Wine Math

elephant_wineI was recently perusing a new post, over at the always awesome The Food and Wine Hedonist, that was discussing the trouble with coffee math – the algorithm needed to factor six ounce coffee can directions into an eight ounce measuring cup and a fourteen ounce mug. As a non-coffee drinker (don’t be fooled by my Yelp check-ins), I was immediately struck by how the author’s plight with coffee mirrored my own mathematical recurring nightmare with wine. The issue is this: in every scenario, either wine gets wasted – or I do.

The other night I was at a friend’s for a spaghetti dinner. This math is a breeze:

Equation 1) Italian food = red wine

Thus, she opened a bottle of cab for the three of us. We each enjoyed our pasta and meatballs with a standard five ounce pour. Now here’s where the calculation becomes complex:

Equation 2) 1 bottle = 750 ML = 25 ounces = 5 glasses/3 people = awkward

Our hostess is now faced with the classic wine dilemma – does she attempt to balance the remaining ten ounces amongst us? Does she open another bottle knowing the probability for a remainder is high? Does she switch to merlot? Yes.

I had a similar issue at this year’s Christmas party. The theme was White Christmas, so naturally, I had a few bottles of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in keeping with the décor. However, since many of my friends prefer red, I was faced with a new quandary – no common denominator:

Equation 3) 16 party guests + 10 bottles of wine in 5 varietals = 5 half-spent bottles at party’s end

While the solve for leftover wine at home isn’t complicated (drinking, cooking, drinking while cooking), restaurant servings pose an opposing predicament – undisclosed serving sizes. While it’s appropriate to ask a scotch its age, it’s never polite to ask a wine its cup size. With goblet-esque glasses and deceiving happy hour pricing, you’ve often downed a five ounce serving before you finish the second and third glasses of your “flight.” Toss in a free corkage promotion and things just don’t add up:

Equation 4) (X)ounces x 2 glasses + tip + tax = $12 = another round

While my wallet may be able to afford another glass, my head unwisely elects not to solve for X.

Whether the riddle is eight hot dog buns and ten hotdogs, six ounces of coffee and a fourteen ounce mug, or one bottle of Chardonnay and three red drinkers, the joke, it appears, is on us. I may forever be in search of the perfect pour, but in the meantime, Jules on Cougar Town has the right idea – get a wine glass (or pitcher or vase or bucket) that holds an entire bottle and don’t let it out of your sight.

 Disclaimer: 17 ounces of wine were harmed in the writing of the post.

About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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11 Responses to Wine Math

  1. Ha! You need a boring wine bottle like the boring chip bag so no one eats your Chex Mix or in this case drinks YOUR BOTTLE OF WINE!!! Have a Great One:)

  2. I have mixed feelings over this post… I’m love the kind words and that I inspired this. But I’m insanely jealous this post is 5x better than mine. (yes, more math) A 20 oz coffee flew through my nose when I read the disclaimer.

  3. Jan Davidson says:

    Very funny post! Despite the best intentions, I lose track once the 2nd bottle is opened and it’s every man/woman for themselves regardless of the equation. I do however have my own “Wine Math” equation illustrating production yields of ultra premium red wine… ending with the answer to the question “How many grapes in a glass of Wine?”

  4. ATA says:

    I love this post! My go-to solution when at home is to open a second bottle that didn’t cost me too much more than 1 glass in a bar would cost. I don’t mind opening 1 bottle of $9-$12 bottle of wine and only enjoying 1/3 of it. My wine cabinet has two shelves – first bottles and second bottles 🙂

  5. TJ Kelly says:

    I like to be sneaky and pour just that little bit extra in my own glass, so there’s less of a rabble for the final drops. And then if there happens to be too much to go around, it’s always good to carry a bag that can comfortably fit a half drunk bottle or two to take home…

  6. Hope Newby says:

    You are very funny. Love your posts.

  7. harrywalton says:

    Welcome to the wonderful, wacky and weird world of wine!
    Your humour suggests you have just the right attitude to the pressed grape which does not include sampling notes which somehow claim the liquid has “notes of a mangrove swamp with the tide going out complemented by a cheeky dryness redolent of a camel’s armpit”.
    A brief check on some of your other posts suggests I’ve just booked myself in to a ofetime of entertainment. Don’t stop writing.

  8. Pingback: Amateur Wine Snobbery: Tasting Room Edition | White Elephant in the Room

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