What to do with wine you bring to – or receive at – dinner parties

We had some family and friends over for dinner last weekend, and they brought wine! That is nice, obviously, but especially for me as a wine dweeb because a lot of people seem too intimidated to do that.

I ended up serving all the wine that was brought – which wasn’t what I would normally do — and that made me think the topic might be good for a blog.

When receiving wine from guests, I think there are a couple of options. If you already have wine planned for the evening, you of course don’t have to open the guest’s wine. Unless they ask you to – which is what happened to us on the weekend (as they had been to a new winery and wanted us to taste the wines).

Another reason to open it is just to help make sure you have enough for the dinner party! Depending on the number of guests, it can get a bit crazy – and expensive – to be providing all the wine.

The main reason not to open a wine is if it is for your cellar/to keep. How do you know that? Well, your guest may tell you…or you may be able to figure it out yourself (I previously was given a 2014 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon…it would have been nice at dinner, but will be even better in about 10 years!).

And if you bring wine…what should you expect from the hosts? That’s actually the tougher question for me.

I have come to judge it by the person I am bringing it to. If I know they are a fellow wine dweeb, I will ask in advance – do you want it for dinner or can I bring you something for your cellar?

If I don’t know them, I usually bring something that is good value but which I have had before. That way I won’t be disappointed if the don’t open it, and I know they will like it when they do!

I learned that approach after a couple of years of bringing a wine from my cellar that I wanted to try…and then not getting a chance to taste it!

Bottom line on bringing wine is always bring something you would be happy to drink yourself!

I hope all this helps!



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