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How to serve wine when hosting a buffet-style dinner?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm hosting Christmas dinner for about 20 people, and it will be served buffet-style.


So how do I serve wine?  I have a few wines to offer.  I'm not sure that it makes sense for me to spend time offering each and every guest wine after the buffet line while everyone is waiting to eat.

 

Do I leave the wines on the table and allow guests to serve themselves?

post #2 of 8

Easiest is probably to set up a "drinks station" with glasses, corkscrew, and unopened bottles of wine, and an ice bucket if necessary (to keep white cold).  That way you don't open all the bottles and have nobody drink any - they can open the bottle they want to drink.  Set it up away from the buffet table if at all possible so that it doesn't impede traffic.  You can put it next to whatever else you're offering to drink (juice, tea, eggnog, etc.). 

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post

Easiest is probably to set up a "drinks station" with glasses, corkscrew, and unopened bottles of wine, and an ice bucket if necessary (to keep white cold).  That way you don't open all the bottles and have nobody drink any - they can open the bottle they want to drink.  Set it up away from the buffet table if at all possible so that it doesn't impede traffic.  You can put it next to whatever else you're offering to drink (juice, tea, eggnog, etc.). 


Agree with Cristeen putting the drinks with the food makes for a big crowd of people.  I prefer to also put the drinks away from food a bit.  Set it up with everything cups/glasses/ice and whatnot.  I ususally put the napkins, plates/utensils at the beginning of the buffet setup as well.
 

post #4 of 8

I agree with the drinks station.

 

I have, though, had success putting the plates at the beginning of the buffet station and the napkins and silverware at the end so folks, especially if there are lots of children, trying to juggle the plate, serving themselves, and their napkin/silverware all at once.  Besides, at the end of the line, they have a better idea of exactly what kind of silverware they need. 

 

OR I set the table with silverware and napkins and just put plates out.

 

Have a great party!

post #5 of 8

I agree with Cristeen if people are all going to be eating in different places around multiple rooms.  If they will all be at the same table or two, though, the wine bottles and water pitchers should be on the table where they are eating, so they don't have to get up to get refills.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

I agree with Cristeen if people are all going to be eating in different places around multiple rooms.  If they will all be at the same table or two, though, the wine bottles and water pitchers should be on the table where they are eating, so they don't have to get up to get refills.



Yes, we'll all be at the same table.  I'm serving buffet-style because there will be lots of kids and it's probably easier for everyone to plate their own dishes away from a table...

So if the wine bottles are placed on the table, does everyone serve themselves?

Or set up the wine station then move all the wine to the table after everyone has served themselves?

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by GatheringApples View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

I agree with Cristeen if people are all going to be eating in different places around multiple rooms.  If they will all be at the same table or two, though, the wine bottles and water pitchers should be on the table where they are eating, so they don't have to get up to get refills.



Yes, we'll all be at the same table.  I'm serving buffet-style because there will be lots of kids and it's probably easier for everyone to plate their own dishes away from a table...

So if the wine bottles are placed on the table, does everyone serve themselves?

Or set up the wine station then move all the wine to the table after everyone has served themselves?

If it's informal and you don't have service staff (assuming this, as it's buffet), then yeah, just let them serve themselves.  Remember though that they'll likely give themselves a little more than a standard pour, so have plenty in reserve.  Serving themselves and having it on the table removes one more thing you have to do.

 

If you are doing after-dinner drinks, then I'd set up a small area for that away from the table.  Perhaps a sideboard with coffee, port, cordials, and cognac.  I'd still keep it self-serve.  Less to worry about.

post #8 of 8

Another vote for a drinks station.  We entertain a lot and I set up a drinks station in the kitchen, away from the food action.  Our closest of friends know they are on their own.  People that aren't regular guests I will walk them over to the beverage area, pour them their first and let them know they free to help themselves from here on out.

 

I don't have enough room on my table to put out wine (and buckets) so I bring some (not all) bottles into the dining room and place them on the buffet.  People are free to get up and pour another glass for themselves and others at the table if they wish.  Bottles tend to migrate to the table once the dishes are cleared away.

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