Fine Wine, with a Cheap Finish?
An answer to the wine-tipping conundrum.
Until recently, I hadnâ€™t given much thought to tipping on wine. When the bill comes, I simply add 20 percent to the wholeÂ shebang. ButÂ the more Iâ€™ve braved the vertigo of ordering splurgier bottles, and the more Iâ€™ve â€śquarantinedâ€ť my chichi Chambolle-Musignys on a separate check to keep fellow diners off the hook for my lavishness, the more Iâ€™ve questioned the wisdom of this flat-rate approach. You see, isolating the vino has a funny way of underscoring its troublingly volatile pricing structure. My server earns about the same whether I choose the $35 filet or the $25 squab. But is it fair to give her $40 to open my $200 barolo and only 10 bucks for the same work on a $50 falanghina? Equally vexing: Is it fair to me? After polling industry insiders, I got every answer under the sun, from â€ś10 percent is fine for bottles over $100,â€ť which seemed reasonable if arbitrary, to â€śanyone who can afford thousands of dollars for wine can afford to tip on it,â€ť which just seemed angry. I also heard sordid tales of ruthless tip-sharing systems, of hard-to-master decanting rituals. While the responses were mostly unsatisfying, mulling them over helped me realize why Iâ€™m sticking with my clumsy old flat rate. At the end of the day, dining out is a privilege, especially when a spendy quaff is involved. Itâ€™s a celebration of bounty, of convivial fellowshipâ€”a spirit wholly antithetical to nickel-and-diming my server in pursuit of â€śfairness.â€ť
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2014/03/25/how-much-wine-tip/