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Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I ask the host of a party to open the wine I brought?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Champagne Wishes

(Image: comedy_nose)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I brought back an excellent champagne from Paris and was waiting for a special occasion to open it. I decided to bring it, chilled, to a friend’s holiday party. She squealed with delight and said, “Ooh, I’m going to save this for New Year’s,” then tucked it away in the liquor cabinet and served cheap prosecco for the rest of the evening. I silently debated asking her to open the bottle all night but never mustered the nerve. What should I have done?
—Champagne Wishes, Thornhill

Let’s get pedantic about champagne etiquette. You presented the bottle chilled, a cue she should’ve recognized. Instead, she treated the bottle as a hostess gift, a gaffe considering you didn’t hand it over in one of those reindeer-festooned LCBO bags. Now let’s get real. She probably had a dizzy­ing mental checklist of party duties, and sensitively handling your sentimentally charged bubbly didn’t rate. You should have spoken up with something simple like, “I thought we’d toast the holidays with this bottle I bought in…[commence impressive travel story].” Try it next time. If she bristles, take it as your cue to show up in the future with a case of Fuzion.

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  • Moderate

    Hostess gifts are just that – a thank you which the host can enjoy later. This wasn’t a potluck, so if Champagne Wishes wanted to be served the bottle he brought, he should have brought an additional gift as the Thank You.

  • Dee

    Disagree with Moderate. I think maybe Champagne Wishes could have addressed it more up front with a “Let’s share this wine together” but it was tacky of her to take a CHILLED BOTTLE into her own keeping.

  • C.

    I agree with moderate. Bring a cheapy thank you bottle with a bow/in a bag and hand it to her as a gift, then express your delight in your fun travel find and how excited you are to try it with everyone. If it’s all you brought it’s not that surprising she assumed it was her hostess gift.

  • R

    Assume that the host planned out foods and drinks that work together for the evening and maybe Champagne wasn’t part of host’s vision. It was yours and you are a guest not the host. It is thoughtful of you to have brought a gift, and that’s what it was. When you bring a single bottle, it becomes whatever your host wants it to be. If you wanted it served that night, you should have talked it over with the host a few days before the party to ask if this would be a good fit for the evening. It was not tacky for the host to have accepted it as a gift (chilled or not), because when someone brings one bottle it is a thank you gift, and the host has the final option to open it that night or keep it for later.