Sarah on May 14, 2014 1 Comment These days, you can’t go to a restaurant without seeing a selection of wines by the glass. This list could be static or a daily special, but it’s typically where a server will point your attention to first. A quick comparison with the bottle prices may cause these by-the-glass prices seem more affordable, but if you look a little closer, you’ll see this is not necessarily true. Our interest was piqued by an article published by Zagat early this year titled “Why You Should Never Order Wine By The Glass,” so we decided to do some investigating. The next time you’re faced with the decision of glass or bottle, here are some things you should consider: Markup on the Glass It may not come as a surprise to learn that wine by the glass is marked up more than bottled wine but by how much? As the article explains, the industry standard is that a glass of wine will cost you close to what the restaurant paid for the bottle at wholesale cost. For example, a glass of wine that costs $6 at a restaurant would retail by the bottle for $8, after the usual 30% markup from wholesale price. That’s just the standard. It is not uncommon to see by-the-glass markups as high as $4 more than the wholesale cost of the entire bottle. 4 Reasons the Bottle is the Better Value While restaurants may get big returns on selling by the glass, you’ll only lose value by drinking it. You’ll get a much better rate if you buy the bottle, and here’s four reasons why. 1. Whose Wine Is It Anyway? It’s natural to be inclined to order a single glass of something you haven’t tried before to see if you like it. However, one of the perks of ordering a whole bottle of wine is that you are typically welcome to try a small taste of it first before committing, so you don’t have to worry about your level of familiarity. If you don’t like what you taste, you can send it back and try something else. There’s also a flip side to that argument. Do you ever wonder what happens to all the bottles of wine people send back? You guessed it. Restaurants can turn around and sell them by the glass. That means your glass of wine could be somebody else’s unwanted leftovers! 2. The Problem With the Pour When you buy a bottle of wine, there’s no question as to how much you’re getting. You pay for and receive the ENTIRE bottle. When you buy a glass, on the other hand, you give the restaurant control over portion size and value. While a six-ounce pour is considered standard, it isn’t unusual for bars and restaurants to lower that to five ounces per pour. Limiting pours to five ounces means they can increase profits by getting five glasses out of one bottle of wine instead of the typical four. When you also factor in the markup price, this can be very frustrating to learn. It’s better to buy the bottle, so you can determine how big you want your glasses to be without losing any value. 3. Spoils Go to the Loser Typically, wines sold by the glass stay open until they’re empty. Wine bottles can easily remain open overnight and for multiple days. On top of that, many restaurants do not use any preservation methods for opened bottles. Why does it matter? It matters because it doesn’t take long for an open bottle of wine to spoil. If the wine isn’t particularly popular, it could be open for a long time before somebody finishes it. If you don’t want to be the lucky person who gets to finish a three-day-old bottle, you’re better off buying the unopened option in the first place. 4. Take It To-Go Some may worry that if they buy a whole bottle of wine they won’t be able to finish all of it at the restaurant, and so they end up buying just a glass. There’s good news if you’re among them. If you buy a bottle and can’t finish it at the restaurant, many of them will re-cork it and let you take home whatever you don’t drink. You still get all of value in the bottle. This varies by city and state regulations, of course, so it’s good to know before you go. One thing is certain, though: Zero restaurants will let you take home an unfinished glass of wine. Verdict — When in doubt, it’s better to go with the bottle.