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April 16, 2009

It's the glass, not the pour. Or maybe it's the drinker.

pouring wineA while back, my pal Crazy Joe applied for a job at a Baltimore restaurant known for its wine.

At the time, this restaurant (which shall remain nameless) was having some wine-related issues with customers.

The restaurant served traditional pours (5 or 6 ounces) in those large, trendy wine glasses everyone has come to know and love.

Problem was, a lot of their customers owned the very same glasses. And when they had a glass of wine at home, they were used to filling it halfway (that's a lot more than 5 or 6 ounces).

So when they ordered a glass of fancy wine at this fancy restaurant and were served a traditional pour in a large glass, they were more than a little upset.

The customers thought they were getting cheated ...

Now, at this point, the restaurant had two options to appease the customers: Serve larger, less traditional pours, or get smaller wine glasses.

Which one do you think they picked?

Smaller wine glasses, of course. That way, the traditional pours looked bigger.

Problem solved. Or was it?

In the past few decades, everything seems to have gotten bigger in this country (including the people). A "large" soda is several times bigger than it was 30 years ago. Should the same apply to wine servings in restaurants?

Elizabeth Large wrote a post about skimpy pours about a year ago, which spawned an interesting comment thread. She remembers when restaurants that didn't care much about wine would fill the glass all the way to the top. But she didn't think that was right, either.

What do you make of all this?

(Los Angeles Times photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:17 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


The funny thing is, those idiots who fill the large glasses half-way at home have then wasted their money (probably quite a bit) on the fancy glassware. The whole point is to allow more room between the wine itself and your nose, to help the juice to open up with a little swirl.

People suck.

In this case, i think the resto was right in their assessment. As a drinker, this would be the exception to the rule. I'd argue that many places pour much less than the 5-6 ounces with smaller glasses to increase profit and rip you off.

just buy a bottle.

I find it easiest to just buy a bottle and control your own portions. And if you can't finish a bottle, I belive you can still cork it and take it home. Easy enough.

I've seen something similar with the stemless glasses. Because of an optical illusion or some other trick of the space continuum a normal pour in these looks small. The glasses don't have that wine theater thing going on either.

Sort of related: How many ounces is a "beer"? I get a draft beer from Sly Fox and it's an actual pint. Order one from some bar in Annapolis and you get your $4 beer a 10 ounce, false-bottom mug.

As for wine: the standard is 5-6 ounces is a "glass of wine". I can see not wanting to piss off customers though. Smart move going to smaller glasses.

This can all be solved with bringing your own jug of homemade wine with you and drinking it in the parking lot. No fuss, no muss.

"Wine theater"--good one, OMG!

This can all be solved with bringing your own jug of homemade wine with you and drinking it in the parking lot. No fuss, no muss.

better yet, bring in a cheap grade of wine in a box with your own plastic cups

I hate this super-sizing, especially since the trend can be seen bar wide. I prefer getting 'cheated', being served a Manhattan in a traditional 'small' glass and have it cool and cold until i sip the last bit.
A drink in one of those massive crate and barrel glasses goes warm on me half way. (and no, drinking faster is not for me. I drink for pleasure, not to get sloshed)
also, i think most drink recipes are written with the small glasses in mind, so the measurements in a large glass tend to be all off and you end up with a big glass of a bad Manhattan. And nothing spoils my mood as much as a bad drink.

If you take the bag out of a box of wine, you can take it just about anywhere. Byrd Stadium, movie theater, movies on the hill, you name it. It's my favorite portable drink, and has only resulted in one tumble down six bleachers, and she didn't even get hurt.

CantonKate - I just pictured someone taking a fall at Byrd Stadium and jumping up and triumphantly celebrating that their headache-in-a-box wine bladder hadn't popped. Go Terps! Thanks for the chuckle!

CantonKate, i think the moral of your story is, "the smoker you drink, the player you get."


Explain how the title of a Joe Walsh album applies?

It always applies, GDA. It always applies.

You don't explain Joe Walsh, you just accept him.

A Zen Koan of Pop Culture.
The moment of enlightment serenely anticipated.


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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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