In case you skip the article a quick summary:
A customer at an upscale restaurant in New York was shocked to find out that the sommelier had tasted his wine when he asked about it being flawed. It was unclear where the sommerlier tasted the wine. I thought most restaurants and their staff opened wine at the guests table and not before bringing the bottle out (and for good reason), but either way the somm tasted the wine and determined it was good. The customer, however, had been to the establishment the week before and had the same bottle of wine. He determined it was not of the same quality as the previous week. The restaurant said that they taste all bottles opened to ensure good quality wine. They think of it as a service to their guests.
Anyway, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.
If I found out someone tasted my wine before or after bringing it to the table, I would be very upset. I understand the restaurant’s reasoning of wanting to ensure quality, but communicate that to me. Don’t just open my wine and take a sip. I think of that as quite rude. Now, if the sommelier had come to the table and said something like, “Would you like me to taste a small sip of your wine to ensure it’s quality?”, it would then be my option to say yes or no. But the way this article describes the process, it makes it sound like there’s not a choice.
We are Americans after all, and choice is what we long for. We want a choice about everything, but I digress.
Many times in local eateries in Sonoma County (and some select other places), I bring a bottle of wine to dinner. Because I work in the industry it’s much more cost effective for me to this. It also leaves me more money to expand upon the dinner options. In this case, I will sometimes (depending on the service) leave a small taste for the server or staff of the bottle I brought. But it’s my choice. Sometimes, I don’t. Usually it depends on how good the bottle is. There usually isn’t leftover wine in my house.
But if I paid full price for a bottle in a restaurant, I feel like I should get the whole bottle. Every. Last. Drop.
If this experience happened to me, and I wasn’t given an option, I likely wouldn’t be visiting that restaurant again. In addition, if the bottle isn’t opened at your table, send it back. There are no guarantees on what’s in that bottle unless it is opened at your table. There’s a story floating around out there about a restaurant that was busted for pouring “cheap” wine into a very expensive bottle over and over for a group of business people. Every time these folks ordered a bottle, a new one showed up – uncorked. Of course, the guests paid full price for all the bottles opened. Not okay. Not even funny.