Party etiquette: Bringing a bottle to an event

17 02 2010
View from the sill 3

View from the sill 3 © Tales From the Trellis, 2010

Kim N. just asked me about this last week, and it is a great topic – thanks Kim!

Many of us like to bring wine to an event, party, dinner at a friends, etc. and may run into one of two scenarios:

  • We want to actually drink what we brought and they host/hostess doesn’t open it
  • We want them to save it for later so they can enjoy it another day (i.e. not for this event) but they open it

How do we broach this topic without any hard feelings or awkwardness?

First of all, it is nice that you are bringing something for the event. Most of the time, it is not asked or expected.

Secondly, unless you have told them not to open it, you should expect that it be served for the event. There have, however, been times that I have not followed this advice myself. This has happened when:

  • When the wine was so poor in quality that I did not want to serve it with the better bottles that I have already selected for the event
  • It was a really nice bottle that I wanted to save for another time

Ok, so if someone brought something nice to my event, I would open it unless they say otherwise!

Here is what I would say (and right away–do not wait)  if I wanted the host or hostess to open/serve the bottle in question at that time:

As you walk in the door, after exchanging greetings, kisses, hugs, handshakes, small talk, etc. say:

“Hey, I brought this for the party and I am hoping you can open this now because I understand it is good and want to try it with you”.


“Listen, this is really not for this event and I want you to try it another time (wink wink, nod nod) when you can enjoy it yourself and perhaps on a special occasion”.

If they do not take the hint or forget to serve it during the event, you can approach them and ask if it would be ok to serve the bottle.

I have gone through this before, trust me, many times. I sometimes get frustrated because the bottle I brought for the party was far and above the quality of wines served and I really was in the mood for what I had selected for the evening.

A host should really follow the hints and serve the bottle to avoid being rude, even if it is only to the guest that requested that wine be served.

Many times I have actually brought 2 bottles, one for now and one for the host to enjoy later. This actually gives me more of a leg up and subliminally tells the host that I made the effort to supply for both the event and guests at that moment, and as a nicety – I have also provided my hosts a bottle for another time. How can anyone argue with that!

One other thing, if it is a sparkling wine (see my Valentine’s Day wine post for value sparklers to bring), white or even a red that might be warm and in need of a cool down, let them know right away.

Let me know what you have encountered and how you have handled similar situations. Post below.


Steve from the Trellis

© 2010 Tales from the Trellis




4 responses

18 02 2010
Anne Ganguzza

Love the idea of bringing two bottles to the event – great suggestion! I’m going to a party in a couple of weeks and will definitely do that. Also, I’m looking for some suggestions for good wines to try that we can get at our local Trader Joe’s!

18 02 2010

Anne, I have come across a blog that rates the TJ’s wines…see if this helps.
I can also recommend without incident, the Castle Rock Pinot for $9.99. They do a good solid job and great price point on most of their line.
Steve From the Trellis

18 02 2010
18 02 2010
Kim N

Thanks so much Steve for the tip. I also like the idea of bringing two bottles, it makes them feel special and gives the oppurtunity to have them open the 2nd bottle at the event.

Thanks again!!!

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