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Mar 18, 2007 11:08 AM

First time bringing wine to a restaurant

We're going to a new Patina restaurant next weekend and as a promotion, they allow you to bring wine w'out charging corkage. My husband was hesitant - not wanting to seem penny-pinching, but I figure why not take advantage of this chance to drink better wine than we would order off a wine list?
Common sense dictates we wouldn't bring $12 everyday wine. Could I get some advice please about how crazy we need to get w/the wine we bring so as not to insult the sommelier? Also, any tips on how to most graciously do this? I assume I'd bring the wine discreetly in my NYBuilt wine bag. If we're not paying corkage, is there any extra tipping we need to do? If so, how much and to whom? Thanks!

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  1. Well...bring a wine you'll like. If you can get a look at the menu ahead of time, you might take it to your wine shop and try to pick out something that will complement what you think you'll order. you needn't go nuts on buying an expensive wine to bring, though. Normally, the restaurant would be getting their corkage fee regardless of whether you brought a $6 TJ's special or a $300 bottle you've had stashed for ages. Don't worry about insulting anyone.

    In my mind, when it comes to tipping, you should tip whomever opens/pours/serves the wine just as you would if the wine came off of the restaurant's wine list. You should tip just as though you purchased the wine from the restaurant.

    1. it would be considerate to let the restaurant know ahead of time, so they can set your table with proper glassware.

      it would also be nice to order some alcohol from them, cocktails before or glasses of champagne or something. don't worry about the sommelier -- he or she knows about the promo. it's nice form however, if you bring something not on their list.

      agree with the above about tipping.

      1. Tipping when you bring wine is always a touchy subject. Mostly it depends on the cost of the wines on the list. I normally add about $15-20 to the tip when I bring my own wine, and I always give some to the sommelier and/or the server. A good rule of thumb is to tip as if you purchased a bottle from the list. Of course, that brings up the issue of how much to tip on the wine as opposed to what you tip (%) on the food. There is quite a bit of diversity in the opinions on this issue, especially when the wine costs a lot.

        One other thing to remember, it is very bad manners to bring a wine that is available on the restaurant's wine list. I normally call ahead and let the restaurant know that I am bringing wine, and if possible what I am bringing in order to make sure it isn't on thier list. (That isn't usually a problem but that is a different story.)

        1. Dinwiddie is absolutely right: the only "sin" about bringing in your own wine is to bring something to the restaurant that is already on the list. If you are not sure if your wine is ont he list, call in advance and ask.

          And as the others have said, tip as if you bought (not brought) the wine.

          1. Thank you very much for your advice. The wine list isn't online but I will call the restaurant and ask. May I ask a more specific question about tipping as we usually don't go to restaurants w/sommeliers....will there be a line on the credit card bill for the sommelier (am I dating myself thinking of a line for the captain!?) or would we discreetly slip him a $20? Thank you.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mocro

              You only tip the sommelier if he/she helped you choose a wine. If you are going to tip the sommelier, a bill discretely given with a handshake of thankyou is the best way to go. There is not normally a line on the credit receipt for a separate tip for the sommelier like there is for the server.