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Another bringing wine to a restaurnt question, please

  • m

We took wine to Patina last night w/no problems thanks to your good advice. Tonight a slightly different situation. We're going to a very nice French place w/no liquor license so they invite patrons to bring wine. My husband and a friend are drinking red so they'll finish the bottle. I'm drinking white and will only have 2 glasses. Is it bad form to take the rest of the bottle home? It's a nice bottle. Thanks so much.

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    1. Here in PA where BYO restaurants abound, we're often confronted with the same situation. We never question WHETHER to take it; the question, rather, is why leave it? However, off and on over the years there have been tidbits of conversation regarding the legality of driving with an open and re-corked bottle of anything alcoholic in the passenger compartment of the car.. No one knows where the rumor originated or whether there's any truth to it. But, to be on the safe side, we always tuck our stoppered bottles into a safe corner of the trunk.

      1. It's your wine and you definitely can take it home. OR if the meal is fabulous, you can leave it for the chef.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mojoeater

          It depends on the state law. In DC while it is legal to take wine to a restaruant, it is not legal to drive or even walk with an open bottle in your posession. Other than that, mojoeater had the best advice.

          1. re: dinwiddie

            What they said. Also, if my server is good and seems interested in wine I frequently pour him/her a glass.

        2. take it home! i would also check to see if they have decent stem. you didn't have to worry about patina having cheap/bad stems but some other places where they don't have liquor lics might not even have wine stems? i have stem carrying case that i take just in case....hate to drink good bottle with water goblet ;)

          1. People are right that rules vary by state, but I know in SF when fiance and I were hesitant about buying a whole bottle the servers would just say "Why not!? It's cheaper per glass and you can take the rest home" and tuck whatever was left in a bag just like a doggie bag. So it's definitely legal to take home your wine in CA, and bad form only if you go to some kind of weirdly prudish restaurant.

            1. 1) Laws DO indeed vary by state.

              2) Within the state of California, it is perfectly legal to take an unfinished bottle of wine home with you, PROVIDED that it is kept in the trunk when you drive home, or in the very back part of a station wagon/SUV. Otherwise, you can be arrested for driving with an open container in the passenger compartment. (Note: this does not apply when in a taxi or limo.)

              4 Replies
              1. re: zin1953

                legally, if you bought a bottle at a restaurant, the restaurant normally has an on-premise alcohol license meaning they have a license to sell you alcohol for consumption on the premises. very rarely do restaurants have on and off - premise sale licenses. accordingly, if you bought a bottle off the list and the restaurant did not have an off sale license, you technically would not be able to take the bottle home. in most cases, the wait staff and bartenders don't really understand the licensing and legality and would just put it in a bag for you.

                in the case of a byo bottle, unless the law restricts byo, you can do anything you want with bottle. personal property.

                personally, unless i was walking or taxing, i would not want to run the risk of having an open container in the car even if it were in the trunk.

                1. re: waffleman

                  One is always free to take, or not take, whatever risks one wants. That said, I will simply say that -- in both the back compartment of station wagons, in the trunk of passenger cars, and in the bed of a pick-up truck -- having an open bottle is legal *in California*. I say this based upon:

                  -- 35 years in the California wine trade (meaning 35 years of driving with open containers in my car, including the occasional traffic stop);

                  -- Section 23225(a)(1) and 23255(a)(2) of the California Vehicle Code, which state:

                  23225. (a) (1) It is unlawful for the registered owner of any motor
                  vehicle to keep in a motor vehicle, when the vehicle is upon any
                  highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section
                  23220, any bottle, can, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic
                  beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of
                  which have been partially removed, >>>unless the container is kept in
                  the trunk of the vehicle.<<<
                  (2) If the vehicle is not equipped with a trunk and is not an
                  off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification, as defined in
                  Section 38012, the bottle, can, or other receptacle described in
                  paragraph (1) >>>shall be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is
                  not normally occupied by the driver or passengers.<<< For the purposes
                  of this paragraph, a utility compartment or glove compartment shall
                  be deemed to be within the area occupied by the driver and
                  >>Emphasis added.<<<

                  Many states have similar laws, but I would suggest checking with your state's Vehicle Code first.

                  1. re: zin1953

                    First tiime that I encountered the "take it home," option was in Hawai`i (Big Island to be exact). When the sommelier mentioned it, we then ordered three bottles for the two of us, to compliment each course. Now, we were staying at the resort, so transportation was not a question. They also "purged" the bottles, re-corked them, and had them delivered to the room with a rose.

                    Now, for vehicle & beverage laws, one can drive up to any of the Daiquiri shops in New Orleans, order a 5 gal. to-go drink, and get as many long straws, as there are passengers in the auto... ! Go figure. When I moved from NO to Vail many years ago, I was almost arrested every other night, until I learned the laws in CO.


                  2. re: waffleman

                    And, some states (AZ being one), have laws on BYOW. If the establishment has more than x seats, AND a license for wine/liquor, they cannot allow BYOW. Now, this is often not enforced, but exists. It's too bad that each state can have such different laws on the same thing - and that coming from a "state's rights" advocate. It gets very confusing, especially if you travel a bit.


                2. In NJ, the state govt prefers you take the open bottle home with you. They feel if they outlawed it more ppl would overdrink so as not to waste it and then proceed to drive home under its heavier influence.

                  This may be the reasoning of many states.

                  1. As many have said, it differs from state to state.

                    In NYState, it is illegal to have an open bottle or can in your car or on the street. About a year or so ago, the law was amended so that restaurant guests can take unfinished wine home.....with strict limitations. The bottle must be more than 1/2 drunk, it must be placed in a special clear bag which has been sealed (the glue is such that it destroys the bag when you reopen it) and a copy of the check from the restaurant must be included and visable. If the bag is unsealed, the restaurant faces stiff fines. If the bag has been opened by the customer before getting it home, the guest faces stiff fines. If the bag was found open in a car involved in an accident................you get the picture.

                    The same holds for BYO bottles. Either you finish it there, bag it properly or face going to jail.

                    NYState liquor laws are very strict and our new Gov has made it his mission to make sure they are obeyed.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Le Den

                      I wonder if the strictness is due to the popularity of mass transit in NY as opposed to other states where everyone drives.