DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have moved to a small town in a popular wine-growing region, and our next-door neighbor is a well-known winemaker. We invited him and his wife over for dinner, and I shared a bottle of one of my favorite (and not inexpensive) wines that I have been collecting for years.
It was delicious, but he drank only a few sips and went into the kitchen and poured his almost-full glass down the drain right in front of me!
Another time, I brought to his house a well-regarded, expensive wine that I had hand-carried back from a visit to a winery in South Africa. He hardly tasted it, and after dinner I took the open bottle back home rather than have him dump this one too.
We may have different tastes in wine, but I’m thinking that I should not waste my generosity and hospitality on this boor. I should add that he and his wife are often loud and drunk. Am I overreacting?
GENTLE READER: Well, if you really need Miss Manners to tell you that your neighbors are not ideal drinking companions, she cannot say that your reactions are sharp. Nor are your neighbors’ reactions likely to be, if they are in the habit of over-sampling their product.
You cannot decrease the geographical proximity of your neighbors, but you can increase the social distance. Reducing it to an occasional wave from across the fence should be about right. But first you will have to let go of the idea of impressing them with your knowledge of wine.