Corkage Do’s And Don’ts

Bringing your own food or drink to a restaurant sounds like a bad idea, and often is, but many restaurants do allow patrons to bring their own bottle of wine.

Some dinner parties desire to bring their own bottle of wine because of its meaning or because its not offered at their favorite restaurant. When its allowed, many restaurants will charge a fee that accounts for the use of glassware and the work of the server. This practice is called corkage.

Corkage is a growing practice but before you head to a restaurant with a bottle of wine in hand, here are some simple corkage rules and tips.

First, call ahead to a restaurant and ask about their corkage policies. Most restaurants will already have a flat fee or a policy. If you call a restaurant that has not addressed the issue ask them what fee would be acceptable. If they do not allow you to bring your own wine they may be able to order your desired bottle in exchange for a kind request and enough notice.

If the restaurant allows corkage you will still want to verify that they are alright with you bringing your specific bottle of wine. Some places do not allow you to bring a wine that is already on their list.

If you do bring your own bottle to a restaurant be sure to talk to the local wait staff about your bottle. Be friendly and offer a taste. This can build goodwill, and who knows, it may result in a discount on the corkage fee. Plus, its always a good idea to develop a good relationship with those that work in the restaurant and wine business who may be able to offer tips on new wines and offer invites to special wine events.

Also, tip well to those that are serving your diner party because being able to bring your own wine to a restaurant is a great opportunity that restaurants are not required to offer.

It may not be required, but ordering a bottle from the restaurant is a good idea. It shows additional support to the establishment and builds more goodwill. Plus, its never a bad idea to have different offerings that can spur wine conversation and please more tastes.

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