Open That Bottle Night!
Open That Bottle Night is here!

Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) is awesome.  Never heard of it?  Get ready for a good story.

Now in its 20th year, Open That Bottle Night was started by Dorothy J. Gaiter and her husband and writing partner, John Brecher.  The idea is to stop saving that “special bottle” for an occasion that might never happen. Instead, pull the cork (or crack that screw top) and take pleasure in the wine with “special” friends and family.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Becher
Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Becher – founders of Open That Bottle Night

Each year, Open That Bottle Night takes place wherever you are on the last Saturday in February.  This year it’s on Saturday, February 24th.

Wine in itself always has a story.  It might be the story of the winemaker and how she or he came to that passion and bottled it.  Or, it could be a story of when and how you came to have that bottle of wine through a purchase or gift. Or maybe you found a forgotten bottle on a dusty bottom shelf in a wine shop  (that’s where my bottle is from).  It’s time to drink that bottle. That is the soul of the Open That Bottle Night!

My Mom always says, “Wear your good shoes every day. Don’t wait for that special occasion.”  OTBN is a lot like that.

The story behind Open That Bottle Night came about when a young African-American journalist who wrote about race relations walked into the Miami Herald for her first day of work. Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher spotted each other and promptly fell in love.

That partnership in life and work (now in its 45th year) ultimately gave birth to a runaway popular wine column for the WSJ.  Dorothy and John became inspired as readers wrote to them about a special bottle, wondering its worth/value and whether it was time to drink it.  More often than not, the pair would advise drinking the wine now! So, in 1999, the official OTBN was born — dedicating a night once a year to Open That Bottle of Wine!

Open That Bottle Night for memories
Open That Bottle Night is for memories.

After the first OTBN, stories flooded Dorothy and John’s inbox.  Stories arrived of lost and found love, disaster and recovery, chance happenings, meetings and memories of trips and discoveries….proof that every bottle has a story.  OTBN is now an annual event celebrated in homes, pubs and restaurants worldwide.

Use the excuse of Open That Bottle Night to throw an impromptu party with friends all bringing special bottles along with memories.  Purchase a bottle you’ve been wondering about, or open a bottle of wine you always enjoy, or pull out that bottle you’ve been saving. What are you waiting for?  This is about now and your story.

After leaving WSJ, Dorothy and a few colleagues launched the online column, Grape Collective, where they talk about wine.

To quote Dorothy from a recent interview about the annual event:  “Hopefully the wine tastes as good as you expect, but what you’re really tasting is the story behind the wine”. “Open That Bottle Night says: ‘I care for you, let’s get together over a bottle of wine. We’ve had rabbis and priests use OTBN as examples in their sermons. What we’re saying is don’t wait until the end of February or whenever to drink that bottle of wine. Do it now; tomorrow isn’t promised.”

To riff on my Mom’s advice:  Wear your good shoes, drink your good wine and enjoy the story….

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Stacie Hunt, Certifed Silver Pin Sommelier

Photos Source: Dracaena Wines,,

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