Recent dreadful events here on the Costa Blanca have reminded us once again about the possible consequences of drinking and driving. There is no doubt, alcohol impairs one’s ability to drive. So, when we go out to dinner, we make sure that the designated driver stays below the legal limit. I’m sure we all do.


When it’s my turn – it’s tough, I admit it, because I like wine, claro! But, it could be a little more pleasant, if only the one glass of wine I allow myself over the length of a restaurant dinner, is a good one! Now, bearing in mind that it is almost always just the one house wine that is served by the glass, how often do you think I drive home happy and satisfied! Yep, very rarely!


I’ve banged on about the paucity of decent house wines in restaurants several times, so this isn’t going to be a case of ‘same old, same old’ – I promise! However, this week’s article could be construed as another restaurant moan – though I would rather it was considered as it actually is, a piece of constructive advice, a suggestion to please all.


If restaurants here in Spain were to include a good selection of half bottles in their wine lists, I’m certain they’d sell well, and keep their clients happier!


Now, a half bottle, even if consumed over the course of a restaurant meal, may put you over the limit, even if drinking lots of water too – so, if driving, we probably shouldn’t drink all of it, but you can certainly take what’s left with you when you leave for the car! And of course, in this way you would avoid having to drink just a poor house wine, and  you wouldn’t have to pay for a whole bottle. This, of course is another reason why half bottles should be on restaurant wine lists.


There are others too – perhaps, the lady wants a bottle of red, the man, white? Compromise is required, so one has a less than perfect experience. Well, why not order a half bottle of each? Great – if there are any! Or another scenario – perhaps, for example, the lady is pregnant and doesn’t want any alcohol, but the man does? A whole bottle is too much  . . . .


I’ve been in the restaurant trade, so I know that it’s not easy having half bottles on the list. There aren’t too many producers that bottle in halves, so this restricts choice. Also, as half bottles age more quickly than full bottles, there has to be a good turnover, or some wines may be wasted. This applies more so to rosados and to many whites as well. Plus, restaurants are probably right in thinking that there isn’t a huge demand for half bottles (until now?!).


However, all of these ‘problems’ (or just excuses?) are easily managed, the half bottles can be promoted, and restaurants worth their salt should be doing just exactly this!

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