Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why I Hate Ordering Wine by the Glass

by Lettie Teague

Wall Street Journal
September 18, 2010

Every wine drinker I know maintains at least one wine-related prejudice or another—whether he admits it or not. One friend, for example, abhors drinking white wine while another eschews all rosés (he has labeled them "Pepto de Provence.") Yet a third disdains Riesling on account of the bottle, which she calls a "needle nose." (She's a former fashion editor—of course.)

I have a wine prejudice of my own: I simply hate wines by the glass. But unlike most prejudices, born of ignorance and fear, my prejudice was acquired through experience.

Foremost among my glass-hating reasons is price. Wines by the glass are almost invariably the worst deal in the house. After all, the conventional rule of thumb calls for the price of the glass to equal the wholesale cost of the bottle, plus, often, a few dollars more. And with five glasses in a bottle (or four, at a more conservative measure) that's a profit margin so large that only the greediest restaurateurs would dare to charge a similar markup on a full bottle. As Michael Madrigale, wine director of New York's Bar Boulud, put it: "The wine-by-the-glass program pays for corked bottles and when wine gets sent back. For most wine directors, it's the profit engine of a wine list."


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