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Jan 10, 2012 10:25 AM

Is it appropriate to bring a winemaker's wine to share when going out to dinner with them?

Hello friends,

I recently made acquaintance with a local winemaker, loved her wine and made plans to meet at a mutually-loved restaurant for dinner. I am younger, she is much older. I'd love to bring a bottle of wine to share at dinner, but not sure if it's a nice gesture or tacky to bring the winemaker's own wine! Any etiquette tips are much appreciated!


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  1. If it's an older example, one the winemaker might not have much of left, I'm sure she'd appreciate the opportunity to check in on it without going into her own stash. I've had plenty of dinners with French winemakers where people brought their bottles and they were appreciative of a chance to check their development and talk about the vintage conditions. I wouldn't bring a current release.

    1. I have to agree with craig_g. Short story. I was at dinner with Mark Neal of Neal Family Vineyards. Because I didn't think it was appropriate to bring one of his wines I didn't. I told him that I had considered bringing a bottle of his Chard, but didn't for the reason mentioned. His wife leaned over and said, "I wish you had, we don't have any left." A few years later I again had dinner with Mark, this time I brought the bottle of Chard and we enjoyed it immensely. As it turns out there were only 4 bottles of the Chard left in the DC area.

      1. While i appreciate the situations described by craig_g and dinwiddie, i would only do so if you happen to have something particularly old and uncommon from that winemaker...

        Me, i'd prob bring a bottle of something interesting that the winemaker might have not enjoyed recently (but not something from a local competitor) and which suits the food of the restaurant you are going to...for example, a Napa winemaker specializing in pinot noir might enjoy some Burgundy for a change if you happen to have a nice bottle...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Simon

          I agree with Simon -- current stuff would get boring, I'd think -- we know a couple of winemakers who end up drinking their own production when it's something that they can't/won't sell for whatever reason (might not be an AOC in an AOC region...several bottles left over, but not enough to run the bottling equipment...drinkable but not great)

          an old or special bottle might be a nice memory for them-- but the vintners we know are really, really interested in tasting things from other regions.

        2. IMO, bring something you like very much that is different from what the winemaker is doing.

          2 Replies
            1. re: RCC

              +2 When my husband owned a wine distributorship in VA, and CA winemakers came to call, they loved the European wines he pulled from his cellar. Tasting one's own wine was often tantamount to "work" when on the road, even if the social events were also with friends, is what I recall them saying. Tasting others' wines, particularly older or from a different country, was a treat, and put the focus on the wine, not the maker.

          1. Seems you have a *nice* dilemma to deal with. Just a couple of thoughts -
            "....a bottle of wine to share at dinner...." Me? one bottle ain't getting past apps, so 2 bottles wouldn't be a stretch. Why not have your cake and eat it too?
            Bring a wine you find interesting AND a bottle of hers. Display them both, say something stupid like "I really love your wine and thought about having it during dinner with you...ahhh, I also like this style of wine and thought about sharing it with you as well...I couldn't decide, it was tearing me apart, I even went on-line to ask advice for this dilemma, so I brought them both. What do you figure we open first?"
            I would think that with a "much older" woman, you'd have more lattitude in etiquette to begin with. In other words, don't worry about it TOO much, everything will be fine one way or another.

            One other thing, YOU MUST REPORT BACK and let us know how it went!