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Dec 1, 2010 12:01 PM

Discounted Wine at restaurants

Is it reasonable to request a restaurant to discount their wine list for a private party where some 20 bottles will likely be consumed. If so, by what %?

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  1. It really depends. If the restaurant needs to order a couple extra cases from the distributor because they don't have enough on hand, then maybe you could cut some sort of deal. But I assume you aren't drinking 20 of the same bottle, but, rather, some of this, some of that, some of another, etc.

    Otherwise, my inclination is to say no, don't expect a discount. Do you also plan to ask them to discount their food for your party?

    1. My inclination is that everything's negotiable, especially when you're buying "in bulk" (which is essentially what a large private party amounts to). But I suspect they'd blanche at the notion of a flat % discount on however many bottles would be consumed. Rather, I'd commit to a certain selection and certain amount, and suggest a price. Whatever you don't drink, cart home.

      You might also negotiate a corkage fee for the entire wine service, and bring your own bottles.

      1. I'm not sure about the laws in NY, but where I'm from (Boston area), it's illegal to discount alcohol. Every product must have only one price 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 30 days.

        That said, I think what you're asking for is pretty tacky. 20ish bottles isn't really that many. I sell more than that amount to singular parties on an almost daily basis.

        4 Replies
        1. re: invinotheresverde

          That is interesting info. Wow, it's tough to keep up with the local variables. Even on Hawai`i, there are different wine/liquor laws between Maui County, and O`ahu County. Hard to know.

          Thanks for that,


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            We frequent a restaurant just south of Boston that changes a lot of their winelist seasonally. At the end of each season they closeout (at discounted prices), the left over bottles. Very good savings on wine you might not otherwise purchase. Keeps the list rotating with lots of new selections.

            1. re: CocoDan

              Those bottles have to be offered to everyone, though, per MA law

              1. re: CocoDan

                I have seen the "closeouts" on several wine lists, and have availed myself of some - to my enjoyment. Not all sommeliers will "purge the list," but when they do, some great finds might be lurking. One might be able to do 2 bottles of ____, but at a great price, who cares?

                I also ask for any B-T-G "specials," or any other wines, not on the list. Sometimes, there are some great wines, that have been opened, but returned (usually buyer's remorse), that just do not appear. Most sommelier's, who I know, will be quick to make such wines known to me, and I greatly appreciate it. Had some MAJOR red Burgs, not that long ago, when some "high-roller" party passed on them. They were excellent, and sold to me as a real value.

                Just depends,


          2. IMO, 20 bottles is not a big number; but you can always ask.

            1. I have hosted several wine-oriented events at restaurants, and have discussed the pricing, usually with the sommelier. In most cases, they have been willing to work with me, but in a few, they have declined.

              As for a %, I present the details, and then ask them to review their pricing. Just a rough guess, but I'd say that most have gone with their cost + ~ 20%. Not great, but not bad either.

              Discuss the situation, and let them make you an offer. Much will likely depend on the restaurant, the times, their costs, the wine, and what you need in the way of wine-service.

              Good luck,