The Gift Wine


Dear Wine Master,

I’m interesting in understanding the standard etiquette when someone comes over to your house for a dinner party—and graciously brings over a bottle of wine as a gift.

Should that bottle be opened and enjoyed then—or is it rude to open that bottle that evening?

My wife and I are on different sides on this one—is there a standard in this situation?

Dear Duncan,

I don’t know about you, but I always like to serve wine to guests that I have ensured is in the best possible condition for that moment in time. In other words, I would make sure that white wines were nicely chilled, and that red wines were not too cold, and that any sediment had either been decanted out, or at least sitting in the punt of the bottle and not all stirred up.

You can imagine how difficult it would be for your guests to arrive with a bottle of wine that could be presented to you ready for serving. More likely than not it will have been too hot or too cold on the journey, and will certainly have been shaken about to some extent.

I’m unaware of any specific convention on this point, but I would risk appearing rude and retaining gifts of wine for the sake of drinking wine I had prepared ready for the occasion.

You might enjoy a visit to Cork Cuisine where the ‘serving wine’ section suggests lots of reasons why recently delivered wines might not be ideal for immediate consumption!

Kind regards,


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