It’s that time of week when we answer the questions you’re to

It’s that time of week when we answer the questions you’re to drunk or shy to ask…This question comes from Johnny: I haven’t been a serious wine drinker for long, and I have no idea how much I should be tipping on a bottle of wine. Spending almost 100 dollars the other night when we had to pour the bottle ourselves, I just couldn’t see tipping a full 20, but didn’t want to be that guy.Oh shizz…tipping on wine, talk about a can of worms. I might just be able to piss off everyone with my response. You see Johnny, tipping on wine is like physics. It works differently depending on which end of the spectrum you observe, or drink. First, let’s establish our baseline. I don’t want to get into any Mr. Pink style tipping arguments. If you can afford to eat out, you better damn well tip, period. That’s the way things work in this good ole U.S. of A. If you don’t like it, move to France. As a customer, I tip on wine as I would on food, if that bottle of wine is in the double digits…ish. Once a bottle crawls near or over the $100 barrier, I say you have latitude to tip differently. You’re already paying two to four times the price of the bottle, but without the same value added service as compared to the mark up on the food. Over 20 years I’ve done every job in the restaurant, and I will be the first one to spit on the common practices of pricing and tipping on wine. I swear to gawd, if I hear another wino go on and on about clean glassware and storage to justify wine prices, I’ll puke. This is one of the little white lies wine professionals tell themselves to justify the pillaging, and their salaries.As a former server to all servers, I suggest you chill out and manage your expectations. More often than not you will be pleasantly surprised. Rather than dwell on the few tables who will penny pinch at the very end of a meal, think about the work it takes to open a $60 bottle of wine as opposed to a $200 bottle. It’s exactly the same. Truth is that $200 bottle may have only cost $60, and the $60 bottle only $30… So now what are we talking about, you’re share of the mark up? Come on, do you really think you deserve $40 for doing $10 worth of work? Then I might suggest you pick up some breakfast shifts somewhere. Slinging some coffee will knock that entitlement right out of you. I waited on every table as if I expected to get a 20% tip off of $50-75 worth of booze, accounting for teetotalers and the like. At the end of the night, I always came out more than all right, and I avoided the stress of it all in the process. I liked getting bottles of wine on the tables because it was LESS WORK. Even I thought it was stupid to get tipped $20 more because someone liked a fancy Bordeaux instead of an everyday Chianti–one bottle, one cork, same process. I’ve personally always thought the tip for opening a bottle should be like a corkage fee that restaurants charge (those don’t vary depending on the bottle you bring, do they?). How many of us spend more than $100 a bottle anyway? Ten to fifteen bucks seemed pretty fair to me. But then, that makes too much sense.Got a question for the bartender? Email me here: mdutton@seattleweekly.com. You know where to put your comments.


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