It was a simple question: what do you hate most about buying wine in restaurants and bars. We posed the question on our Facebook page (go on, give us a like!), and we were inundated with responses. Here’s your top 10, with Wine Wanker Drew’s interpretation (he used to work as a wine waiter – so he should know!).
Wines by the glass that have been opened for days
The problem with wines by the glass – the unpopular wines don’t sell all that often. Meaning the flavours can become dulled or are oxidised and off. Ask your waiter when was the bottle open. It it was open more than 24 hours ago – ask for a fresh bottle.
Really small wine glasses that are full to the brim
Restaurants do this because they think their bar staff can’t be trusted to pour the right amount of wine. We hate this because it means you can’t swirl your glass around and appreciate the full flavour and aroma of the wine. You’re also more likely to spill the wine over yourself!
Waiters who don’t know anything about wine
If you ask what kind of wine they have, and their response is, ‘White and Red.’ Run!!
Boring wine lists
You know the kind of wine list: it look like it’s been plucked from the boring brands section of your local bottle shop or the restaurant owner is so lazy, they only buy from one supplier. Either way, this snoozefest is probably going to be indicative of the restaurant’s food! When you get the wine sales rep to design your winelist, you’re asking for trouble!
Ever wondered why restaurants love to range obscure boutique wineries you’ve never heard of? It’s so you can’t price compare to what you would normally pay in a bottle shop. Most restaurants mark up their wines by 300%, many charge more than that, especially the top flight restaurants that sell super premium wines.
Forget the size of the vessel, let’s talk glass quality. If the stemware’s glass is as thick as a vegemite jar, you aint gonna taste the wine’s flavour very well. End of story.
Low lighting and nothing white to see my wine’s colour
OK, even I’m calling this as a very tiny issue! But this was a gripe for someone on Facebook. Shelley loves to analyse a wine’s colour and she needs good lighting and a white tablecloth! Me personally – I look better in low lighting!
Wines by the glass – how much is in a pour?
Sue feels restaurants should tell patrons how much wine is served when you buy by the glass – 120mls or 150mls. She also believes wine glasses should have a discreet ‘fill-mark’ so you know you’ve gotten what you paid for.
Pouring your own wine
Whether it’s BYO and you’ve paid a corkage fee, or a licensed restaurant, waiters should pour your wine. It’s called service!
Not being given the opportunity to taste a wine before pouring
Just because your wine isn’t sealed with a cork doesn’t mean you don’t have to taste it before it is poured at a restaurant. A corked wine is only one of the things you should be testing for. You are also checking to see if the wine is oxidised or if the wine has been heat effected during transport or cellaring. Did you know wines sealed under Stelvin capsules are susceptible to dings in the cap if they are bumped? And if there is a ding in the cap, it breaks the seal and there is a chance it has become oxidised. Worth checking if you ask me!
We believe in everyone’s right of reply. If you think we’ve left something out – or if you work in a restaurant and you’d like to leave your thoughts about customers, please use the comments section below.