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You are not crazy, wine pours are shrinking

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When international investor Brian Hogan took a crucial client to a favourite Midtown restaurant last month, he hoped to impress him. His guest ordered a Chablis by the glass quite than the bottle, and the sommelier poured it with due deference.

But, when the often mild-mannered client looked down at his glass, he was shocked by the minuscule size of the serving. He summoned the manager and asked him to bring over a measuring cup.

“He thought the pour was ridiculous and offensive,” Hogan said. “When he measured, it turned out to be only 4 ounces.” The manager quickly delivered more wine to the glass, together with a profuse apology.

Inflation has hit the bottle. Everywhere in the city, from taverns to high-quality restaurants, diners are doing double takes as they receive reduced pours of wine at increased prices. A regular bottle of wine comprises 25.4 ounces — meaning a generous 6-ounce pour will yield 4 glasses, a typical 5-ounce glass will deliver five and a measly 4 ounces will eke out six. Diners say they’re increasingly being served paltry pours, and industry insiders confirm their suspicions.

“I’m going to some places and think, ‘Are they serious?’” Karen Harris, an account executive for a wine importer and distributor, told The Post about shrinking servings.Brian Zak/NY Post

“I worked for Danny Meyer and we all the time gave 6 ounces,” said a sommelier at a preferred recent downtown restaurant. “Once I came I used to be quickly corrected and instructed to pour only 5.”

A somm at one other Manhattan hot spot confided that “During COVID, we were told to make certain we got five glasses out of a bottle, quite than the 4 we were used to getting.”

A spokesperson for Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group confirmed that his restaurants still pour 6 ounces. At Isabelle’s Osteria and Barbounia within the Flatiron, they’re also sticking to six ounces.

“All our wine costs went up … but we felt that customers will forgive you if you happen to overcook their meat a bit, but won’t forgive you if you happen to skimp,” said Vladimir Kolotyan, a partner in each restaurants. “So we added one dollar to among the glass prices and left some the identical, but never touched the dimensions.” 

The stingy servings are creating awkward situations.

An Upper West Side entertainment attorney had some explaining to do to his ex-wife after she saw a bill from his dinner with their young adult children.

“She was disturbed by the variety of wine glasses consumed, but I explained to her that we actually drank the identical amount of alcohol we often do; we just needed to order more glasses,” said the person, who asked to stay anonymous for private reasons.

Mark Fang“I’m willing to pay for quality and I feel shortchanged after I receive a small pour,’’ Mark Fang, a 41-year-old wine blogger and licensed sommelier, told The Post. Photo courtesy Mark Fang

Even those within the wine industry, while sympathetic to restaurant’s rising costs, are disturbed by the trend.

“I’m willing to pay for quality and I feel shortchanged after I receive a small pour,’’ said Mark Fang, a 41-year-old wine blogger and licensed sommelier who lives in Hell’s Kitchen. He recently dined at Marea and ordered an $18 glass of Grüner Veltliner that he estimated was a mere 4 ounces.

“Normally I get just one glass of wine, but this time the pour was so small it didn’t last past the appetizer,” he said. “I prefer to enjoy wine with my entree, so I ordered a second glass … [in general] I do know what bottles cost, and that hurts.”

“I’m blown away by how small the pours are.’’

Karen Harris

(A spokesperson for Marea’s Altamarea restaurant group said: “The usual operating procedure for pouring a glass of wine at Marea is 5 ounces. We do acknowledge that there’s an occasional margin of error to keep in mind.”)

Karen Harris, 59, who lives on the Upper East Side and is an account executive for a wine importer and distributor, said that her entire portfolio has increased in price for the primary time in 4 years. Still, she’s stunned by shrinking servings.

“I’m going to some places and think, ‘Are they serious?’” she said. “I’m blown away by how small the pours are.’’

Many restaurateurs insist that a part of the issue is the trend towards using larger, higher stemware that dwarfs the looks of the wine.

A standard bottle of wine contains 25.4 ounces — meaning a generous 6-ounce pour will yield four glasses, a standard 5-ounce glass will deliver five and a measly 4 ounces will eke out six. Above, a 6-ounce pour (left) and a 4-ounce pour.
A regular bottle of wine comprises 25.4 ounces — meaning a generous 6-ounce pour will yield 4 glasses, a typical 5-ounce glass will deliver five and a measly 4 ounces will eke out six. Above, a 6-ounce pour (left) and a 4-ounce pour.Brian Zak/NY Post

Maximilian Riedel, CEO and president of glassware company Riedel, think COVID isolation can also be guilty.

“That is a difficulty of perception,’’ he told The Post. “For the past two years, we’ve all [been] helping ourselves to what’s in [our] cellars. Now that we’re returning to in-person dining, a server’s measured pour likely appears more restrained.’’

To make sure servers hit their mark, Riedel glasses have a subtle indicator within the curve of the glass at what the corporate sees as the perfect pour: 5 ounces.

But some restaurateurs insist that 5 ounces isn’t enough for his or her demanding clientele.

“I hear that in town they’re lowering servings and jacking up prices,’’ said Zach Erdem, owner of Southampton hot spots 75 Most important and Blu Mar. “Here, if you happen to give people 5 ounces, they’ll scream at you!’’

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