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Jul 4, 2008 04:52 PM

Advice on Colorado Corkage Please

We're moving to Vail for a winter of skiing and I was reading the posts about restaurants in Colorado generally. There was a comment in a thread that said Colorado as a state forbids corkage. What I want to know is if most restaurants allow you to bring your own bottle or not. The thread about a restaurant in Boulder called Fresca said the following:

"Bobby Stuckey, I am all that eager to fatten his wallet any further. While Bobby is a seemingly nice enough guy and he has forgotten more about wine than 99.9% of wine afficiandos know, I was definately put off by a comment he made at the F&W classic this year in Aspen. At the sommelier challenge, which he won, he made some comment to the effect that he was very thankful that Colorado as a state forbids corkage at restaurants (hence likely contributing to his motiviation to stay away from Cali with his restaurant). He indicated that because of this law, he has the ability to take his entire restaurant staff to Italy for a couple of weeks a year. Now, I am all for a restaurant making a fair profit, but I take issue at essentially boasting how the restaurant's inflated wine prices fund such an extravagant indulgance.

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Bhutani Aug 28, 2007 10:55PM "

So, to repeat, my question is this: can you bring your own bottle of wine to any restaurant in Colorado and not be charged corkage? (Or, is this Bobby guy getting a fat wallet because restaurants forbid bringing your own bottle of wine? Or is there no general rule at all.) Thanks, aledm

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  1. 1) The restaurant is called Frasca, not Fresca.

    2) The state forbids corkage because restaurants could not limit a patrons consumption of their own bottle, thereby fudging the accountablity issue.

    3) Bobby isn't a "seemingly nice enough guy", he's an extrordinarily nice person, with a dedication to customer satisfaction that is unparalleled.

    4) I very much doubt that he's getting rich because of Frasca doesn't charge corkage- I think that your quote is misconstrued or misheard. I can't for the life of me seeing Bobby saying such an outlandish thing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

      I found the thread in question, and I don't think you read the responses to the quote above.

      And as for the staff trip- do you have any idea how much loyalty and education that trip provides? This translates into a better customer experience for YOU. And I'm not sure about this now, but the restaurant (at least the first year) paid for everything *but* the flight- once you land it's all on them, but you have to get there. They may pay the whole thing now, I don't know.

    2. There have been recent changes in Colorado liquor laws, but bringing your own wine to a restaurant is not, as far as I know, among. If you do not finish the wine that you ordered, you may now take the remainder of bottle out with you.

      On another matter, who is "Bhutani" and what gives him/her the authority to write that Stuckey "has forgotten more about wine than 99.9% of wine afficiandos know"? That is a nervy and totally unsubsantiated comment. In the 20-odd years that the Court of Master Sommeliers has existed in the US, something like 170 have passed their master sommelier certification in the entire country. Stuckey is one, and two (or maybe three) sommeliers that he has mentored have also passed that level: Nate Ready, Jesse Becker and perhaps Doug Krenik. Also, I doubt that Stuckey would have won the sommelier challenge at Food & Wine if he were not at the top of his game.

      1. First of all, I'm not a Frasca groupie but if you're going to make comments about a restauranteur then you should really try to get the business name correct.

        It is illegal to bring your own alcohol to a restaurant in Colorado, period. Most restaurants run on a very slim profit margin and alcohol is a large contributor to their success. I've seen wine mark-ups that are more than reasonable and some that are completely outrageous. Frasca's prices are in line with other places of its caliber. By the way, have you looked at their wine list to see if the prices are greatly inflated to make your judgement call? If Bobby wants to earmark some of his profits to take his staff to Italy, that's not a problem with me, why should it irk you? You don't like it, you don't eat there.

        And, if you don't like the liquor laws in Colorado then either don't eat here or lobby to change them. Sheesh.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wagger

          I'm surprised about your concerns about corkage in the Gore Creek and Eagle River Valley, during shoulder seasons the restaurants offer really good wine deals. During peak season (summer and winter) everyone has to make enough to pay the rent. Things up here run on how locals take care of locals. If you have a special wine you want to enjoy during dinner, talk it over with the manager before you go, they will work something out.

          If you want to stock your cellar (or closet) with some special wines, do what the rest of us do, make a Denver run periodically. By the way, Applejack delivers once a month to the high country.

        2. Hi guys, boy am I sorry that I misspelled the name of the restaurant in Boulder called Frasca. Boy am I sorry that I quoted the original post in asking my question. It's a simple question and I feel like I've offended everyone in the State of Colorado. Sorry!

          Anyway, to the person in this thread who said (and again I quote at my own risk) "It is illegal to bring your own alcohol to a restaurant in Colorado, period.", I commend for your reading enjoyment the description of the Marriott Vail, Ocotillo Restaurant, where in it says (and I quote again at my risk): "Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies)," [For the entire page go to:


          So, I repeat my question: can you bring your own bottle of wine to any restaurant in Colorado and not be charged corkage? [except Ocotilla, that is]? This is all in good humor, you know. I'm just trying to get the facts straight and appreciate all of your responses (I know you have better things to do).

          7 Replies
          1. re: aledm

            You might be able to get an answer from the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board ( or the Colorado Restaurant Association (contact pres Peter Meersman,, whose responsbilities include government and legislative affairs).

            1. re: aledm

              Your transgressions were not only in spelling (which continue in the Ocotillo/Ocotilla variety), but in using a third hand bitter mis-quote to slam a dedicated and well-loved professional whom you have never met. It's a simple lack of respect issue. Some of us are delighted to have access to Mr. Stuckey's brain and wine list, and know that he has, and still does, work very hard for it. You could have asked the very simple question without the quote, why you felt that you could not do so is the puzzlement.

              But to the point. Perhaps some municipalities have found ways around the corkage laws, you'll just have to do that legwork yourself. You asked a general question to which you have received an appropriately general reply. Try calling the restaurants in particular that you wish to go to and asking them their policy.

              1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                From the Colorado Liquor and Licensee Handbook:

                "Can I bring my own alcohol beverages into a place that has a liquor license?"

                "It is also unlawful to bring alcohol beverages into any place that is licensed to sell or serve alcohol beverages, i.e., restaurants, sports stadiums. Similarly, it is unlawful to bring alcohol beverages onto an unlicensed public business, i.e., restaurants, for consumption due to the prohibition on public consumption."


                1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                  Although, in all fairness, to say that "Bobby has forgotten more about wine than 99.9% of wine afficiandos [sic] know" is actually a compliment, not a slam, as far as I've ever heard that phrase used (i.e., he knows so much he can afford to forget a lot and still know more than self-styled experts).

                  Since the person who wrote the remark quoted doesn't appear to be contributing to the conversation, it's worth noting that he started his remark by trying to present his argument fairly. I don't see him as bitter, just misinformed.

                  Ultimately, though, it sounds like there's no BYO in CO at all. That can all get very confusing, I know; back in Boston, there were restaurants that allowed it but since it was illegal, finding out which those restaurants were or even finding out how to find out was tough.

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    It was the "fatten the wallet" part that bothered me. I think that the question could have been asked without invoking any particular individual at all. Especially using a quote that did not represent that person in the best light- implying that he gouges his customers on the wine list for extravangances.

                    1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                      Understood. Totally agree with you that it's a mischaracterization.

                      Meanwhile, this is a good thread in which to celebrate the fact that, though there may be no BYO, liquor sales on Sunday are officially legal as of today! Woohoo!

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        TTMG- indeed a great day yesterday for wine shoppers. First time in 75 years we get to buy liquor on Sunday.

                        To Aledm- I had a hard time adjusting to the "no corkage" in this state and at first thought it was simply restaurants creating policy instead of enforcing. I went so far as to contact the liquor board (this was before the days of on-line .gov sites) and found out that yes- the practice was illegal as a poster above clearly stated. I believe the Ocotillo (crap... I hope I spelled it right!) listing on Opentable is a database-created typo.

                        That said- I've been a scofflaw three times in Colorado by bringing in my own wine with advance approval from an owner or sommelier. I obviously won't say where but it's possible. Problem being is you need to have at least a small relationship as a customer first to earn the trust and you can't establish that as an out-of-stater.

                        I'd like to see the state allow this eventually as it would possibly help drive down some of the outrageous wine-pricing we see.

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