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Oct 4, 2013 06:39 PM

A glass of wine ?

When I order a glass of wine at restaurant's I find there is a big difference of how much is poured. Some of them pour a nice glass,looks like around four or five ounces. Sometimes I'm poured less. Is there a standard amount ?

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  1. There's no standard, but some places where the owner is trying to control costs want four pours from a 750 ml bottle. That's a little more than six ounces, so one might say that six ounces is a "standard" pour. I think four onces is definitely a chintzy pour. Five is conservative, but not uber cheap.

    I tend to favor hangouts with looser controls where the barfriend fill my glass up and sometimes throws in one or two free glasses. Only good customers get this treatment.

    2 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      I do four per bottle at home, and consider that a good standard to use. Roughly 6.4 ounces. Occasionally I've gotten close to 8 ounces, usually at some pricier places with French pretensions, although one of the best glasses I've had was an advertised 8-oz. pour in a lovely big glass at a place in Temecula, of a Central Coast Zinfandel that I wish I'd copied the name of. It was under $12, too. After an evening of stingy pours of merely okay local stuff it was a perfect nightcap.

      Red-sauce old-school Italian joints are the worst offenders, in my experience, for pouring tiny glasses to the brim. And too often that wine's been open entirely too long.

      1. re: Will Owen


        I go with lighter pours, than you do, and normally get 8x each 0.75 btl. Still, it depends on the bartender/pourer. I have experienced some pours, that seem to be one half of an 0.75, but that is NOT what I expect. Normally, about a 4 oz pour is more like it.


        PS - We just did an "event" dinner at a local Italian restaurant, and the small, thick-rimmed glasses WERE filled too much. I had to instruct the server a bit on those. It just depends.

    2. As stated, there is no universal pour.

      In very, very general terms, a B-T-G wine is about 5 oz., though can be more, or less.

      For B-T-G selections, I like a large-bowl glass (white, or red), and the wine to be poured into a "mini-carafe," to set the volume. Then, I will pour, what I want, when I want it, from that mini-carafe.

      This DOES leave me with a large glass, but little wine. That is what I want.

      Some think that a B-T-G should fill a Riedel Sommelier's Bdx. glass to the rim. Heck, that is almost half a bottle!

      We also do many "Sommelier's Pairings," usually with a Chef's Tasting Menu, and those range from about 2 - 4 oz., and are usually stated as such on the Menu. Since we might be having 15 courses, and 15 wines, total, that is just fine with me. I like those pours to be near the upper-level (4 oz), as we often keep those around, to sample with later courses. Takes up a lot of table real estate, but is fun for us. OTOH, I do not want a "full-pour," as I have to walk to the cab stand, and get back to my hotel.

      Unfortunately, no "standard," and, depending on the glassware used, the same 4 - 5 oz. pour might look VERY different. That is where those little mini-carafes come in handy - they provide the bartender, and you, with a pour, that is as close to "standard," as possible.


      13 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        So what I understand is there is no universal pour. So more or less is four to six ounces. Thanks for the info.

        1. re: emglow101

          Good. Glad that you understand.


        2. re: Bill Hunt

          "...Since we might be having 15 courses, and 15 wines, total, that is just fine with me. I like those pours to be near the upper-level (4 oz), AS WE OFTEN KEEP THOSE AROUND to sample with later courses. Takes up a lot of table real estate, but is fun for us..."

          Love it. A table cluttered with 4-5 wine glasses or more is a sign of a serious wine-pairing experience. It's great to have a "correct" or recommended pairing with each course, but also very interesting to carry at least a few of those wines forward and see how they do or do not pair so well with other courses...

          Also as noted, if you're drinking a different glass of wine (or even more than one glass) with each course, then the glasses don't have to be as full as they would be if you were having one or two glasses for the entire meal...

          1. re: TombstoneShadow

            I almost always inform the sommelier, that we are not testing them, but only doing our own samplings.

            Along the way, we have been disappointed by some pairings (ours, and not the sommeliers, but that has happened too), and then, enlightened by some others. Wines and dishes, that we would never have imagined going together did, while some, more "traditional pairings," failed. We never hesitate to share our "findings" with the sommelier.

            That is one of the beauties, at least for me, with a Chef's Tasting, and a Sommelier's Pairing, to accompany it. We learn something, with almost every dinner.

            For us, a sip will usually be adequate, so total volume is not that big a deal - so long as we plan ahead. We have run into too many situations, where I, or my wife, would have finished Wine X, and the other would exclaim - "You have to try Wine X with Course 8!" Then, we end up tasting from the same glass of Wine X. Even with good planning, things CAN get away from us.

            Because of all of the wine glasses, there are a half-dozen restaurants in the US, at least two in the UK, and four in FR, that will refuse to seat us at less than a full 4-top, or larger, just because of the glasses. We appreciate that, and so do the restaurants.

            If there is not a "Sommelier's Pairing," then I study the half-bottle selection well, and also the B-T-G offerings, trying to "build my own."

            If we have a bunch of folk, then I construct a "wine tasting" for the group.


          2. re: Bill Hunt

            I too prefer it when they use the mini decanter. Most are 5oz but some are 6.

            P.S. I think a Riedel Somm Bdx filled to the rim will hold a full bottle. :) I fine them top heavy and a bit too fragile.

            1. re: jock


              Close, if not 100% correct.

              As you know, we like room in our glass, and seldom leave, wishing that we had consumed more wine. A taste here, a taste there, and we are happy campers.

              If a glass is filled too much, when I swirl, my dry cleaning bill goes up, and up!


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                My problem is that I swirl every glass. Hate when I do it with a martini.

                1. re: jock


                  I was at Michael Mina's last night, waiting for my wife to join me for dinner. Next thing I knew, I was "swirling" my sparkling water!

                  Such is life.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    No joke. I swirled regular water at a restaurant not long ago. Forced some introspection.

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Ummm..... I've been known to do that. Once. Maybe.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Well, I find myself "swirling" water all too often... A weakness of my character, or a comment on my concentration?


              2. re: Bill Hunt

                There's a restaurateur in Nashville who long ago began selling wine by the carafe and demi-carafe, which removed any ambiguity about how much you were paying for. It also established a way for the customer to gauge his own intake, which can sneak up on you if you're just having "a few glasses." I've not seen a lot of that here in SoCal, but I have been to a few places that specified their pour size, and appreciate that very much.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Or have markings on the glass which I've seen in several restos in Montreal.

              3. I prefer restaurants and wine bars that state the pour size on the menu.

                If it's not stated and it's less than five ounces I won't be happy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I have seen more of that, fairly recently, and especially with regard to a "Pairing," to accompany a Tasting Menu - though not always.


                2. Around here there are still places that serve wine in tiny glasses and fill them to the brim. Sure sign of places that care little about their wine.

                  I don't know how many ounces they hold, but them seem minuscule.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: comestible

                    I think that too many, just do not know.


                  2. Just as with oysters here in France, often when you order a glass the menu will say, 10 cl or 12 cl or whatever, thus you know exactly how much you are getting in your pour.
                    At a wine bar the other evening they offered most wines in 12 cl, 27 cl, or bottle at prices that did not penalize you much for taking a smaller pour.