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Oct 2, 2008 12:31 PM

Waive the corkage???

We went to a new much touted restaurant on a Tuesday a couple weeks back. We reviewed the menu on line but could not review the wine list so I brought a couple bottles and left them in the car as back up. I found a Pinot I liked and ordered it but, alas, they were out. They brought what they considered an acceptable substitute (a wine that retails for about 1/2 of the one I ordered) and said it would be $65 instead of the $75. I agreed to taste it and it was not remotely to my taste (and nothing close to the Pissoni). I went to the car and got my own.

Was I wrong in being surprised that they hit me for corkage? Just curious.

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  1. If their menu lists a corkage fee, then yes, I think you were wrong to be surprised.

    It would have been a nice gesture on their part to waive the fee since they were out of your first choice, but I would not consider this an instance where a waiver is required.

    1. The courtship dance involved in corkage waving is, as any other courtship dance, a complicated ritual, full of hidden and/or implied messages.
      Most probably you made a faux pas somewhere along the line.
      Absent that I'd say yes, corkage should have been waived.

      1. eatemup..
        when they opened your wine, did they mention a corkage fee or was it listed on the wine list?
        they should of waived the fee since they didn't have the wine you ordered and the second bottle was not to your liking..
        just curious..what was the corkage fee?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Beach Chick

          I do not believe it was mentioned or listed. I always assume there is a charge and would have happily paid it had I walked in my bottle from the start. The fee was $15 - not bad.

          1. re: eatemup

            were you out celebrating my birthday on the 16th too eatemup?
            imo, if it is not listed or mentioned, I feel the restaurant should not of charged you..$15 is a very fair corkage to divulge the restaurant?

        2. Places that serve wine discourage BYO by having high corkage fees. Afterall, they want to sell a bottle to you as part of your dinner. They should always mention that there is a fee if it's not in print on the menu. I would have refused the substitute wine and went back to the menu for another selection of my liking, not theirs.

          1. It is very rare that a restaurant with even a moderate wine list will not charge a corkage fee if you bring your own. I wouldn't even expect it to be listed on the wine menu, but expect it to be the rule. You should ask in advance if there is a corkage before bringing your own and also ask if the wine you choose to bring is already available on their list.

            If a restaurant has their menu on their own web site, they should also have their wine list posted (or a good representation).

            Just because they were out of your first choice does not mean you should get a pass on corkage. I would have gone back to their list for a second choice of my own and if there was nothing on the list I liked, I would accept the corkage and then decide if the other attributes of the restaurant merited my return.

            As for having the corkage waived, it depends on the bottle you are bringing in. If it is truly a rare wine that the restaurant would not have been able to provide and adds glamour to the restaurant setting, and you offer tastes to the sommelier, server etc, they may consider waiving, but otherwise, I would expect to always pay a corkage fee.