Dear Etiquette Gran,
I hosted a dinner party last week and a few of the guests brought a bottle of wine each. I’d already bought wine to match the food I was cooking, so I served that rather than the bottles they’d brought. When they left, they took the wine with them. I find this a bit rude, or am I just old-fashioned?
– Perturbed of Pukekohe
This is the Height of Rudeness in Gran’s world – if you give someone a gift, you never take it back. (But passing a gift on is another story altogether – Gran’s all in favour of gift recycling. Particularly the crap ones.)
When it comes to wine at dinner, it’s altogether a lovely gesture to bring a bottle for the host, regardless of whether or not they serve it. But you certainly don’t take it back when you leave! It’s the host’s prerogative (ooooh yes, that’s a big word – got your dictionary handy?) to decide what food will be served, and hence what wine will go with it.
Imagine the culinary faux pas of serving malbec with smoked trout, or chablis with steak! Stap my vitals! (I’m making these up, but you get the idea.) Your reputation as a hot contender for the next season of My Kitchen Rules would be in tatters.
Whether you go to a dinner party or to a drinky session at someone’s house, or just around to your mate’s place to get buzzed by drinking nutmeg milkshakes, you simply do not take the goodies away with you again. If you bring a bottle of Chardonnay, leave it with the host. (Etiquette Gran likes Church Road, just for your future reference.)
If you bring a six pack of Foster’s, leave it there and try to pick up some self-respect and good taste on your way home. If you bring a new packet of nutmeg, the only excuse for taking the remnants home is if you’re flying back.
Yours in spirit(s),