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Broken Wine Glass

Aimi Mar 27, 2008 12:17 PM

Some friends invited me for dinner, and after dinner I was reaching for something across the table and knocked over one of her beautiful etched wine glasses. It fell onto a serving dish and shattered. Obviously, I was remorseful and helped her clean up the pieces, but is that enough? Should I have offered to pay for a new one? I have no idea when or where she got the set or I would just go buy one to replace it. Or should I bring an extra hostess gift the next time I visit? I feel just awful. What should I do?

  1. MMRuth Mar 27, 2008 12:21 PM

    I would offer to replace it by inquiring about the brand/where she got them. However, if I were in the reverse situation, I would not take you up on the offer. Accidents happen.

    1. jfood Mar 27, 2008 12:35 PM

      jfood's in the replace please camp as well. Yes accidents happen and it is always nice to show up with this in hand.

      Over the years people have broken some of jfood's and always insist on paying or buying a replacement. Jfood has never accepted money and they have no idea how hard they are to find.

      1. farmersdaughter Mar 27, 2008 12:42 PM

        I've had people break wine glasses at my dinner parties a few times. Fortunately they have all been easily replaceable (I use widely available Riedel vinium glasses). The guest each time offered to pay / replace but I refused because the glasses are easily replaceable and not crazy expensive - to me a broken glass is just the "cost" of giving diner parties. One particularly persistent person who has a habit of breaking glasses everywhere did send me a gift certificate for $50 to a store where the Riedel glasses are sold, with the emphasis that it was not only to replace the one just broken but as a down payment on future broken glasses! But you should definitely offer to replace and ask the info about the brand/store.

        15 Replies
        1. re: farmersdaughter
          MMRuth Mar 27, 2008 12:43 PM

          That's sweet. I gave up on the Sommelier series that I had begun to accumulate as wedding gifts after one friend, prone to hand waving, broke three champagne glasses.

          1. re: MMRuth
            hill food Mar 27, 2008 12:51 PM

            That's why I buy cheap stems, cause I feel it's what's in the glass and who is holding it that counts (even if they've earned the nickname of 'Splatterella').

            plus this way if (when) something breaks I can look horrified and exclaim "that was my Grandmother's!" when it obviously wasn't - helps break the tension/embarrassment as the guest then gets to call me on my BS.

            1. re: hill food
              MMRuth Mar 27, 2008 12:57 PM

              Well, my latest Splatterella was of my own doing - a corner of my living room wall is now adorned with red wine spatter due to the confluence of a sip of red wine and a cough. So nothing anyone else does in my home can be much worse than that.

              1. re: MMRuth
                hill food Mar 27, 2008 01:15 PM

                believe me if you need tips for getting merlot out of a white flokati rug - we're your go to resource...

                1. re: hill food
                  MMRuth Mar 27, 2008 01:22 PM

                  Here in Manhattan, there are many society hostesses (um, I'm not one of them) who refuse to serve red wine. I've actually had great luck getting out stains from pomegranate cocktails from my cream rug. Of course, the dog (as a puppy) has since destroyed it anyway.

                  1. re: MMRuth
                    hill food Mar 27, 2008 01:28 PM

                    yeah, but they're so cute.

                    Once I worked for architects who entertained in the office a lot and we had a strict list of what could and could NOT be served and included which sets of china/glass were used.

                    1. re: MMRuth
                      jfood Mar 27, 2008 02:23 PM

                      And in CT there is one old dog that limits the times when red wine is served. Brand new light colored sofa and chairs, a medium gathering, maybe 40 people and jfood only served whites. One cousin came up and asked jfood if there was any red and his reply "nope." Cousin went to the wine cabinet, opened the door and saw lots of empty slots.

                      Motto - Make sure you basement has storage closets. :-))

                      1. re: jfood
                        Catskillgirl Mar 27, 2008 02:46 PM

                        LOL! Very smart move. I now stock only ginger ale or 7-Up when children are coming to my house. Which is not that often, but I learned the hard way after 3 bouts of spilled grape soda on a (formerly) nice cream carpet!

                        1. re: Catskillgirl
                          cackalackie Apr 1, 2008 07:05 PM

                          I preferred to buy a wine-colored sofa instead!

                          1. re: cackalackie
                            hill food Apr 2, 2008 01:01 AM

                            well I'm not sure if pragmatic thought is entirely welcome here (smiley symbol - don't do emoticons)

                      2. re: MMRuth
                        adventuresinbaking Apr 3, 2008 06:45 AM

                        I've had good luck using salt to remove red wine stains (and other red stains) from clothes and I've seen it done on carpets.

                        Take a canister of salt and put a 1/4 inch layer of it across the stain. Wet the salt until it forms a paste and waite for it to dry. When it is dry, vacume or brush it off. The stain should be gone.

                        I've used it to remove red wine and beet stains from my clothes. It seems to work pretty well :)

                        1. re: adventuresinbaking
                          MMRuth Apr 3, 2008 06:47 AM

                          Hmm - not sure about trying it on my wall though ;-) . But I agree, salt has worked well for me on rugs etc.

                2. re: MMRuth
                  farmersdaughter Mar 27, 2008 02:02 PM

                  Me too, but I still have two of the Riedel sommelier burgundy glasses (the huge ones) that my husband gave me for our first Valentine's Day together that the two of us use to drink good aged red burgundy for special meals. I broke one of them while (delicately) washing it, but replaced it unbeknownst to him. I wouldn't use those glasses for parties unless I had no other glasses that were appropriate - for example, the vinium series doesn't have a sauternes glass, IIRC.

                  1. re: farmersdaughter
                    MMRuth Mar 27, 2008 02:04 PM

                    I do still have 4 Chardonnay Sommelier and I do love them. So far none of those have been broken ... do you have that wonderful "foam" brush for cleaning them - if not, I'll post a link ....

                    1. re: MMRuth
                      farmersdaughter Mar 27, 2008 02:20 PM

                      Sigh . . . yes, I do have the foam brush. To my chagrin, I am just too vigorous a washer, I guess, for those Riedel sommeliers. My husband has never broken one wine glass so he gets the unpleasant job of hand washing all of the wine glasses after parties - poor guy, it usually ends up with champagne flutes, white wine glasses, bordeaux or burgundy stems and then occasionally dessert glasses. He loves the brush!

              2. JoanN Mar 27, 2008 01:41 PM

                A good friend of mine, a woman who’s rather well off, had a set of Waterford cut crystal stemware for 16. At a party, a freelance photographer friend broke one of the brandy snifters. He kept insisting he replace it; my friend kept graciously putting him off. He obviously had no idea what something like that costs—and she intended to keep it that way.

                1. p
                  pengcast Mar 27, 2008 02:19 PM

                  Its funny, I was thinking about what I would do if I were to break one of my now 'out of production' wine glasses as I was setting the table for dinner on Saturday. I love my crystal stemware but it is impossible to find anywhere. I buy every piece that comes up on Ebay.

                  As I was sitting having my third glass of red at my table of dear friends enjoying a great evening, I realized the answer was 'I would just clean up the mess and not let it ruin a great evening.'

                  And if my friend offered to buy another, I would turn them down because it would be impossible to find -- but not as impossible as good friends whose presence can brighten a cold still-wintery night.

                  If I broke a glass of course I would offer to replace it. And if I knew where it could be found I probably would try to buy one. But not everyone really cares about things like that so it is hard to say.

                  1. Veggo Mar 27, 2008 02:41 PM

                    I think the most discreet approach would be to inquire as to the pattern or name, with no additional verbiage, and attempt to replace the item throught the various sources available. A verbalized offer to pay or replace will be declined by a curteous host, but there almost has to be a muffled "growl factor" in pardoning the clumsy guest. Just do it, get a replacement.
                    I am surprised/impressed to learn from this post that there are so many others who do not serve red wine when entertaining at home, for the reasons cited. I have off-white carpets in most of my house, and light tile in the remainder. I only allow red wine in the tiled areas. (The Scotchguard on the upholstered furniture works amazingly well). And for certain guests with checkered histories, reds are stowed away.

                    1. s
                      swissgirl Mar 27, 2008 03:00 PM

                      I broke a wine glass at my aunt's house. I could tell she was crushed it broke but she of course declined to "let" me replace it. I asked a cousin to find out the pattern, bought a replacement and gave it as a birthday gift (along with another present) on her next birthday. It was an accident but I've been in situations where I have not replaced an item I accidentally broke and this time, felt best about replacing the item.

                      1. n
                        Nicole Mar 27, 2008 06:09 PM

                        Yes, you should offer to replace it. But if that's not possible don't worry about it too much, accidents happen.

                        1. im_nomad Mar 27, 2008 06:39 PM

                          I think if you risk laying something out on the table for guests, you have to be somewhat prepared that someone might break something...it happens. So if you have "special" or sentimental wine glasses, save those for special occasions perhaps, and have some standard but beautiful glasses on hand for guests that are replaceable, and better yet for parties where people might get a little rowdy. It's not so much about cost for me, but sentimentality . I still have my first set of wine glasses that are delicate, and i use them infrequently. They don't tend to come out at parties, even though they probably didn't cost much, but i'm attached to them. I also have some "manly" wine goblets on hand that are less delicate for a larger hand.

                          I've had guests (and myself) splatter red wine across a room, and spill beer on my new couch...no biggie really. I have no white carpeting or couches (on a side note i have a friend who does and I can't relax in that area of her home for fear i'll dribble, even though she says, come on in). And i live in my house, as opposed to admiring it from afar.

                          I have, as another poster mentioned, put away some of the wines, but not for spillage reasons. Late night party-people tend to pillage the liquor cabinet and wine rack freely...which i don't mind...but I have set aside the rarer wines and stocked the wine rack with fillers before during such parties.

                          If i knew i had broken a piece of someone's wedding pattern or the like however, i'd most definitly offer to replace it. And even if they declined, i might do as another poster mentioned, track it down and give it as the next hostess gift or something.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: im_nomad
                            hill food Mar 28, 2008 12:45 AM

                            I too liked the 3rd party (via cousin) method of tracking down the demurred replacement.

                            classic strategy re: stowing, never put it all out at once. keep it flowing, but always let people think they will have plenty but just maybe there's only a few snorts or nibbles left.

                            I have a largely light/white living space, but frankly I don't give a crap if things are spilled - this is why the good lord invented oxyclean, right?

                            or oxycontin if we just want to just ignore it.

                          2. Stephanie Wong Mar 27, 2008 11:32 PM

                            If you find that the particular pattern is out of production, you could try contacting Replacements. My boss finished his wife's stemware with their help. Their website is:


                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Stephanie Wong
                              jfood Mar 28, 2008 03:48 AM


                              This is a very good web site for replacement, but in jfood's experience they are VERY expensive. Jfood has a difficult pattern and he has found them on Ebay for half the price if not less. Sometimes they have them and sometimes they don't but it is definitely worth a look.

                              1. re: jfood
                                MMRuth Mar 28, 2008 04:18 AM

                                The only prices there that I think are reasonable are for sterling Christofle - about half the price I've seen elsewhere. My mother has been buying me some used pieces and they look like they are brand new.

                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  jfood Mar 29, 2008 07:04 AM

                                  Christofle? Never would have thought to look there.

                                  MM - you are a wealth of info. Mrs Jfood thanks you on this one as well.

                                  1. re: jfood
                                    MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 08:00 AM

                                    They also - and I had some trepidation - make pieces - i.e., my mother sent me a steak knife for my birthday - a legitimate Christofle knife handle, with a steak knife attached. Looks beautiful and works well.

                            2. Aimi Mar 28, 2008 12:17 PM

                              Thanks for all of the suggestions. I go their house often, so next time I am there, I will snap a photo of the china cabinet and then try to match the pattern for a replacement. I may go for the gift card idea if I can't match it.

                              1. m
                                MrsT Mar 29, 2008 02:07 PM

                                I would offer to replace the item. I know that Lenox has a replacement program that gives you 50% on replacing any broken glasses as long as you registered the items with them. I don't know if Riedel has a similar program.

                                1. Pool Boy Apr 2, 2008 06:40 PM

                                  Accidents happen.


                                  1. Azizeh Barjesteh Apr 2, 2008 08:41 PM

                                    I definitely agree that you should offer to replace it. But, of course is there really a gracious way to allow someone to replace something? On that note, would any of you be offended if your host took you up on the offer and told you to replace something?
                                    Fortunately, I only break my own stuff so this has never come up!

                                    1. psb Apr 3, 2008 06:26 AM

                                      I think the way this is suposed to unfold is as follows:
                                      --you inquire 2 times about the replacement [i like the mephistophelean
                                      ask three times, but that might be excessive, unless you squeeze two
                                      requests into into one conversation]

                                      --the host turns you down each time

                                      but that is just kabuki ... i think now you HAVE to do something ...

                                      --if you can replace it VERY FAST, you can do so
                                      but in case you cant or arent sure you will execute
                                      the replacement correctly, you get them some
                                      random gift ... i mean you do know they drink wine ...
                                      so just giving them a nice bottle with the note "at least
                                      let me replace the wine" seems like a no brainer.

                                      [obviously with wine -> carpet, replacement not an option,
                                      but i'd do something there too.]

                                      i'm not sure i understand the "accidents happen" school
                                      of thought. i think the hypothetical as stated is pretty easy.

                                      harder case: you bring a guest [adult] and they break the wine glass.

                                      harder case: you are asked to do something, say help in some cooking
                                      or other technical task and you screw up something causing minor damage ...
                                      say scratching some non-stick pan, or somebody who doesnt know how
                                      to treat knives slightly damages [short of "ruin"] one of you high end knives
                                      [this has happened to me ... but this was not somebody who had "permission"
                                      to use my knives ... long story] maybe there are some more variables there ...
                                      in general, i think the partial damage cases are tougher than shattered glass.
                                      again i think this is a fairly simple case ... you feel awful and what $20 makes
                                      the feeling go away by 75%?

                                      i also think your relationship with the person affects your options, i.e.
                                      whether you have a "thick" or "thin" relationship with them ... with a
                                      thick relationship, it's simple and there are many options ... you go out
                                      to dinner and when the check comes you "spring" it on them
                                      "i still feel bad about episode X ... so for the sake of my karma, dinner's
                                      on me" etc.

                                      1. e
                                        EmilyE Apr 3, 2008 06:27 AM

                                        I think this is all good advice.

                                        I just thought I would share my strategy...luckily, I live pretty close to the Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez wineries and go to tastings pretty regularly. I always take home the winery glasses and use those when entertaining. They're free/cheap and provide nice conversation point, "oh, what wines were good at that winery?" And sometimes, if I'm stocked up, I can serve their wines in their glasses.

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