Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jul 27, 2009 02:34 PM

My glass of wine came from open countainer in refrigerator

Had dinner at a local restaurant which is owned by a well- known chef. Sat at the bar. When I ordered a glass of chardonnay, the bar tender opened a bar refrigerator, which happened to be right in front of me, and took our a small glass carafe of white wine and served it to me.
This restaurant puts all orders for a glass of wine in a small glass carafe and pours it from there. The carafe is wide open at the top. I was astonished. I asked the bartender how long the wne had been sitting in the open carafe in the refrigerator- she said only about 20 min- that it was the leftover from an opened bottle and they put it in the carafe "for convenience." I said it was ok but she was very nice and took it away and poured my wine from a bottle.
What do you think??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't understand what the problem would be.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      If left too long, it picks up food odors. My favorite Chinese restaurant does this. I order Tsingtao now and don't take that chance.

      1. re: Gail

        food odors in a bar fridge? I don't see the issue either, assuming it's not being left there for hours and hours or overnight.

        1. re: DGresh

          Yes, I was assuming it had been there too long. Perhaps that "assuming" thing kicked in here.

          1. re: Gail

            sometimes when I order a glass of red wine at a bar it can taste a little odd. I wonder how long some bottles are open on a bar before they get used up especially if the wine is not ordered very often.

            1. re: smartie

              That's what happens at my Chinese restaurant. Since they don't have a bar, I wonder if it is kept with the refrigerated food. And, as you say, it isn't often ordered.

      2. re: Ruth Lafler

        Agreed. As long as it pours quickly there shouldn't be an issue. Which is usually the case with house chardonnays.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          The problem would be if it was left for hours- that is why I asked how long it had been there.

          1. re: emilief

            Did you taste it before rejecting it? I would have been at least willing to do that. If it was "off" then you certainly would be entitled to a fresh pour.

        2. Wine B-T-G service can be all over the place. The handling of the bottles, and the treatment of the wines can range from reverent to sacrilegious.

          Now, what you describe, provided that the server was shooting straight is not really a bad thing. Many white wines, especially some bigger FR Chards, are much better when they have been "caraffed." Think "decanting, but of a white wine. With bigger Chards, this does allow the wine to "breath" a bit. Depending on the exact wine, it could have "opened up," or perhaps gone flat.

          A taste of this wine would have been my suggestion. It could actually have been better than the freshly poured Chard.

          Just some observations,


          1. If you guys who say I should have tasted it before I rejected it- read my post, I said it was "ok" after she told me it had been poured only 20 minutes ago. I did not reject it- she just insisted on giving me a glass from the bottle.

            3 Replies
            1. re: emilief

              I had read "I said it was ok but she was very nice and took it away and poured my wine from a bottle." to mean that you were "ok" with drinking the wine in the carafe, not that you had tasted it and it was "ok"

              1. re: emilief

                Unless it had a "nose" like a carp, or a "finish" like old tilapia, it sounds like a perfectly good glass of wine went down the drain. But you never got that far.

                1. re: Veggo

                  I think he did mean that he *did* taste it - I just misunderstood.

              2. Firstly, I *hate* those little measure-carafes.

                Indeed, wine is a living thing, and even as few as 10 minutes in the refrigerator can change things. Of course, even whites do better after letting them "breathe," but as time goes on, negative changes occur.

                It's really, really unprofessional to offer a customer (who's watching you, no less) a glass of wine from anything but a bottle. In this case, the server *admitted* that they'd poured out the end of a bottle. That means that the wine's been oxidizing for awhile, perhaps *days.* Over-oxidation of red or white wines escalates nasty substances that cause "wine headache" at best and hangovers at worst.

                7 Replies
                1. re: shaogo

                  I think too much is being read into this situation! The server simply said they poured a bottle that had been opened into it out of convenience. We don't know if that bottle had been open 5 seconds or 5 hours. We also don't know if it was "the end" of the bottle or, in fact the bottle had been recently opened for some other patrons BTG order and then the remainder poured into the carafe. If this establishment goes through a lot of this particular wine in a given night, this seems like a prudent and acceptable practice. Really, that wine in a carafe, in a bar fridge(no funky food in there I hope) would be fine for a few hours.......and really, to get that up in arms about a house BTG Chard??? it isn't exactly Opus 1.

                  1. re: nkeane

                    geesh! alot of assumptions here. Who said it was a " house BTG Chard??" I t was not and it was $14. per glass. She said it was the end of a bottle and she also said it ha been poured into the carafe 20 minutes before hand.That is why I said it was ok - that I would take it.

                    1. re: emilief

                      Good point. At that price, the "trust but verify" rule should kick in, and you want to see liquid flowing from a bottle with a label.

                  2. re: shaogo

                    I actually like those carafes - I find one gets a little more wine that way (always a good thing), and if one wants to share a "glass it's a nice way to do it. I think it was in Vancouver that we saw that done at all the restaurants we went to. However, we did see the wine being poured into the little carafe each time.

                    1. re: shaogo

                      "the server *admitted* that they'd poured out the end of a bottle. That means that the wine's been oxidizing for awhile, perhaps *days.*"

                      That's not true at all. You're assuming alot. That bottle could've just been opened, decanted, the bartender could've poured 3 glasses and then the OP ordered hers and it was poured. All within a matter of minutes.

                      I do see your point, however, about ordering a glass of wine and then not seeing it decanted. After all, if I ordered a $20 wine by the glass and the bartender/server pulls out a nameless faceless carafe and pours my wine, who's to say it's not the $7 house swill.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        That could be an issue. Here there is trust. First, the trust of the waitstaff, and then the trust of your palate.

                        Now, I have encountered wines that were not what was being sold to me. That breaks the first level of trust. I have confirmed this and that supports the second level of trust.

                        What exactly happened to the OP will possibly remain untold.


                      2. re: shaogo

                        Whoa! I think that I will disagree on most of your assertions. The mini-carafe is a good way to serve wine, red or white. Now, whether this mini-carafe was a good pour, I cannot say, as i was not there.

                        I greatly appreciate this form of service for B-T-G. Now, what I admonsih the server to NOT do, is empty this mini-carafe into my glass. I can do that, at my pace.

                        With most younger white Burgs, I will carafe (decanting, without the notice of sediment) the wines, prior to serving, and ask that this be done for me.

                        In general terms, I feel that you are damning a common practice.

                        As I do not know the particular wine, and did not taste it, as the OP did, I cannot tell you what I would have done, in the same circumstance. I am only commenting on your comments.


                      3. "it was the leftover from an opened bottle and they put it in the carafe "for convenience." "

                        Why would it be more convenient to put the leftover into a carafe than just leave it in the bottle? Just wondering, I'm pretty lazy and I'd never do that. Was the bar fridge really tiny?

                        I love the little carafes, that way I know I'm not getting a short pour but if I see my wine coming out of the fridge already poured into a litle carafe I'd wonder, too.