May 4, 2006


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Pinot to go
Restaurants will recork the bottle; have that last glass of wine at home
By Susan Reilly

Vanessa Werner was surprised when a local TGI Friday’s had a bottle of Blackstone Merlot on its wine list.

She was even more surprised when, after she was unable to finish the bottle, her server corked it up and let her take it home.

Werner is a hostess at Taste of Europe and Piccola Italia in Manchester, and says that most of the patrons where she works finish off the bottle, rarely leaving wine behind or asking to take it with them. But, whether they drink it all or take it with them, people are less likely to leave high-quality wines on the table.

“We cork bottles all the time,” said Karen Andruszkiewicz, a hostess at Michael Timothy’s in Nashua.

Michael Timothy’s is always promoting responsible drinking, said Andruszkiewicz, and letting people know they can take unfinished wine home is part of that.

“Most of the time it is a couple who started with cocktails, then ordered a bottle and ran out of steam. We tell them that they can simply take the rest home,” she said. “And they are thrilled.”

At Cotton in Manchester, hostess Tina Latour said that few guests take advantage of the law and take home their bottle.

“I think often it is some people’s full intent to take a bottle home, but they never make it. They always end up finishing it here,” she said, noting people get so comfortable they end up staying longer.

At 55 Degrees in Concord, guests are often torn between ordering one of the many outstanding wines by the glass or a full bottle.

“Most of the time, it is people who ordered the second bottle because they wanted another glass. They don’t want to finish the bottle so we cork it so that they can enjoy the rest in the comfort of their home,” said host Jeremy McKeen.

Unwine’d in Manchester not only has people regularly take the wine home, the owner actively promotes it.
At the beginning of the year Scot Kinney, owner of Unwine’d, started a program called “Buy the bottle, taste profile.” Guests were encouraged to enjoy some of a bottle at Unwine’d and complete a taste, body and finish profile.

Kinney then suggests that they save a glass and take the bottle home. Wait a few days and crack it open and note how much the wine has changed.

“People love it. It is amazing to really pay attention and see how wine has changed over time,” Kinney said.

Whatever your reason, it is good to know the law, which varies from state to state, before you leave a restaurant with a half-full bottle of wine.

Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at  

Liqour Laws of New England
New Hampshire (Title XIII, Chapter 179, Section 179:27) Allows any person who has purchased a full-course meal and purchased and partially consumed a bottle of wine with said meal to remove it from the premises provided (i) the person is not in a state of intoxication and (ii) such bottle is securely sealed and bagged by the restaurant to be in conformance with open container laws.

Massachusetts ABCC regulations issued pursuant to Chapter 33 of the Acts of 2006 allows a licensed restaurant or hotel dining room patron to remove one partially consumed bottle of wine that has been purchased with a meal. The bottle that is removed must be placed in a one-time-use tamper-proof transparent bag with the meal receipt attached to the sealed bag.

Vermont Restaurants have the discretion of allowing patrons to take home an unfinished bottle of wine if it is bagged [and in accordance with T 7 VSA paragraph 222(1)].

Maine There are no regulations either way.

• Rhode Island Taking home a partially consumed bottle of wine is prohibited.

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