A friend who knows a lot about wine told me she is getting shortchanged. When she orders wine by the glass in restaurants, the server sometimes pours barely a splash in the glass. She feels cheated.

A friend who knows a lot about wine told me she is getting shortchanged. When she orders wine by the glass in restaurants, the server sometimes pours barely a splash in the glass. She feels cheated.


Shortly after hearing her complaint, I heard the same beef on my local  public radio program, “The Splendid Table.” In the call-in segment of the show, a listener from Jackson, Miss., said she is tired of paying $10 a glass for restaurant wine when all she gets, at best, is an ounce or two.


The size of wine glasses varies, but they commonly hold between 6 and 12 ounces. An 8- to 10-ounce glass is ideal for white wines, which warm up too quickly in larger glasses, while a 12-ounce glass often is used for red wines in restaurants.


Glasses aren’t meant to be filled to the brim. There should be room to swirl the wine, which releases the bouquet, and to tilt the glass so the diner can evaluate and enjoy the color of the liquid.


Restaurateurs often use one of two rules of thumb: fill one-third of the glass or give a 5-ounce serving.


What if you aren’t getting that much?


Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of “The Splendid Table,” told her caller that she has a friend who handles the problem with mild humor.


“What he’ll say to the waiter or waitress is, ‘You know, it says here a glass of wine, but if you look here, this is what we call a taste of wine. I’m paying $10 and, if you don’t mine, I’d like to get a real glass of wine,” she said on her program.


If the server says he or she isn’t allowed to pour any more, Kasper suggests asking to speak to the manager. In a nice way, she said, tell the manager that a gulp of wine isn’t worth the price and that you would appreciate a truer sample of the wine.


“Generally, when you pour a glass of wine at home, it would be maybe half full. In the best of all possible worlds, if you’re paying $10 a glass (in a restaurant), it should be two-thirds full,” Kasper continued.


“What you are asking is not unreasonable,” she told her caller. “If you’re going to be charged a lot of money for a glass of wine, you should get a glass of wine.”


Food editor Kathryn Rem can be reached at 217-788-1520 or kathryn.rem@sj-r.com.