to arrive at so diplomatic a conclusion, I'd say! :)

                                                                        1. re: ctscorp

                                                                          So the sipper still had 6 ounces of wine in her glass when the guzzler had already had almost the rest of the bottle? I'm sorry, but the sipper needs to not order a bottle of wine with someone if she's going to drink that slowly.

                                                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                                                            are you familiar with the famous case of "market for lemons"? ob google.

                                                                            On the Dining with Boors and the Adverse Selection Problem ...
                                                                            let's take a table of 4 wine drinkers. person 1 knows he drinks slower
                                                                            than average, so he opts out of the group wine order.
                                                                            seeing somebody opt out of the group wine order, you suspect he's
                                                                            taking a slow sipper dive, so it is reasonable to suspect the avg guzzling
                                                                            rate of the remaining 3 has just gone up. now being an average sipper,
                                                                            you find yourself in relatively cutthroat company you opt out of the bottle
                                                                            rat race as well. seeing people striking the lonely "by the glass" road to
                                                                            his right and left, any risk averse moderate guzzler should fear it's just him
                                                                            an a super guzzler ... knowing this, he also drops out ...

                                                                            anyway, that is just crazy. again with an infinitely divisible good like
                                                                            wine there are some theoretical differences perhaps, but i believe
                                                                            the "pizza norm" holds. if you and your two associate order a large pizza,
                                                                            you're all roughly entitled to a third of the pizza. if somebody does something
                                                                            like not eat his crusts but takes half the slices at his accelerated rate, that is a
                                                                            norm violation. he doesnt have to eat the crusts but when exceeding your one
                                                                            third share you should hold off.

                                                                            of the questions presented, only one seems difficult:
                                                                            1. not the waiters fault.
                                                                            2. the guzzler is a boor
                                                                            3. the hard question is what to do about the boor.
                                                                            sub question to #3: should the OP as a "third party" w.r.t to the bottle
                                                                            get involved. obviously that depends on situational factors [as is the
                                                                            question of how to split the check between the OP drinking by the glass
                                                                            and the bottle coalition]

                                                                            frankly i think there are a huge number of threads where it's obvious
                                                                            the principal in the hypothetical is a boor and the only question is how to
                                                                            deal with the person. i'm surprised at how much reticence there is to
                                                                            call the person a boor up front [in the the original thread posting, not
                                                                            to his face at the table]... since these are inevietable phrased as
                                                                            "does behavior X seem leem to you" instead of "how would you deal with
                                                                            lamer X who did Y". [although given the number of people who do chime
                                                                            in to defend what i consider indefensible, maybe i'm the one out to lunch.
                                                                            i guess it is an interesting question how people analyze these situations ...
                                                                            intuitition? golden rule? dogmatic adherence to a corpus of manner/etiquette
                                                                            rules, the heavyweight machinery of moral philosophy [lockean proviso],
                                                                            economic analysis?]

                                                                            ok tnx.

                                                                            1. re: psb

                                                                              'golden rule? dogmatic adherence to a corpus of manner/etiquette
                                                                              rules, the heavyweight machinery of moral philosophy [lockean proviso],
                                                                              economic analysis?]'

                                                                              All of the above when the group is family or friends to whom one apparently can't speak up.

                                                                              Yes, been there, drank little in comparison, but paid an equal share of the bill.

                                                                              Still a sticky situation after all these posts, and I'm not sure there is an absolute solution for everyone.

                                                                      3. You know, I'm curious as to how long this dinner went on. If the sipper was sipping the same glass for an hour or longer, say, then she isn't sharing either. . .she's being hostile by indicating that the other party has to slow down to her speed. Sounds like these 2 have learned not to share a bottle of wine.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                                          You know, I feel I have to respond. You have made some baseless assumptions that I won't let go unremarked upon. She wasn't sipping a glass for an hour or longer - why would you assume that? We WERE there a total of perhaps an hour or longer, but the guzzler polished off 3/4 of the bottle in about 20 minutes. Still think the sipper is "hostile"?

                                                                          1. re: JaneRI

                                                                            I did not assume, I wondered. And now you have answered the question. And I agree that 3 or so glasses consumed in 20 minutes is a lot.