You’ve planned the menu for weeks, cleaned the house and invited your favorite people. But then your first guest shows up and hands you a bottle of red, and panic creeps in—are you supposed to open it or put it to the side? Is it rude to hide it away for another time or does your guest expect to drink it? We turned to the experts to get their verdict.
Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette, weighs in: “When someone brings you a bottle of wine, you as the host are not obligated to open or serve the bottle that you have been given. It’s completely at the host’s discretion, and if you were just given a bottle that you’d like to open and share, then you may do that or store it away for a rainy day!” So there you have it.
And here’s a tip to avoid getting into a sticky situation in the first place: When accepting a party invitation, always ask the host what you can bring. And unless they specifically ask you for a bottle of wine, Meier recommends bringing something else. (Here are some ideas to get you started.) Why? Because they may already have planned wine pairings for the evening, and there’s always the risk that bringing your own wine will come across as insulting (i.e., you don’t think that their selection is good enough).
But if you really must come with a bottle (there’s no shame in a well-executed regifting game), employ wine influencer and PureWow Coterie member Heather Gordon’s foolproof method to avoid any awkwardness. “If you’re bringing a bottle with the intention of the host to keep as a gift, wrap it up,” she suggests. “Get a bottle bag or Google how to wrap a wine bottle, and the host will know that it's a gift. If you bring a bottle that you’d like to enjoy with others, then come with it unwrapped and say something along the lines of ‘I brought this to share.’”
Crisis averted. We’ll drink to that.