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Apr 13, 2008 09:17 AM

Quince Corkage fee and policy

We went to Quince last night and did the 5 course tasting menu with addiitonal cheese course, bought a $45 botlle of white wine, spent another $75 on additional glasses of wine and also brought 1 bottle of red. They charged us the $35 corkage and when I asked if it could be removed, they outright refused (it's their policy, fine I accept ). I've been to a lot of high end restaurants and I've never had a restaurant refuse to remove corkage in a similar situation. I've made sure to tell all my frineds that this is their policy and I know that none of them will ever eat there because of this.

There are a lot of great and expensive restaurants in this town and standing alone with poor policies will not get you very far. I'm curious if anyone else has ever had a similar situation in the top tier restaurants like I mentioned, I never had the corkage charged when I bought other bottles.


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  1. I ordered one btl off the list and brought one to Fifth Floor and was still charged corkage, but I expected that.

    1. quince is a fine restaurant. you knew the rules going in. what didn't you understand?

      1 Reply
      1. re: steve h.

        My comment is that I've never had a restaurant refuse to refund corkage after a bottle was purchased (and even more glasses). I didn't misunderstand anything. I'm just incredibly surprised they didn't refund the corkage as every other restaurant I've been to has done.

      2. I would never think to ask a restaurant to waive a corkage fee if I also ended up buying a bottle or glasses of wine. Can other chowhounds comment on if this is a relatively normal request? Seems like if a restaurant were inclined to waive the fee if you buy enough of their wine, they would just go ahead and remove the fee without a request to do so.

        8 Replies
        1. re: lamlex

          i play by the rules. deb and i don't try to change them.

          1. re: steve h.

            that's too bad, that's half the fun of life.

            1. re: dk2463

              ...chuckles softly to self. i frequently press the limits but never cavil if negated. it's all part of the game.

          2. re: lamlex

            Often, the corkage is waived if you buy a bottle (eg 1 for 1) or are nice or spend a lot of money otherwise...there's no harm in asking, I suppose.

            1. re: lamlex

              In my experience, the better restaurants (Masa's, Michael Mina, Boulevard, etc) will take the charge off without you even asking. It's such a standard policy that I was surprised they left it on the tab but that is their policy.

              1. re: dk2463

                Boulevard lists their policy as such on their website. Neither Masa's nor Michael Mina have a corkage policy on their website that I could find.

              2. re: lamlex

                I agree. If the restaurant chooses to remove the corkage fee on its own -- fine. But I wouldn't dream of asking the restaurant to bend the rules in this scenario. We've eaten in restaurants where we've brought our own bottles of wine, paid corkage, and ordered other bottles at the restaurant. Never have they removed the fee. And I totally understand why they wouldn't.

                There's an interesting article in Food and Wine called Corkage for Dummies. It says "Buy at least one bottle, preferably for every bottle you bring. .... you'll look like a sport and you might even find the corkage waived." It's not quite the standard policy that the OP claims it is.


                I actually had no idea that it was proper etiquette to always offer a sommelier a taste. But reading the article, it makes sense.

                1. re: lamlex

                  >>>I would never think to ask a restaurant to waive a corkage fee if I also ended up buying a bottle or glasses of wine. Can other chowhounds comment on if this is a relatively normal request? <<<

                  Quince is located in San Francisco, where many diners have a nice collection of wine at home, due to SF's proximity to Napa, Sonoma and other winegrowing regions. It's very common for a resto to waive corkage for a bottle brought in if a bottle is also purchased from the wine list.

                  I nearly always bring wine to a resto, and I am quite familiar with corkage policies throughout the SF Bay Area. Only a few restos are adamant about refusing to waive corkage if a wine is also purchased. I've found quite often that the decision to waive corkage is the server's call. I always offer a sample of the wine to the server, and try to tell them a little about the wine if the server seems interested. I also tip very well. It's difficult for me to remember the last time I paid corkage. And, I never bring in a wine that is also on the wine list.

                2. It is nice when a restaurant waives corkage when you order off their list, but they are under no obligation to do so, and if they don't want to waive it, that's up to them. Some restaurants don't allow "outside" wine at all. I would never bring my own wine to a restaurant unless it was a special bottle that I knew wasn't on the list, and if I do so, I check corkage policies before I go, so I would never ask to be comped corkage. Even if you and your friends don't go to Quince, I don't think Quince is hurting.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: farmersdaughter

                    The bottle I brought was a 1996 Silver Oak, not on their list that was given to me for an anniversary present. I always follow the guidelines, check the wine list first and if there's nothing on it that really excites me then I dig an old bottle out of my cellar to bring along.

                    I also did check corkage policies ahead of time and fully aware of the $35 fee but was completely surprised that they didn't remove it after the purchase of additional botte and glasses. As I said, that's their policy but it isn't the way most high end restaurants handle this. As I said, it 's their policy. and my policy is to avoid restaurnats like that...there's plenty of others.

                  2. You can't have it both ways. You say you accept their $35 corkage, but you're trying to get around it. Based on their pricing, they don't want diners to bring their own wines.

                    Personally I wouldn't pay $35 corkage unless it was for an extraordinary bottle, but I wouldn't expect the restaurant to bend the rules either.

                    This is an interesting topic for a first post...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Windy

                      Actually, I've been posing to this site for years, just nothing "controversial" I guess :) I say I understand the corkage policy of $35 but I've never encountered a restaurant that wouldn't waive it once another bottle was purchased...and in addition to another bottle, several more glasses. On a $500 tab, $150 was wine (not counting the corkage).

                      Like I said, there's a lot of great restaurants in town, and you are right, they obviously don't want people to bring their own.