Why I Usually Don’t Top Up Glasses of Wine After Pouring the First One

The only time I will do it is if their glasses are almost empty or empty and they are looking for me to top them up or I have just delivered their main course.

The reasons I do not do it any other time are the following.

1. Because of the drinking and driving laws people like to pace their consumption of alcohol at the table.

2. Because of the above I have to ask everyone one by one if they would like some wine which creates a disturbance at the table.

3. If I go ahead and pour the wine without asking I may have poured , even if it was a little bit , into a glass of a guest who really didn’t want any more. Thereby wasting the wine.

4. People at the table would rather pour their own wine setting the pace rather than have their glasses topped up all the time.

5. Some people just like very little wine in their glass at a time.

Okay call me an idiot or a terrible server , whatever you want , but the days of every two minutes topping up a glass of wine are needless. I like to let the people enjoy their meal without bothering them every second they look up.

Now water is a different story….


  1. I tend to agree with you, because I don't like when servers interrupt conversations to re-pour my wine or offer more drinks (particularly if I'm trying to pace myself like you said). At the same time, at my restaurant with managers breathing down our necks, we get barked at if anyone sees a guest pouring his own wine. Or managers will see an almost empty glass and go over and pour themselves (then bark at us).

  2. AK…I know that feeling when you are working at a high end restaurant and you are seen to be neglectful at topping the wine up. You know another thing that is annoying is someone else starting to clear plates at your table when someone has just put their fork and knife down. It makes you seem like you are not doing your job when in fact all you were doing was giving a minute to let the person finish what they were eating. People tend to think too that by topping the wine at the split second the guest just took a last swig that you may be rushing them to get them to order another bottle. Maybe that is the manager's other motive. Whatever the case if you are going to get ragged out on it you may as well top up the wine.

  3. i don't do it eithe….never have, never will….

  4. I've never experienced the wine thing but definitely at people breathing down my neck.My boss is one of those people that is always impatient about tables. He's always asking if tables are ready to have mains go out and always in a rush to get them out.I don't think that most customer's like to be rushed into these things so it's really annoying.Especially if he's popped into the dine in area and wants to direct you on everything.He's NOT a waiter, he is a a chef so therefore he really doesn't know ANYTHING about customer reactions.I think waiters and waitresses are more in tune to people's needs as we always have a eye out for what they want and how they may want it. People/servers who haven't been looking after the table just ASSUME that there is something wrong.

  5. I understand you but I think it depends, really. If I'm spending $100+ on a bottle I sort of expect my glass to be topped up. A carafe of house plonk on the other hand, I will happily serve to myself.

  6. Danielle Scott…you're right. It depends on the dining room. If you eat in a place that serves $100 bottles of wine you expect service. But those places usually have more wait staff per table to give that fine service too. I was referring to the kind of restaurant that I work in where you have the not so big spenders and $100 bottle of wine. Thank you for your insight and welcome.

  7. Caz…I don't like people to feel hurried either. It is hard though when there is a wait and the management needs that table ASAP.

  8. I have to be honest with you W/E I agree. Completely.I enjoy the initial pour, it is special. No matter how mundane or fancy the restaurant it IS a treat to have the wine presented.However. If our meal is fine then I prefer my husband to top up my wine if I ask. Sometimes I want the just the first glass, maybe a second…but I would rather he do it [or me] than be interrupted to have it done for me by the server. Also I don't drink a heck of a lot while I am eating. A sip with a bite to get the taste, but it would take a lot for us to polish off a whole bottle during dinner. And I hate to be bothered while eating [initial visit "how is everything?" is way OKAY, but servers can relax after that. We're fine.]So I personally think you are dead on right with this approach. I can't wait till we make it to Cananda and get to visit your restaurant. 🙂

  9. SkippyMom…wow you are one for being left alone which goes along with what I am saying. When I did this post I was gasping for something to write about. Normally it has always been about topping up the wine but I think you can overkill on the service. A lot like you like to be left alone I think.

  10. See, as a diner, I can appreciate that. I don't drink. There was one time for Valentine's Day, a group of us (all adult couples–30's through 50's in age)went to a very nice steak house for dinner. A couple bottles of wine were ordered. When the server came by to pour wine for me, I said he didn't have to because I didn't want any. He proceded to do so anyway. As the evening went on, he continued to top off my glass, even though I wasn't drinking it. Even my husband told him to stop. I even put an extra unused white cloth napkin over the top of my glass. The server removed it to top off the glass!When he wouldn't listen to me, my husband took my switched wine glasses with me (his was empty) and even though it's probably not the most polite thing to do…turned the empty wine glass upside down on the white table cloth. It left a red ring.When the server came back when we were ready to go, he saw the ring and got mad at us. "Why did you do that? You could have just told me to stop if you didn't want anymore!" (But this was the same server who also argued with me when I asked where my brocoli was…"You didn't order any!") Weird night and a weird guy.

  11. AmyLynn…that is awful. It looks like the waiter not only did not listen to you about not drinking the wine in the first place but was only interested in racking up the wine sales by pouring the wine in your glass that should have been removed from the table when you said you did not drink wine. The brocoli thing was bad too. This guy should be outta there. Thank you for your comment and reading the post. You are welcome to add a comment anytime.

  12. W/E We like to be left alone more for the server's convenience [let them go take care of the high maintenance table, we're fine] then our "quiet time" together. We will happily engage in conversation with the waiter, but we aren't picky, know how to ask for EVERYTHING we need in one trip [and it is rarely much] but it all goes back to being a server myself.There are times when a server will check back 4, 5 or 6 times and that is when we realize that they are either new, bored [slow night] or they are required by mgmnt to do so. We don't penalize the tip for that. Again, I know what it is like.Then again, if and when we do go out we usually go to our favorites and they know us. And do a great job. I think I could be a regular at your place if I live close enough 🙂

  13. SkippyMom…I think you would be a great regular to have come in to eat.

  14. Manuel…you and me are kindred spirits when it comes to handling tables I can see that.

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