Rude to decline wine?

Old May 10th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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Rude to decline wine?

Hello,

My husband and I do not drink, not even wine. We cook with it but that is besides teh point.

I was reading on the economist.com site that it would be rude to decline wine.

My question being when we go out for lunch/dinner and tell the waiter we do not want wine, is that offensive to the waiter?

What if we ordered ice-tea?
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Could you post the economist link?

In what context?

I routinely decline wine. Maybe the waiters have always secretly laughed at me.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:26 AM
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aries, i too do not drink (anything) and i decline wine there (london, paris, and rome) as i would at a restaurant at home. i always ask for bottled water and it never has been a problem. and the waiter doesn't really care.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:27 AM
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That's news to me. Could you please cut and paste a paragraph or two from the online article to help me understand better???

(I'm not registered at economist.com)
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Yes, it's terribly rude. That's why meals in France take so long to consume.

After I tell the waiter I don't want an apertif I have to soothe his ruffled feathers. That can take 10 or 20 minutes that I'm not ordering my meal. Heaven forbid I don't order an appetizer. The poor dears are practically in tears if I do that after the apertif refusal. You would not believe what fragile egos French waiters have.



Seriously why would you ever think it rude to turn down alcohol? What are recovering alcoholics supposed to do? Order wine, stare at it on the table as a test of will power, and then let it be thrown away?
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Hi all,

I copied this from the economist.com site:

Paris - cheat sheet

Don’t forget

• It is advisable to dress up rather than down. Few business people have yet discovered “dress-down Fridays” and staff are invariably immaculate.

• Non-smoking tables are often in the least comfortable part of a restaurant.

• Be careful not to foist on your hosts “Anglo-Saxon” (the favourite French term for Americans and British) notions of what is “politically correct”: you may be viewed as arrogant, naïve, or simply weird.

• To refuse wine at lunch would be seen as permissible but slightly odd. To refuse wine at dinner might be seen as rather rude.

• A 15% service charge is usually added to restaurant bills.

http://www.economist.com/cities/find...=Cheat%20Sheet




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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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I think you have been misinformed. In the US you might get a waiter testy when you don't order wine because his tip will increase (in theory) as your restaurant bill increases with $$$ bottles of wine. I have had this experience.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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Just remember who's paying the bill, I order what I want, and the staff should be professional enough not to worry about wine related comission.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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The only way it would be rude to refuse wine at dinner is to do it in such a way that you suggest there is something wrong with this particular wine - at a dinner party for example.

To simply say - no thank you - I don;t drink wine - would never be considered rude.

And in a restaurant - unless you are the guest of someone else - the issue simp;ly doesn;t arise.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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This article may be referring to business situations, where you would want to make a good impression on your dinig companion. Certainly that does not apply to interaction between tourist and waiter!
Even in a business situation, though, I find it hard to believe that a polite "no, thank you" (without preaching or going into great detail about medical matters) would be found rude, whether the item being declined is wine or escargots or bread.
Order what you want, though I do not recall seeing anyone drinking iced tea so I'm not sure that it is always available in Paris. Do as the locals do and order mineral water, or even just a carafe of tap water.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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Might the context be as a guest in someone's home? It won't be an issue in any restaurant.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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I don't think anyone discussed the "iced tea" alternative, but I don't think you'll have much success with that... a bottle of mineral water will be fine; my husband takes the chance of offending everyone by ordering Coke with ice
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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You are assuming, of course, that the waiter is going to offer you wine and that is not necessarily routine. More likely the waiter will ask what you prefer to drink.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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I have had the situation where a host serves horrible cheap wine and I have had to turn it down when I really wanted some. I just said, I'll just have water tonight, thank you. Do you think they saw through that lame excuse knowing I love wine? oops.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Ah yes, I always cringe when I see the hostess bring out the liter and a half of Yellow Tail. I usually choke it down anyway though.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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If you don't drink, why in the world would you order wine to please a waiter? Seriously though...

I would not count on ice tea. The most appropriate (and European) things to do is to order bottled water, either still or fizzy. They will bring a large bottle that two people can split.

Do not tell the waiter you do not want wine, simply order the water.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Balderdash!
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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There are several prescription drugs that strongly containdicate consuming any kind of alcoholic beverage. If I put ethyl alcohol in me, the consequences could be very serious.

I don't give a hoot in hades if it is rude or not to refuse. There are no circumstances that I can think of that justify jeopardizing my health for the sake of some stupid etiquette statement.

The server is at fault for not thinking of the potential effects of the alcohol on the person being asked to consume it.

To me they are the ones who are not only rude, but also uncaring and ignorant as sin, or some combination of all 3.

So I don't think etiquette has a cotton-picking thing to do with it.
If you don't want it, don't drink it.
You would not drink battery acid would you?
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Old May 10th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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What year battery acid?
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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I agree with beachbum about some people considering it rude to turn down alcohol in someone's home. I think some Americans of an earlier generation than I consider it rude. My mother has actually apologized for me not wanting a drink once or twice when we were at someone's home.
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