The older man with the younger girl

We do not get many complaints about wine, but for some obscure reason, older men entertaining younger ladies who are not their wives, are the ones who invariably do complain . They must think that the young lady will be favourably impressed by both their knowledge of wine, and of their strong "man of the world" character, when the gentleman summons the wine waiter to inform him that the wine is "off"

There are many and various pitfalls with this ploy. Firstly the young lady will be more embarrassed than impressed, secondly the chances are that there is nothing wrong with the wine, thirdly when I tell the gentleman that there is nothing wrong with the wine, the whole scenario tends to collapse into tears or tantrums.

From our point of view we are perfectly fair, if I get a complaint, I treat it seriously. I ask politely what the problem is with the wine, then try some in a glass. If there is nothing wrong with the wine, then I tell the guest so. I refuse to take back wine without seeing whether there is a problem or not, for a start, if there is nothing wrong with the first bottle, then opening a second bottle would be pointless, as it would be identical.

Of course this raises a number of issues.

  • Firstly my credentials, I have studied wine in a serious way, following the Master of Wine course for three years, I would therefore back my judgement against most other people.
  • Secondly it is my money that is been dealt with - if we replace a perfectly good bottle of wine, then we have to pay for it ourselves.
  • Thirdly do we want such a customer to return, who has complained recklessly about a perfectly good wine, for no good reason
  • Fourthly why should we replace a bottle with which there is absolutely nothing wrong, merely because a man wishes to impress a girl at our expense. Let him pay for his own gifts.

So why do I think I am fair in dealing with wine complaints? That is the other side of the coin. I have actually changed bottles of wine , about which the customer has not complained. You can see from colour and smell whether there is a major problem with a glass of wine, and if I spot a guest in the restaurant drinking a wine that I think is likely to be " below par" then I will ask if I can taste it, and if necessary replace it.

Yes, the restaurant has a duty to supply first rate wines:  but no, the customer is not entitled to complain about a wine that is in good condition.


And if you want to stay in a really nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

Return to Fawlty Towers Front Page