What Martha Stewart Says To Do When A Dinner Guest Brings Wine

It's common practice to bring a host a small token of gratitude when you are invited to a dinner or holiday party. Etiquette expert Jodi Smith told Martha Stewart, "When someone is kind enough to extend an invitation, you should be kind enough to bring along a hostess gift." Emily Post concurs and notes that unless you are besties with your hosts and break bread with them on a regular basis, you should always bring a little something. That could range from a nice bottle of wine, flowers, a box of chocolates, or something special for the kitchen. Who started this dinner party present giving tradition? 

Per Rex London, it may be a uniquely American practice that has spilled over to other cultures. The blog suggests the United States has even influenced party goers in the United Kingdom to adopt this social convention, which dates back to at least the 1950s. However, if you've ever brought a host a bottle of wine or bubbly and he or she didn't crack it open, don't be offended. And if you are a host who receives a bottle of wine, the O.G. of dinner party hosts, aka Martha Stewart, told Food & Wine there is a protocol for what you should do with that gift.

Only if it pairs well with dinner

Per Food & Wine, Martha Stewart explained at one of her wine events, "If you bring a wine to a party, the host is not obligated to open that wine." Stewart went on to share that there is a caveat, noting that the protocol would change if the guest brought "it for a specific dish that's being prepared for the kitchen." Of course, even the media mogul doesn't open every bottle she is gifted. Stewart joked, "Sometimes I look at a wine that's come with a guest and hide it in my closet."

According to Wine Spectator, a guest should have no expectations a gifted bottle of wine will be consumed at the dinner party unless you've asked the host in advance if you can bring a bottle for all to enjoy with dinner. However, the vino experts say you should never expect or assume the host will want to drink the bottle right there on the spot. Additionally, the wine magazine says it is perfectly fine for the host to take the bottle and enjoy it privately at a later occasion or as you are cleaning dishes from the festivities.