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On Refusing Wine

May 5, 2010

In preparation for hosting an informal yet highly scrutinised dinner party this Friday evening, I’m brushing up on my dinner party etiquette (which guest is served first, in which order soiled napkins, used cutlery, clean plates, unused items, salt cellars and pepper grinders are cleared), making sure the lessons I learned in Girl Guides (circa 1981) remain up to date.

According to Miss Manners, it is poor form to decline wine if the serving staff or hostess has already begun to pour. In most settings, one should be asked rather than automatically served; however, circumstances may be such that one’s attention is diverted by conversation when the server approaches. Since it is a greater transgression to interrupt the diner’s conversation to ask if more wine is desired, and since all glasses should be kept 3/4-full, it is customary to refill unless otherwise instructed.

Miss Manners points out that it is not only rude to cover one’s wine glass with a hand to indicate no additional wine is desired, but that young butlers are generally trained to disregard this rude gesture, and “pour the wine of the offender’s hand until it [is] removed.”

The devilish part of my heart hopes that one guest in particular (whom I know just well enough to know has abhorrent table and social manners overall) claps her hand over her cup so I can give this a try. At the moment, the ladylike portion of my heart has the mischievous bit in a submission hold, one arm bent behind its back and cries of “uncle!” softly bleating…but…I make no promises come Friday at 8:15 p.m.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Shivs permalink
    May 5, 2010 10:39 am

    Who says no to wine? Miss Manners is such a dreamer…

    • welltailored permalink*
      May 5, 2010 10:41 am

      Hahaha. Actually, her reply did begin along those lines, politely suggesting that there’s something wrong with you in the first place if you refuse, never mind being ignorant enough to use a clapped hand to communicate this to the entire table.

  2. May 12, 2010 5:06 am

    “The devilish part of my heart…” I like that rhyme!

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