Passing the Port

#1
After imbibing in several messes there seems to be a vast amount of differing traditions on this, obviously all involve passing to the left and pouring for a lady however:

1. Decanter not to leave table
2. Decanter not to touch table
3. Decanter lifted over your glass
4. Pour your own
5. Pour for the person on your left

Sure there are many more out there.

Is there a "correct" way or does it come down to Corps/Regt/Unit traditions or does it not matter as long as the Port keeps flowing?
 

elovabloke

ADC
Moderator
#2
BigRed said:
After imbibing in several messes there seems to be a vast amount of differing traditions on this, obviously all involve passing to the left and pouring for a lady however:

1. Decanter not to leave table
2. Decanter not to touch table
3. Decanter lifted over your glass
4. Pour your own
5. Pour for the person on your left

Sure there are many more out there.

Is there a "correct" way or does it come down to Corps/Regt/Unit traditions or does it not matter as long as the Port keeps flowing?
Pour yours and whoever is sitting to the left of you then give the 1000 yard stare to anyone who try's to move it on. :wink:
 
#3
As long as the Port keep flowing who really cares! Perish the thought of it running out at the last Regt Dinner I went to...that was even before everyone had a first fill!!!!!
 
#4
We had a tradition that no two decanters should be with in one place of each other iof they touched you were fined / raddished etc. The subbies had a rule that your glass should be empty when a decanter was passed to you.

The effect if not moderated by Dad was a that of ever increasing rates of decanter passing to avoid "clinkage" and fining and associated port consumption / erratic behaviour etc.
 

elovabloke

ADC
Moderator
#5
Scorptin said:
As long as the Port keep flowing who really cares! Perish the thought of it running out at the last Regt Dinner I went to...that was even before everyone had a first fill!!!!!
I presume they sacked the PMC :omg:
 
#11
vandyke said:
Never leaves the table.
I once got fined a crate for wandering around the mess drinking straight from the decanter.
Good man, if your ever in the west country you can join my ruby society. Meets most nights.
 
#12
Glad to hear that some of you approve.
I work down in nigeria now and each month a good bottle of port gets smuggled in. A wee tip to customs normally see's it through.


I believe the reason why port decanters are rounded at the base is so you can still pour without lifting it off the tabls. No idea why this tradition started.Perhaps a fellow arrser can enlighten me?
 
#13
vandyke said:
Glad to hear that some of you approve.
I work down in nigeria now and each month a good bottle of port gets smuggled in. A wee tip to customs normally see's it through.


I believe the reason why port decanters are rounded at the base is so you can still pour without lifting it off the tabls. No idea why this tradition started.Perhaps a fellow arrser can enlighten me?
Ships decanter - rounded base - stops the thing tipping over at sea - but lets not get the navy involved, it will never end. Decanters come in all shapes and sizes, play golf, win and get tons of the bloody things.
 
#14
I was told that not lifting the base from the table came from being on board ships, also why the base is far larger than the neck, which stops the decanter falling over in rough seas.

Personally by the time the port came round I was not too particulary bothered as I was normally 3 parts to the wind.

As no one could actually give me a valid reason not to lift it off the table, it got poured however it came to pass on that particular evening.

Think it is just pish of stuffy seniors trying to make traditions up as it suites.
 
#15
Redshaggydog said:
I was told that not lifting the base from the table came from being on board ships, also why the base is far larger than the neck, which stops the decanter falling over in rough seas.

Personally by the time the port came round I was not too particulary bothered as I was normally 3 parts to the wind.

As no one could actually give me a valid reason not to lift it off the table, it got poured however it came to pass on that particular evening.

Think it is just pish of stuffy seniors trying to make traditions up as it suites.
In our mess when you entered there was 2 waiters, One sherry & one port.
If you let the port waiter know that you will get a few beers for him if he keeps you supplied with port. You will find that he was never too far away when needed
 
#16
The Mess President removes the stoppers, and without serving himself, passes the decanters to the person on his left who serves himself, and then slides them to his left. This clockwise cycle is quite convenient for right-handed people. When there are ladies dining who are not members of the mess, it is customary for a diner to serve himself and then the lady on his left before passing the decanter on to the gentleman on her left, always continuing the clockwise rotation, In due course the principal guest receives the decanters from his right side, serves himself, and passes them to the President who then serves himself before replacing the stoppers. This not only ensures that the principal guest has been served, but will wait a very short time before the toasts begin; and the President has looked after all his guests before helping himself!
 
#17
Down Under its done like this

ORIGINS OF PASSING THE PORT
Passing the Port
After the last course, the tables are cleared, except for the port glasses, centre piece trophies, candelabra and floral arrangements, if any. Decanters of port are then placed on the table in front of the Dining President and Dining Vice President. If the gathering is large, decanters are placed at other strategic places on the table, but only when the two main decanters have commenced to be passed. The Dining President, followed by the Dining Vice President remove the stoppers from their decanters, pour a small amount into their glasses, and pass the port to their left. The other decanters are now placed, without stoppers, in front of other nominated members, who fill their own glasses and pass the port to the left. As each subsequent diner receives the decanter, they fill their glass and pass the port outside the glass to the next diner on the left who takes it without allowing the decanter to rest on the table. When the two original decanters reach the Dining President and Dining Vice President, each fills his glass, the action, which normally signals the imminence of a toast.

During the first passing of the port, which is in preparation of the Loyal Toast, it is customary in the Australian Army and RAAF to ensure that the decanters do not touch the table until all glasses have been filled. This action symbolises a toast and the chain of unbroken loyalty to the Sovereign and therefore nothing should come between a member and the Sovereign.

The custom in the RAN is that the decanted never leaves contact with the tabletop, which requires the glass to be lower than the tabletop during the pour. Where this is not possible then when the port decanter is lifted to pour, the decanter remains in contact with the glass rim throughout the pour and the glass remains on the table. This originated from the need at sea to keep the decanter steady at all times.

Silence is observed during the passing of the port and in the RAAF this is a mark of respect to departed Comrades-in-Arms.

In the case of ladies being at the dinner, the gentlemanly act of pouring for the lady on the left should occur, after which the pourer passes the decanter to the next member on the left of the lady.

As the decanters pass around the tables, stewards follow to replace empty decanters or to serve iced water to those who do not wish to drink port. When all have been served, the stewards, except for the Mess Supervisor, withdraw for the duration of the toast, after which they return to replenish the decanters and assist with further passing of the port, if required.

The Second Passing of the Port
After a short interval the Dining President may decide to circulate the port decanters again but during this and subsequent circulation, silence is not a requirement and the decanters may touch the tables and remain unstoppered. Whilst the second circulation of the port is in progress the Dining President rises and welcomes and introduces to the members his official guests. The Dining President may, at this time invite the senior guest to address the members.
 
#18
The method Cat Funt has mentioned is the way we do it in the Indian Army during Dinner Nights.

We do it with water for the Toast to the President and then it is replaced with Port and we then drink a toast to the Regiment.

The Band plays the National Anthem just before the Toast to the President.

During the dinner the band plays during the change of courses of the meal and when all have been served the course, the band is indicated discreetly so by the Mess Havildar (Sergeant) and it stops playing. This indicates to the PMC that the commencement of eating that course should start.

Dinner nights however is a pain since one can be turfed out if the silverware makes noise!
 
#20
On the table or off the table is a unit preference; In mine, the decanter never touched until it got back to the President.

Passing the decanter over the glass is a covert toast to Prince Charlie, i.e. a toast to those over the water. It should only be used by those regiments which were once loyal to the Stuarts.

Edited becuse I've had time to cogitate and ruminate over my very tame post.

Passing the decanter over the glass, is in fact, a seditious papist activity which should be considered treason. Culprits, when caught (or indeed when under suspicion) should be clapped in irons and sent to the Tower! :x
 

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