I know quite a few people—good, honest, hard-working, thirsty people—who have come to appreciate a local phenomenon known as “the Landskroener pour.” It’s nothing more than an exercise in common sense, albeit one that innocently challenged an industrial norm by asking one simple question: what do we mean when we ask for a glass of wine? Let me explain…
One evening, Theodore (call him Ted) Landskroener was having dinner out at the country club. As was (is) his wont, he ordered a glass of wine with his dinner. (Interruption: “What? I don’t know what he ordered, meat or fish; it doesn’t matter!”) Anyway… (Second interruption: “I don’t know. Red or white. What difference does it make? I’m trying to tell a story here!”) So the server takes Mr. Landskroener’s order and a few minutes later, returns with his glass of wine. The server sets it down on the table and turns to leave. Mr. Landskroener says, “Excuse me. I ordered a glass of wine. Not a half glass of wine. Take this back and bring me a glass of wine.”
There might have followed an explanation about a standard pour, some scientific or mathematical, normative, quantity-oriented explanation centered around the time-honored premise that in a restaurant or bar, the standard measure for a glass of wine is precisely 190 milliliters which is five ounces, or about one-fifth of a bottle of wine. Or that there is more glass than wine to allow the wine to breath (something wine plainly does not do!) and for the person drinking the wine, the pleasure of savoring its aroma before consuming it. As I said, such an explanation MIGHT have happened, but of course it didn’t. The server took one look at Mr. Landskroener’s purple face, picked up the half-full glass in front of him, and whisked it away. Moments later, she..(Interruption. “I think it was a ‘she.’ It really doesn’t matter. A ‘server’ is a gender-neutral term…I don’t know why we don’t use ‘waiter’ or ‘waitress’ anymore. We just say ‘server.’ That’s the way it is now and anyway, IT DOESN’T MATTER!”)
Anyway, as I was saying, or trying to say, the SERVER returned moments later with a new glass of wine for Mr. Landskroener, this one filled to the brim—and I mean the brim!—with wine. She/he set it front of Mr. Landskroener, careful not to spill a drop, and headed for the hills. Mr. Landskroener, for his part, took a moment to admire the physics of surface tension at work, then carefully raised glass to lip and took history’s first recored sip of a “Landskroener pour.” Ahhh…Finally, a glass of wine truly worthy of its name!
It takes courage to challenge deeply-held beliefs, norms that the rest of us sheep mildly accept as conventional wisdom or, worse, just as the way things are and ever-will-be. Maybe if we ordered a cup of coffee and the server returned with half a cup, we would have revolted long ago. Or maybe we’re lacking a spine. We’ve been waiting for someone, maybe a contemporary Oliver Twist, to challenge the establishment with a “Please, Sir, I want some more!” but then a revolution could hardly begin over something as mundane as a bowl of thin gruel. It had to begin with something more romantic, more like the proverbial nectar of the gods, something like…wine.
So you see, in the end, it took just one brave man—mild-mannered, unassuming (Interruption: loud SNICKER!) Ted Landskroener—to stand on the Concord (Grape) Bridge and fire that shot heard ‘round the world, the one that created an oenophile’s very own Big Bang theory. The once revolutionary notion that a glass of wine isn’t a glass of wine until it’s a full glass of wine has now been firmly established at almost every watering hole and establishment in town. So next time, when you ask for a glass of wine, just (politely) tell the server (Yes! S-E-R-V-E-R!) you want a Landskroener pour and he/she will know exactly what you mean.
I’ll be right back.
Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with homes in Chestertown and Bethesda. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy magazine. “A Place to Stand,” a book of photographs and essays about Landon School, was published by the Chester River Press in 2015. A collection of his essays titled “Musing Right Along” was published in May 2017; a second volume of Musings entitled “I’ll Be Right Back” was released in June 2018. Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com