How To: Bring Wine to a Holiday Party

wine-box-bottle-case.jpgAnd now, some advice on all the holiday parties and their ever-present companion, gifted wine.  Today’s advice giver is Daniel Post Senning of the Emily Post Institute and co-host of personal favorite podcast Awesome Etiquette.

Dinner parties are a time-honored tradition, from the days-long banquet feasts of the medieval times, to the Tupperware parties of our parents’ generations, to the modern gatherings of today. Over the years, dinner party etiquette has evolved with the times as well.

With the holiday season upon us, the one dinner party question that I often hear is; “What is the protocol for bringing wine as a thank you gift for the host?” Is this the right gesture? Should you be offended if the host doesn’t serve the wine you bring? And on the flip side, as host, if a guest brings you a bottle of wine, are you required to serve it at the party? Is it rude not to?

As far as etiquette goes, a small gift for your host, such as a bottle of wine, while by no means required, is almost always appreciated. This doesn’t need to be a rare or expensive bottle; it’s the gesture that matters. As for serving the bottle, most hosts have their food and drink menus planned in advance, so do not feel pressured to serve the bottle a guest brings. Alternatively, do not feel insulted if a host does not serve the bottle you gifted that evening. Know that your gesture is appreciated and that your host will enjoy your gift at a later date—perhaps even with you, too.

Here are five additional modern etiquette tips you can put to use this holiday season and beyond:

  1. Start by planning on serving half a bottle of wine for each guest, and adjust based on your knowledge of the group.
  2. White wine should be held by the glass stem or base to avoid warming the chilled wine with your hand. Red wine is served at room temperature, so the glass may be held at the bowl.
  3. Offer to pour wine for others before you pour for yourself.
  4. Fill wine glasses to their widest point.
  5. When gifting or serving, remember that expensive does not necessarily equal excellent. Find a bottle of wine that you feel reflects your lifestyle, and would trust to serve to any guest. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
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