The Wine Lover's Bill of Rights

Categories: Wine Time

american cork.jpg
Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
We the Wine Lovers of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Meal, establish better Wine Pairings, insure enogastronomic Tranquility, provide for the common wine service, promote the quality of fine wine, and secure the Blessings of Vinous Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Wine Drinker's Bill of Rights for the United States of America.

The right to be treated courteously and respectfully regardless of the amount of money we spend on a bottle of wine.

The right to devote adequate time to our selection from a wine list.

The right to have wine on our table before our food arrives.

The right to clean, dust- and detergent-free, room-temperature stemware.

The right to taste a by-the-glass selection before ordering.

The right to request that a wine server open a new bottle of a by-the-glass selection if the wine has been open since the day before.

The right to request that the server chill our bottle -- sparkling, white, rosé or red.

The right to request that our bottle not be put on ice.

The right to request that a server not refill our glass until we are ready for it to be so.

The right to refuse service of a cork-tainted, cooked or otherwise defective bottle.

Dear Reader/Wine Lover, the above Wine Lover's Bill of Rights is a work in progress and I encourage you to make suggestions or propose amendments in the comment section. In coming weeks, I'll post on the thought process behind each -- in my opinion -- inalienable right. But I will also post a "Wine Lover's Bill of Responsibilities" and I humbly remind you that just as you are entitled to courteous and respectful service (an overarching right), so too are you enjoined to treat your server with the same level of decorum. This is the social compact of restaurateur and patron, sealed the moment you sit down at the table.



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17 comments
Meir Chernetsky
Meir Chernetsky

Why not to doit international? I suggest to make it valid for the globe. And change "United State" to the "planet Earth". Cause I live in Israel but occasionaly want to be in ;-)

Shepard Ross
Shepard Ross

That reminds of my own Declaration of Vindependence!  Well played sir, well played!  Sadly, small distributors are dropping like flies and we will be forced to only buy from the BIG 2 and what they deem to be sellable wines.  The three tier system is a dinosaur that needs to become extinct!

Wine
Wine

Great starting point - thank you. I would like to address the comment by Jonathan Horowitz concerning the "three tier system". The only way this system will go away is if the citizens of Texas make it go away by contacting their State Representatives and Senators. When those citizens who are responsible consumers make a stand against those who control the flow of alcohol in most very state then a 'free enterprise system" will function in Texas - and the rest of the U.S.A.. Cord Switzer - Fredericksburg Winery.

Tom Gutting
Tom Gutting

Jonathan -- I know the law and TABC regulations. They are just terrible and anti-competitive. The variety is severely curbed by the lack of competition in the Texas wholesale market. That makes it even harder (as you know) at the retail and restaurant level. Not that there isn't cool stuff on lists in town, but the wines are way too few and far between. And that's a shame. We've got talented and passionate wine folks down here. I'd like to see them be able to have something other than an artificially restricted market to work with.

Jonathan Horowitz
Jonathan Horowitz

Agree as to the excellent list and additional thoughts here.  Tom, just a note about restaurants and wine purchased - all restaurants in Texas, no matter where they are or how small/large they are - must purchase from distributors.  It's all part of the *fantastic* three-tier system enforced by the TABC... created during Prohibition and designed to ensure that each "level" of the distribution system gets its cut...  So, by law in Texas, a restaurant is not allowed to purchase wine directly from a winery, from an auction house, or from another source.

However, to your point, this in no way means that restaurants can't get a variety of wines that complement the food being served... all distributors carry wines from numerous wineries, various countries, etc., and a restaurant can pick and choose which ones to carry on their lists.

awjapko
awjapko

The right to never have our glass filled more than 1/3 of the way

Tom Gutting
Tom Gutting

The right to wine selection that pairs with the restaurant's menu, regardless of where the establishment purchases it from -- be it wholesaler, retailer, auction house, or winery direct.

The right to a reasonably sized pour. (Don't empty the bottle on a party of four in one round.)

Awesome post.  You've hit the major ones on the head.

Bruce R
Bruce R

The right to prices that are clearly indicated or stated.

And the right to break the bottle on the edge of the table while wielding the jagged remainder of the neck portion as a weapon.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

The right to a recommendation that meets our needs, and doesn't prey on our insecurities and lack of knowledge.

Gremillion
Gremillion

The right to a wider, more nuanced selection of wines from all purveyors, whether club, restaurant or bar, than simply chardonnay, merlot or cabernet sauvignon.

Chris Martin
Chris Martin

no one is forcing anyone to buy anything...it's a bottle of wine...what a dramatic flourish you are making

Jpeg
Jpeg

maybe if you were to move to a better state( of mind) all these problems you think you have would go away. your rant really sounds silly considering the challenges that most folks are facing these days

Pat_Collins
Pat_Collins

 take a walk down the aisles of Spec's - there are plenty of great selections...

Cirra2
Cirra2

Not all establishments offer a broad selection and I understand this because it costs money to keep certain wines stocked that don't sell. It depends on what sells at each place, therefore, you shouldn't expect more than they can offer.

Clementia
Clementia

is it too much to ask for a sauvignon blanc instead of 3 chardonnays, or even a lousy pinot grigio that doesn't reek of fake oak like much cheap chardonnay.

or a bottle of shiraz or zin on the red side. maybe with one cab/merlot blend. it's really not much to ask. they would sell more if they did.

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