OAKVILLE, ON — Waiter Mark Graham shocked staff and patrons at local fusion seafood hotspot Gastropod over the weekend when he obligingly poured out a sample of the restaurant’s cheapest wine.
“Usually when someone orders the house wine, we fill it up in the back as quickly as possible and try to get it out while it’s still foaming,” said bartender Emily Watt. “To be honest, I didn’t even know it came in a bottle — I’ve only ever seen it in the six-litre box.”
The customer who ordered the wine, 73-year-old Dale Clymie, was also surprised to receive the sample.
“At first I thought he was making fun of me,” said Clymie, who was celebrating the fifth anniversary of his third divorce. “But when he cracked open the screw top and poured a generous amount into my glass, I could see in his eyes that he was sincere.”
After Clymie sniffed the cap, tasted the sample and gave Graham a satisfied nod, a murmur erupted throughout the restaurant and several other diners quickly ordered one of the $2.79 glasses for themselves.
The wine, a 2023 Niagara blend called Socks and Sandals, is described as having robust notes of shoe leather and wet cotton, and currently has a record-low score of 88 on the Suckling Scale.
“If someone’s able to stomach it, there’s a good chance they’ll order three or four more glasses because it’s so ridiculously cheap,” said restaurant owner Edgar Birch. “But if they’ve got any sort of palate at all, they’ll immediately switch to our next most affordable wine, which is thirteen bucks a glass more.”
When asked why he did it, Graham remarked, “I knew it was a special occasion, so I wanted to do everything in my power to earn the biggest tip possible.”
And fortunately, his gambit paid off.
“I’ll never forget the service we received from that brave young man,” said Clymie. “He truly deserved every penny of our 7.5% gratuity.”