Bringing your own bottle of wine has gained popularity in this wimpy economy. No surprise there. If you’ve thought about joining this trend, but don’t know how, here are the basics:
• Call ahead. Asking permission takes two seconds and saves you a world of embarrassment. Being turned down is rare, but it does happen.
• Corkage charge. Expect to pay anywhere from $5-$20 for the restaurant staff to uncork and serve your wine. A magnum may cost more than a standard bottle, FYI. And beware of restaurants that base their fee on what kind of wine you bring. That’s not kosher.
(Tangent/trivia: “Corkage” only sounds like a made-up word. It actually dates back to 1838.)
• Bring good stuff. If the wine costs less than the corkage fee, don’t bother. The restaurant staff will get a good laugh and your service might suffer — rightly or wrongly. Pittsburg.About.Com says when selecting a BYOB wine, “Unusual or offbeat works as well…as the expensive wine.” Leave the Two Buck Chuck at home.
Other tips include sharing your wine with the manager, owner, or sommelier. You might even get a reduced corkage fee out of it.
You’ll also want to tip like you bought the wine in-house. This will compensate for the wine menu profits the restaurant and servers count on.
BYOB “don’ts” include:
• Asking to borrow the waiter’s corkscrew. Don’t do that
• BYOF (Bring Your Own Food). Talk about tacky.