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Oct 25, 2006 10:23 PM

BYOB and pay a $25.00 corking fee when going to a recognized restaurant that has a wine list?

It has been suggested to me that BYOB is the way to go to avoid the poorly selected but expensively priced wine selections that can appear even a 4 star Chicago restaurant.

I have not heard of doing this before and just wonder if it isn't
a bit tacky at best.

I have no problems with BYOB when the restaurant suggests this but never have done this with a highly regarded restaurant with a wine list.

Your Ideas Please

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  1. There is nothing wrong with bringing your own wine. I do it very often at very, very high end restaurants. $25 is not an unusual price for corkage. However, there are some very good rules/etiquette for bringing wine...

    1. NEVER bring wine that is already on the restaurants wine list. This is a cardinal sin.

    2. ALWAYS bring a very good to great (or better) bottle of wine. Don't bring the $15 bottle just save a couple of bucks.

    3. ALWAYS order at least one bottle of wine from the house. We almost always bring wine to restaurants, and they are usually reds. We usually buy a bottle of white or Champagne from the house to enjoy with appetizers or early courses. Also, so restaurants will waive the corkage fee for one bottle for each bottle you buy from them.

    4. ALWAYS share a taste... if you followed rules 1 and 2, you've brought a very nice bottle that isn't available in the restaurant, and therefore the sommelier, manager, chef... someone would likely really appreciate a small tasting pour. It is the gracious and right thing to do.

    I've always followed all of the rules above at some of the finest restaurants in LA (Spago, Valentino, Melisse, Providence... plus many more) and they've always welcomed us heartily and have had many great experiences.

    Above all, make sure to call ahead and check the restaurants corkage policy so you are completely informed.

    1. Laws differ among states.

      It is legal to BYO wine in California (if the place has a liquor license). It is not legal in some other states. So first you need to check the law in Illinois.

      It is definitely not tacky if you follow the rules as "woojink" suggests.

      1. I pay fat corkage fees all the time, but i would say that the idea of ALWAYS buying a wine from the house is a bit much. If we are bringing a good bottle of red and dining as a couple, we're not even going to finish that off. Buying a $60 bottle of champagne on top of that is excessive.

        Generally speaking unless a restaurant is always filled up, with wine being purchased by every table, corkage is in their interests if they price at about 2 x the cost of their lowest priced red by the glass, less a buck or two. The folks bringing in 90 bordeaux or 94 cabernets aren't cannibalising their sales of Rosemount.