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Is the second pour always larger than the first?

Why buying wine by the glass at moderate-price restaurants, I've noticed that the second glass is more generous than the first, even when I switch wines. Is this a common practice or am I just experiencing a happy anomaly?

Also, when I host a casual gathering, why do I always end up with more wine than I served? (Not complaining of course, but I do feel a bit guilty profiting from a party!) Does this happen to others?

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  1. Not sure how you end up with more wine. I wish I had that problem. As far as receiving a larger pour on the second time, there could be a lot of reasons: good tipping, friendly conversation, emptying the end of the bottle, or just not paying attention. I doubt its intentional unless you are tipping well by the round.

    1 Reply
    1. re: primebeefisgood

      "Not sure how you end up with more wine. I wish I had that problem."

      I took this to mean that the OP receives bottles of wine from guests to the point that by the time the party is over, these gifts have outnumbered the amount of bottles served. Or something like that.

    2. Interesting observation! never noticed, but I'll start paying attention...

      At first I thought you might be talking about self-pours (such as in BYOB), and in that case I think that successive pours do tend to be larger, b/c the person pouring tends to be a little more inebriated with each pour... (check out my 3rd or 4th rum and coke pour, for example)... but that wouldn't explain why a server's pour would be larger...

      Curious... what do you find the trend in subsequent pours (3rd, 4th, and so on)... to be from your observations?

      1. Establishments typically have a standard pour (i.e. 5 oz) but some places allow the staff more leeway than others. I've never noticed the phenomenon you mentioned and is not an industry standard. But good for you if you have someone pouring generously.

        3 Replies
        1. re: lynnlato

          I've noticed this in a bunch of places in the Boston area, from chains like Bertucci's to independent ethnic places. And to answer Tombstone's question, the 3rd pour is usually the same as the 2nd. Both are more generous than the first. Haven't made it to a 4th yet, but if I do, I'll have an answer!

          1. re: Isolda

            Maybe it's a common practice in Boston or regionally in MA? I've worked in many restaurants over the years and it's not a practice I am familiar with. It would seem that they would be opening themselves up to criticism from guests who only buy one glass of wine (not to mention the liability and
            the Liquor Control Board issues that might arise). Of course there are bartenders who give an extra splash to big tippers or regulars but I haven't heard of a "2nd glass extra splash" general rule.

            1. re: Isolda

              +1 and have not gone for the 4th glass either, Not YET anyway.
              And yes I live in Boston.

          2. Is this the corollary to "The Girls Always Look Better at Closing Time?"

            1 Reply
            1. re: collioure

              I am wondering the same thing.

              I have not observed similar, though I do not use a graduate to measure my pours.

              Now, there ARE some wine bars, and restaurants, where ALL pours seem a bit large.

              Also, I often encounter B-T-G wines, that get "topped up," though I have not requested such, and those extra ozs. do not appear on any bill?


            2. We ate at a dive restaurant not long ago. Drunken customers, comely waitresses and fair steaks. When my second glass of wine came she brought me my refilled glass and a carafe with about 3/4ths of another glass in it, said that killed the bottle and it was my lucky night.

              I was hugely appreciative and left an extra $5 on the tip for .50 worth of plonk. Hmmm, could they be playing us old guys?

              1. Yes. Always happens.

                By that time I order a second glass,
                the barkeep and I have had a chance to chat about the BTG wines --
                enjoy a bit of shop-talk, as it were,
                and that seems to result in more generous pours,
                and better service overall.

                1. Given the fact you stated "moderate-price restaurants", my guess and experience combine to say that the waitperson doesn't want to keep going back to the bar for your refills. Even asking the bar to pour a little extra for this one to keep you sated until you leave.
                  Maybe a stretch for those that don't want to believe it, but I've seen it, worked it and it does happen in some places...
                  As for your parties... Your guests know you like wine!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Gastronomos

                    servers at places like bertucci's are not pouring their own wine for tables -- they're getting it from a bartender.

                    i live in boston and have worked in fine dining for over 25 years and do not find the 2nd glass phenomenon mentioned above. in fact, if my employees did this on purpose i'd fire them. it would wreak utter havoc with my wine cost. i can't imagine a bertucci's manager tolerating it since their margins are much slimmer.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      While I have not encountered such, I WILL keep my eyes open for it.

                      However, I do often get "special wines," often poured with no charge, but that depends on a lot of factors.

                      We've also had impromptu tastings of "proposed wines," at restaurants and even the United Airlines Red Carpet Clubs (now United Clubs).

                      Heck, on several occasions, I have had a sommelier invite me to sit with a few distributors, and help them choose the wines for their menu. Obviously, tiny pours there, and they did not increase in volume, until I decided to DRINK a couple of optons.

                      Now, we often do encounter "additional pours," beyond the B-T-G offerings, and this often is beyond the "regular," and especially when doing a "Sommelier's Pairing" with a Chef's tasting. Such can be good (if we're staying at the hotel, where the restaurant is located), or bad (if we have to drive elsewhere).


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        it's not unusual for salespeople to leave open bottles with sommeliers and yes, i have offered those samples to certain guests. that's a whole other thing.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          I agree.

                          As to the pours, themselves, with nothing else considered, I have not observed what many others post about. Maybe I am just not "worthy?"


                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            lol, no, i rather i think we both are more likely to frequent places where the waiters and bartenders aren't overly busy trying to get one over on the boss and pour their way out of job in no time. :)

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              I agree.

                              Now, I often do get larger pours, than normal, but it seems to be when the bartender needs to finish a bottle - first pour, or second.

                              Now, I do often get "extra pours," but most are about the same volume.