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Question ?? size of a glass wine pour

Ate at a restaurant that gets good feedback on the board yesterday. Sat at the bar which was the experience i was looking for .. which at the moment i will leave nameless... the food was excellent but the pour of a glass of wine was minuscule which to be blunt pissed me off and in my humble opinion gave me a negative view of my dinning experience.
When getting such a small pour (for a regular price) how do you handle this and does that part of the dining equation impact your overall experience from that restaurant?

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  1. i use the general rule that a good pour is 1/5 - 1/4 bottle, so about 150 - 180 ml. anything less seems insulting, especially if you're paying $12+/glass. Ms. Coasts and I usually order by the bottle, so it's not an issue, but i have looked around at others before ordering by the glass. if the pour is minuscule, as you say, i'll pass and order something else.

    1. Agree with coasts that a 5 or 6 oz pour seems normal. Berns in Florida has varied sizes depending on the wine and it's category, even down to 1.5 oz, but they always tell you exactly what you are getting. To give you a short pour unwarned is rather cheesy

      1. Wine by the glass is rarely a good deal. A normal pour is 4 ounces. Anything less would be very stingy, 5 or 6 would be generous. Since the price of a glass is typically 1/4 that of a bottle, it is always more economical to buy a bottle if you will be having 4 or more glasses, unless you want to try several different wines.

        15 Replies
        1. re: rrems

          true, wine by the glass is rarely a good deal by the numbers...but pretty often, especially if i'm having dinner at the bar, the bartender will give the third glass for free, plus very liberal quarter-glass tastes of various things...granted, it's expected that you tip a little bit more as a thank you, but in my personal experience it often ends up far cheaper than ordering a bottle...

          1. re: Simon

            I'd fire my bartenders if they were screwing up my wine cost doing that.

            1. re: invinotheresverde

              invinotheresverde, many restaurant owners actually encourage this practice (to an extent) as a way of tipping their own bartenders, since the customer always tips more in these situations, and it also generally contributes to a convivial atmosphere where the customer is likely to return, w/ friends, and/or stay longer and order more food, digestifs, etc...

              1. re: Simon

                It's either sanctioned or it's not.

                1. re: Simon

                  I know many, many restaurant owners......and not one encourages what you suggest.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    it's quite common...it's called a buyback...

                    1. re: Simon

                      Much more common with beer, but regardless, good customers are often taken care of, and owners know. There are even codes in POS systems specifically for this.

                      1. re: Simon

                        the last buyback i got in new york was probably around 1997. you used to get them all the time though.

                        1. re: psawce

                          Huh. The last buyback I got in New York was this past Thursday. Which makes me wonder what I did wrong on Saturday. Harrumph.

                        2. re: Simon

                          Nowhere NEAR as common as you think, and illegal in some jurisdictions.

                      2. re: Simon

                        I'm not above sliding a regular a complimentary glass of wine every once in a while, but no one is getting every third glass for free. My barstaff would catch holy hell and heads would roll.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          This topic originated on the manhattan board, so I guess many New Yorkers are following it. I agree with smallh that it's quite common to be comped on your third or fourth drink.

                          1. re: coasts

                            Ahh. I've heard it's common In NYC. It's definitely not in Boston.

                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              It is common to buyback or 4th or 5th drink...and yes usually it is on Beer or Liquor(usually in shots) as wine is far too expensive cost by glass ranging from $2-$6 cost to the owner per glass. No one seems to realize that you are not just paying for whats in the wine glass....you are also paying for the GLASS itsself...the bartender who poured it and the server who served it to you as well as the busboy who had to clean it off the tabe to the actually dishwasher who has to actually clean it among the many other costs that there are in the restaurant business. I love how the one person responded by saying "typically it is a 5oz pour so there are 6 glasses to a bottle" lol. Do not even know how many ounces there are in bottle of wine and making comments.

                  2. re: rrems

                    Most that I encounter have been 4 - 6 oz. In the stemware that most restaurants that I frequent, that is about 1/3 - 1/2 a "glass," but that is what I want.

                    If they serve in a mini-carafe, I most often ask the server to NOT pour the entire portion, as I want some room in my glass.


                  3. i was dining solo so ordering a bottle was not an option

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: muskie

                      How small were the pours? 3 oz?

                      1. re: muskie

                        When dining solo, half bottles are a good option (if a restaurant has them).

                        1. re: muskie

                          Perhaps regretfully, tonight at Gagnaire in Paris did just that.

                          1. This is a pet peeve of mine... particularly when ti happens at a wine bar. A strict glass is 6 to a bottle so roughly 5 oz.... Have a look around to see the glasses the use and how they pour... order appropriately. More often than not the pours especially at the bar are liberal... moreso than they might be at the tables.

                            Last week had dinner at "What Happens When" waited 30 minutes for my 8:30 rez, they comped the first glasses and the bartender kept giving us tastes of cocktails. Then the 2nd glasses with dinner were poured as if they were water glasses. Food was pretty good too... I like it when a place does the right thing. (and to cap the night off, the cabbie screwed up on the way home and turned off the meter without me arguing any point (I gave him the same as it cost on the way there... he shouldn't be penalized for doing the right thing))

                            What Happens When
                            25 Cleveland Pl, New York, NY 10012

                            1. Depending on the restaurant and bottle of wine a taste could be anywhere from 1-3 oz. Typically a glass is 5 oz. perhaps a little under. Next time, instead of being pissed off, question the server to get some feedback

                              1. Ate at the bar last night at Veritas on East 20th. Very generous pour of a St. Emilion Bordeaux. Very gracious service. Highly recommend. Plus not too many places in the city where you are going to get a good St. Emilion by the glass.

                                I also liked that you had the choice of ordering from the regular menu or from a more casual bar menu at Veritas. The same delicious bread and butter as the main dining room, including a very nice brioche. I found the experience vastly superior to the hyped Bar Modern. Better food choices, vastly superior selection of wines by the glass and I thought the bread and butter served at Bar Modern were mediocre (and the butter served too cold). Basically, I felt Bar Modern was a factory and Veritas intimate and friendly.

                                43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                                1. Where I am, wine is usually served as a 125ml measure and occasionally available also as a 175ml purchase. .

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Harters

                                    I wish we had the UK system, too. In Scotland, we ordered by the 150 ml or 250 ml. So much easier.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      personally i hate the UK system...while it does make things uniform, there is something about the careful measuring that seems to destroy the conviviality of wine drinking, like the bar is being miserly about every last drop...i even feel a little embarassed for the bartenders there watching them pour wine like h.s. science students...

                                      1. re: Simon

                                        I've never ordered from a bar, only a restaurant. I didn't realize they were that accurate with their pours. I thought they'd know, given the size of their wine glasses how much to pour.

                                  2. My understanding is that a pour of wine is 5oz (about five per bottle) - these days I think they are bigger - about four per bottle. I've never heard of 6 glasses per bottle in a restaurant - at home, yes...

                                    It sure does feel nice when you get a nice pour and they bring it in one of those little mini carafes and you can pour the rest yourself - it might be the same amount, but it feels like more - I had this at Miailino - I think it was officially a glass and a half - which I shared with my Mother and still had plenty.

                                    1. I've handled it by asking at the time it is served, "How many ounces do you regularly give in a glass?" If they don't know, or have to check with the bar and come back with an answer of say, "5 ounces," I will just retort that, "That doesn't seem to be 5 ounces to me." They've always accommodated me.

                                      However, I never order more than one glass of wine with my meal, so I don't want to be cut off short.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: Rella

                                        i am guessing 3 Ounces as i never really measured what a 3 oz glass of wine looks like but i do know what a "small" pour looks likes. I agree half bottle would have been the solution. I just felt that by pouring such a small amount of wine for a glass pour it devalued the overall experience. I will not go back there for just this reason

                                        1. re: muskie

                                          If the food was excellent, would you consider giving it another try with a guest so you could order a bottle of wine?

                                          1. re: escondido123

                                            No i would not my $'s are too hard earned and i feel a place that treats you that way makes you for a fool, as they where quick to ask if i wanted a second glass

                                            1. re: muskie

                                              And did you take that opportunity to say "Not if it's as stingy as the first"?

                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                did not at that point i was pissed and thinking what a rip

                                                1. re: muskie

                                                  I see you live in Manhattan, I guess you can always find another good place. Wish I had your kind of options.

                                                  1. re: muskie

                                                    Muskie, hopefully this will make you smile. In 1995 I took my 96 year old great grandmother to lunch at a Cajun restaurant. She ordered a margarita and I ordered a soda being under age. The waitress asked me if she was "allowed" to have the alcohol and I answered yes since she was buying lunch. When served she received a small half a glass of margarita. When the waitress checked back in later in the meal my GGM didn't miss a beat by asking for her "other half" of her margarita. She brought another one right over and got the point. We still have a family joke about asking for the other half when someone gets shorted.

                                            2. re: muskie

                                              Yes............ 3 ounces would be a very small glass by any measure, unless the price was adjusted accordingly. Having poured tastes and glasses for years I must suggest that the size of the glass has a lot to do with your impression of the amount you receive. Could there be something in that?

                                              It's always difficult to revisit these things via memory but also not all that easy to ask that it be explained or measured when served. But your post is not discerning whether this was the standard pour or possibly just a mistake. It just sounds a bit harsh to write off a good restaurant because of something you could have gone into rather easily at the time with your server.

                                              1. re: muskie

                                                In the last 6 months or so, I decided to see what a 5 ounce pour looks like. Since I love wine glasses and have plenty, but recently I've collected a few Reidels and just recently a bargain 4-glass set of Bordeaux wine glasses at Wegmans.

                                                I've done this out of curiousity as I've been asked numerous times by doctors "how many glasses of wine do you drink a week?" one of their standard questions. Also reading about the French and their consumption of wine vs. heart attacks creates an interest in "How much is in a glass of wine."

                                                Now I feel pretty confident in sizing up just how much wine I did get and don't feel shy about asking about it if I feel it isn't up to standard.

                                                There is one chain restaurant I go to a couple of times a year that ALWAYS gives a good pour! I always get their house wine and it is always good value even without the good-sized pour.

                                            3. Here is the San Francisco Chronicle's food critic's take:

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: nocharge

                                                thanks for this but even the glass size i would have considered standard

                                                1. re: muskie

                                                  So What Was The Glass Of Wine You Ordered And Where From. I Think That Might Put This In Better Perspective.

                                                  1. re: muskie

                                                    I had a funny experience once, when I received the worlds smallest pour. I'm pretty sure I know what happened. I suspect the waiter/bartender had been schooled in the fact that when you serve wine in a big, balloon shaped burgandy glass, you just bring the wine up to the wide part of the bowl. Except, that this balloon shaped glass was of the old-fashioned Italian restaurant size...very small. So when he poured that little puddle of wine in the botton of the bowl, it was about 2 ounces.

                                                    Conversely, I had a waitress once who was new. When she went over to the bar and poured my glass, I watched it glug glug glug into a nice big Bordeaux glass...just about to the rim. I'd say she poured in half the bottle. Unfortunately, it was lunchtime....

                                                2. OK, so coming into the discussion purely on the basis of the topic...Ya ll mean, unlike straight up shots, a wine pour has NO standard.? You gets what they wanna pour you?

                                                  Geesh I mean, w e know about cheater shots and cheater pints, you folks have no standards, at all, that anyone can point to?
                                                  Wow. just wow. I can smell that special bouquet from here.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Quine

                                                    Well............you're right................. the 'standard' is "a glass", and glasses vary all over the place in size. But we all know that bartenders vary widely in how much of the actual spirit they put in mixed drinks and wine 'glasses' are the same. Next time one of us should try ordering "five shots" of wine and see what happens. ;o)

                                                    OTOH some winebars do use measured pourers but I've only seen them when it's a flight of different wine 'tastes' being served. Often that's a function of state licensing laws.

                                                  2. In the UK a glass of wine is bought by size - 125, 175 or 250ml. It is measured, usually (99% of the time) accurately - but ocasionally the pourer is generous.
                                                    How are you supposed to know how much you have had to drink if you don't know how big the glass is? And how can you judge price if you don't know what you'll be getting?

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: Peg

                                                      This has nothing to do with price but the size of the pour

                                                      1. re: muskie

                                                        I think Peg is making the point that, for those of us who live in parts of the world where a bought glass of wine is a specific amount, she finds it odd that there are parts of the world where this isnt the case. I would entirely agree with her - the issue you raise of feeling ripped off, in the OP, simply wouldnt occur here.

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          I'd never thought of that, Harters, but at the same time so little is standardized here in the US - very much including the price of a glass - that none of us is surprised much by how much wine we get for how much money, unless we've paid more than we usually do and get a drop in a thimble.

                                                          Something I encountered in a popular (if not top-grade) wine-making locale south of Los Angeles was a number of wine bars and restaurants that advertised the size of their pours. The best glass I'd had after a day of travelling and tasting was a zinfandel from another part of California, an advertised eight ounces in a generously sized balloon glass for just $12. That's basically what I serve myself at home, and the wine and the quantity were both quite pleasing.

                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                            i live in boston and am seeing more and more places offering pours of various amounts. great idea.

                                                            also more common are etched wine glasses so the server can see where to end the pour. over-pouring is a killer to wine costs. it also eliminates the potential for a guest feeling shorted.

                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                              We've only felt ripped off once in America, Will. Restaurant in upstate New York. My wife ordered a glass of wine and it came as the proverbial thimble.

                                                              We've become used to how expensive wine can be on the western side of the Pond. It certainly moderates my wife's booze consumption (I don't drink these days)

                                                      2. Wine by the glass is usually a rip.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: beevod

                                                          I saw a glass of wine cost of $8 last week. The bottle at the same restaurant was asking $30. The same wine, same year, etc. $7.99, the same day at Costco.

                                                          If there is a party of two, usually, and only one drinks wine, then it usually doesn't pay to buy a bottle, whether there is a disparity in 5x4 or not.

                                                          Of course, if there is a party of 4 and each has a glass, then it would be more, or as reasonable, I suppose.

                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                            Well, if that same bottle were sold at a 'regular' wine shop it would probably be sold at more like $10-$12 (given Costco's very low markup structure and their volume purchasing). That is.................... until the shop owner found out it was at Costco for so much less, then he'd stop carrying it. 2.5 to 3 times 'normal' retail is not all that high in many restaurants.

                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                              It is my understanding that with wines by the glass, many restaurants try to recoup the cost of the entire bottle from a single glass.

                                                              Although I hated my lunch experience last week at Bar Modern in New York City, I appreciated that the Boxler Grand Cru Pinot Gris was only $28 a glass and not the $51 to $75 a bottle that the wine retails for (although I guess nobody is going to pay $51 for a glass of wine).

                                                              1. re: omotosando

                                                                Just for a point, the wine is at Woodland Hills north of LA for $ 29/bottle

                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                  I should have specified that it was the 2004 Boxler Grand Cru Pinot Gris. I checked on wine-searcher.com and the 2004 was only available in two locations ranging from $51 to $75. I order a lot from Woodland Hills Wine Company and I see they have the 2008 for $31.99. Off topic, but interesting whether the 2004 is worth a $20 or more premium over the 2008, especially since Pinot Gris is not known as a wine for aging.

                                                            2. re: Rella

                                                              In the days when I drank alcohol, we would always order a bottle of wine between the two of us. Nowadays, Mrs H orders either a half bottle (assuming that the restaurant offers a decent selection and it fits with her food choices), or two or three glasses (to better match the food).

                                                              Mark-up on individual glasses is certainly high and I wouldnt be surprised to hear that a place was recouping full wholesale cost of the bottle in a single glass - not least as single glasses tend to be from budget ranges of wine. That said, one local place (where the owner prides himself on his wine list), will serve a single glass from any bottle on its list. It charges at one fifth of bottle price which is very reasonable considering the usual six glasses per bottle.

                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                interesting that the bottle was a little cheaper than four glasses - 4 x 8 is $32, because we have noticed a few restaurants in S Fl where the wine is NOT cheaper by the bottle and is sometimes more expensive that buying 4 glasses. You'd think a bottle would be cheaper than 4 glasses to give an incentive to buy the whole bottle.

                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                  Seems like an exception. Based on my experience at least.

                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                    They're most likely using a 4 or 5 ounce pour, which would mean there are 5 or 6 glasses per bottle, not 4.

                                                              2. I live in Utah, so even if the restaurant isn't shorting you, the pour will still be small. The only way to combat this is to order by the bottle or bring your own and pay corkage. This isn't all bad, though. Usually when I get it by the glass the previously-opened bottle hasn't been vacuum-sealed and is starting to taste funky. I've also been given a tiny glass filled to the top--which I appreciate--which leaves no room for swirling, etc. If you order a bottle, you may drink as much as you like and fill the glass however you like.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: OnBlank

                                                                  What is a normal corkage fee?

                                                                  I've only been one place where I've been able to use this situation - In Montreal. It was nice in that "conveniently" a "liquor" store was immediately next door.

                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                    We usually see $15-20. The state controls all liquor sales so there is little we can have by way of sales or promotions on actual booze but many restaurants will use the corkage fee as a promotion, like a newspaper coupon for "$5 corkage."

                                                                    1. re: OnBlank

                                                                      In Los Angeles, normal corkage at an upscale restaurant is $35. Lower at less upscale restaurants. One restaurant is charging $50 corkage, but I think that is mostly a way of discouraging you from bringing your own.

                                                                  2. re: OnBlank

                                                                    Ordering by the bottle is not a good option when you are alone or with someone who doesn't drink.

                                                                    1. re: omotosando

                                                                      Or, if you want a different type of wine with appetizer, dinner and/or dessert. My husband and I rarely/never order the same food and want different types of wine to accompany our meal. It's not cost effective but it maximizes our enjoyment of dinner. Plus, it lets us sample different types of wine. I can't remember the last time we ordered a bottle.

                                                                  3. May have just set a world record. 2.5 oz pour of a $15 bottle of wine cost me, TaDa, 25 euros, at current exchange rate, $ 36 at a Michelin *** in Paris.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger


                                                                      Last week I was eating three course meals in France for €25!

                                                                      Not 3* of course.

                                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                        I notice on the Carrabba's wine list (online) they list price of wine by Glass, Quartino, and Pitcher. Listed similarly thus for a Pinot Grigio, Santa Margherita, Italy: Glass 10.5/quartino 15/Bottle 41.

                                                                        One of their wine is listed "Glass 6/Quartino9/Pitcher23"

                                                                        I haven't seen "quartino" before. I guess their glass and pitcher amount is what they determine, but I wonder what quartino might be.

                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                          A quartino is 250 ml or a quarter of a liter. Usually served in a small carafe and you pour for yourself. It's enough to share with two people if you just want a small portion of the wine. It's nice you and your dining companion want to try more than one wine.

                                                                      2. As far as the size goes, Otto in NYC is very generous with alcohol.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                          Otto and other Batali/Bastianich restaurants tend to serve wine by the quartino, which is 250ml, or 1/3 of a bottle. This is a larger pour than any glass of wine that you'll likely find.

                                                                          As to the value I suspect it's better than at most places, if only because the value at Batali's restaurants tend to be good values. But not because of the size of the serving.

                                                                          1. re: tommy

                                                                            If you get a small pour it gets very, very awkward to ask the server about it. You are basically accusing them of screwing you. Hard to find a polite way to do this.

                                                                            I was in a place recently that offered 4 oz. or 6 oz. pours. My wife and I each ordered the 6 oz. but found that with those sizes being so close, it was hard to tell if we actually got the larger size we ordered, or just the 4 oz. They are each "approximately" what I would eyeball a glass of wine to be.

                                                                            We felt there was a good chance that they poured 4 oz. by mistake but still charged us for 6 oz. Nothing we could do about it short of getting out a measuring cup.

                                                                            1. re: egon61

                                                                              One of the major chains - maybe Ruby Tuesdays - offers
                                                                              a choice of 5 or 8 oz pours, IIRC. Only there once with a
                                                                              group so not totally sure.

                                                                              Some places will let you take an unfinished, open bottle
                                                                              with you. Seems to depend on local liquor laws and
                                                                              management policy

                                                                        2. was at a fancy restaurant for lunch a few weeks ago where both my husband and I ordered a glass of wine which costed about $20 each. The server poured a smaller amount in my glass than my husband's....I noticed right away but it was just too silly to say something..so I let it go and said to my husband, I just lost 5 bucks.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                                            i can't tell you how many times after i order wine the server returns and then presents the bottle to my b/f for approval. gah. the sexism kills me and is such a dumbass move on the server's part.

                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                              Yes that is a mistake on the servers part and is attributed to poor training....whoever orders the bottle is the person who the bottle is presented to as well as the person who should be asked to try the wine

                                                                              1. re: HateWannabeCritics

                                                                                i work as a sommelier. if i didn't know the proper steps of service here, i wouldn't be complaining would i? ;)

                                                                                btw, this ONLY happens when i am dining with a male. if just with girlfriends, the bottle is always brought to me. it has happened with servers of each gender and across the age spectrum.

                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                  Lol well...most of the people who complain online and blog are people who just like to feel like a critic hence my name lol. People go to a place and have a bad or subpar experience and they cant wait to go online to gripe to others what a bad experience they had..meanwhile it was one experience and more likely they were wrong about what happened as to the stupid old saying "the customer is always right" as we all know its really the customer is right..when they ARE right, but in this business you have to eat alot of $hit from people.

                                                                                  1. re: HateWannabeCritics

                                                                                    With the diverse backgrounds of posters here, and many with a great deal of experience in food/wine fields, you'll probably want to dial back on your presumptions in that area until you've had more time to evaluate. Just sayin'. This is not Yelp! ;o)

                                                                              2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                Hotoy, what you might try doing when you order the wine is to ask the server some fairly detailed questions about the wine so that it is obvious that you have sommelier knowledge. Then, if the server still blunders and shows the bottle to your b/f then say "hey, I was hoping to see that..."

                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                  lol, i feel no need to prove my street cred. if the server can't perform basic steps of service, it's not my issue. i don't find it offensive, but quite ignorant.

                                                                                2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                  The setting: my sister's and BIL's wedding dinner @ the "nice restaurant" in The Excalibur in Las Vegas about 17-18 years ago (said restaurant no longer there).

                                                                                  I ordered the bottle of white, my brother ordered the red. I fully expected my brother to get the full treatment and for me to be ignored.

                                                                                  The waiter returned with both bottles and showed me the bottle of white, and poured me the sample to taste. He showed my brother the red and decanted it and placed it near him and came back a bit later to pour the red - first for my brother to taste and then for whoever else wanted red.

                                                                                  My brother and I just looked at each other after the waiter stepped away and we both said quietly "Big tip!"