Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
When refilling a wineglass, should I ask to pour, or just pour?
—Martina, Oak Lawn, Ill.
As a host, I typically open the bottle and pour the first glasses. With most of my friends and family, I then tell them to help themselves to refills. Of course, if I notice everyone’s glass is low or empty, I will offer refills myself. If someone doesn’t want a refill, they’ll tell me or wave their hand over the glass. But as a host, I usually have plenty of other things to worry about, and my friends and family are happy to help. One note: Some people might consider it rude to refill your own glass without also offering refills to others. If you’re a guest, and the host hasn’t offered refills, I would politely request one rather than grabbing the nearest bottle and helping myself.
In a restaurant, it’s the server’s responsibility to refill guests’ wineglasses. But of course, sometimes servers are busy, and if I’m dining out and our bottle is within reach, I’m not shy about distributing any needed refills myself. In the latter scenario, you may also need to communicate to the server when the bottle is empty and if you’d like another (or something different).
For a more complete guide to wine service, check out our Wine 101 video, "How to Serve Wine Like a Pro."