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Go For the Bottle?

DESCRIPTIONPhoto: Daniel Hamermesh

In American restaurants, I have always seen a glass of wine (perhaps 6 to 7.5 ounces) sold for at least 1/3 of the price of a bottle of wine (750 milliliters=29.6 ounces), so that the per-unit price of a glass is typically at least 1/3 more than a bottle. In the U.S., it’s always cheaper to buy a bottle of wine than buy glasses if you are having 3 glasses or more. In the Parisian restaurant we visited, the per-ounce price was the same whether you bought a glass (150 milliliters) or a bottle (750 milliliters). Indeed, even a carafe (pichet) of 500 milliters was sold at the same per-unit price. Why did the restaurant do this, given the costs of fetching the bottle each time and pouring glasses (as opposed to uncorking once and leaving the bottle on the table)? Also, given the mark-up on wines at restaurants, the owner should have an incentive to get customers to buy more wine-to buy a full bottle. I don’t understand what seems to be a pricing anomaly.