Is there such a thing as a standard pour of wine at a restaurant? Whether it’s cabernet sauvignon, port or ice wine, there is a standard to how much goes in your glass. So how can you tell if your server is stiffing you? Here’s your go-to guide for standard pours.
1. White and red Wine
When it comes to red and white wine, 5-6 ounces is considered acceptable. This allows a restaurant to get approximately 4-5 glasses out of a standard 750mL bottle. Keep in mind, it may look like more or less depending on the size of the glass, even if the amount is the same. And, of course, there’s always the judgment of the server; sometimes you luck out with a generous pour, but that’s the exception, not the rule. If you’re ever dubious, just buy a bottle and try it out at home so you can eyeball it the next time you’re out at a restaurant.
This fortified wine from Andalusia, Spain, is made in a variety of styles but generally has a more powerful flavor and higher alcohol content (15-20%) than still, dry wine. As a result, the serving size for most sherries is approximately 3 ounces, less than a typical glass of dry white or red wine. While traditionally served in a glass known as a “copita,” a tulip-shaped white wine glass will work just as well.
Another fortified wine, this is traditionally from Spain’s Douro Valley and comes in a variety of incarnations, including ruby, tawny and late-bottled vintage. These wines are generally richer and sweeter than their non-fortified counterparts and clock in at around 20% alcohol. They are meant to be sipped and savored, and they are usually served in smaller glasses. This makes a standard pour of 3 ounces appropriate.
4. Dessert wine
Whether it’s sauternes from France, ice wine from Canada or Trockenbeerenauslese from Germany, these deliciously sweet, viscous wines are usually enjoyed after dinner, paired with something sweet. Like many desserts, a little tends to go a long way with these wines, so much so that they are usually sold in smaller, 375mL bottles (vs. a standard 750mL bottle). In a restaurant setting, a pour of 2–3 ounces is considered standard for most dessert wines.
Stephanie Miskew is a certified sommelier, wine educator and proprietor of The Wine Atelier, an online wine boutique. She also runs the The Glamorous Gourmet, a website dedicated to wine and entertaining.