Serving Reds


Dear Wine Master,

I am employed at a small family owned fine dining restaurant. It has become a major discussion about what exactly is the proper way to serve red wine to a customer. Is it proper to put a napkin jacket on the bottle? And if so, when is it proper to put it on the bottle, before or after the server has shown it to customer for their approval?


In my usual controversial way I’m going to go against what may be thought of as perceived wisdom in some well established wine serving circles! But let’s face it, wine should be served in the best interests of the customer/consumer. Do you agree? As far as I’m concerned as a restaurant customer I demand that the wine that is served to me should be EXACTLY as that which I selected from the list, at the correct temperature, and without any mess!

Bearing all that sacrilege in mind you can imagine that I’m not much of a fan of the ”bottle wrapped in napkin” method. It disguises the bottle, hides the all important label, and doesn’t even catch the drips!

I found the following quote in my research. It seems to be a practical method of fulfilling all my requirements from being served a nice glass of wine. What do you think?:

”To serve, take the bottle by the body, never by the neck or goulot. To prevent dripping wine on the table cloth, rotate the bottle slightly to the left while pouring. Any drops that should fall you will catch with a napkin that has been folded in four, called a liteau, that is kept in the left hand and below the neck of the bottle. Never rotate the bottle to the right as this could result in spilled wine.”

Have you taken a look at Caring for Wine? This is an excellent site which includes some useful tips on serving wine.

Good luck.


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