The Disappointing Phenomena of a Half-Assed Glass of Wine
June 5, 2015
Dining out has always been a pleasure of mine, and even before the state of Georgia said it was OK for me to consume adult beverages, I enjoyed having a glass of wine with my evening meal. Not that back in the day you could get a really good vintage in Middle Georgia. I remember one outing with my friends Mindy and Sandra. We were at a restaurant in Macon one night years ago and before ordering our entrees asked for a wine list. The waitress just looked at us – all underage but smug in our self-filled minds – and said “honey, we don’t have a wine list. We only got three kinds of wine: white, red, and rosy. The white is kinda sweet, the red is sorta strong, and the rosy is a like a mix of the two put together.” But I digress; that was decades ago. You can now find a number of restaurants with excellent wine lists in Macon, and I’m not here standing on my soap box to orate on selection. I’m here to voice my frustration, aggravation, and puzzlement about quantity.
Even at that lone restaurant on a hill in faraway time Macon, when the waitress brought our glasses of rosy, they were full. Not just a smidgeon resting lonely and small in the very bottom nestled next to the stem – no, these glasses contained a proper amount of vino. And when I say proper, I mean enough to allow you more than a swallow or two.
Flash forward to 2014 and it seems like every new restaurant I go into these days has adopted a practice of “pre-measuring” the amount of wine they pour in a glass. And that measurement is mighty stingy in most cases.
The other night I was at a fairly new French-styled bistro in Atlanta, and ordered a $ 14 glass of a Pinot Noir (don’t get me started on wine prices or their ridiculous mark-up, either, I have only enough space here to bitch about one wrongful thing) to go along with an appetizer of pate’. When the wine arrived, it wasn’t even three fingers full. Seriously folks, look at the photo. This was the same Pinot Noir I could purchase for $ 18 bucks a bottle at Habersham Beverage - and I was being charged almost that much for two small swigs and a short snort. This restaurateur was squeezing an easy eight or nine glasses out of a bottle – at a nice profit. I actually asked our garcon about how little liquid was poured in my serving, and was told “Oh, Mr. Barrett, that is a full glass. We measure each one out at five and a half ounces.”
(My pitiful pouring portion at the bistro)
Five and a half ounces, folks, as you all know, is just over a half cup. That is not enough wine to get through an appetizer portion, let alone an entrée. It is not enough for a petite French tea-cup sized poodle to sip upon when not even very thirsty. And it cost me fourteen dollars, plus tax and tip…….
This new wave practice of wine miserliness has hit many dining establishments, and I’ll be honest, it just chaps my sizable backside. And I don’t know to what end this practice is aimed – if I were to take it personally, I would think it was brought about just to see how easily it is to get under my skin – but even though I am somewhat self-centered to the left a bit, it is not all just about me. I’ve witnessed my friends experience the same sort of puzzled and disappointing (leading into indignant) offerings time and again.
I know how hard it is to make it in the restaurant world today; it is a tough, tough industry, but hobbit-sized glasses of wine should only be served in The Shire. Underserving you patrons is just not a good thing. I’d GLADLY buy another glass of wine if there was enough to drink and it was priced at a reasonable rate. I’d walk away happy, recommend the bistro to friends, and come hurrying back next chance I had. Instead, I tend to frequent the old tried and true spots that have been in business for years, where the owners know that a real portion keeps real patrons. I’m just saying: half-assed glasses may be fine for Bilbo Baggins, but they just don’t set well with old JSB. Salut!
(A properly filled glass of vino, JB proportioned)