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Aug 4, 2011 01:52 PM

BYOB Etiquette Question

Here's a question for all you BYOB regulars. I'm planning on bringing a special occasion bottle to a NYC Steakhouse. However, since there will only be 2 of us and my wife hardly drinks, what would be the most appropriate way to handle what remains in the bottle? Even after offering the sommelier a taste I'd imagine we'd still have a 1/3 remaining. Sure I could finish it off, but I'd rather not due to the circumstances. Would it be poor etiquette to take it back? It's a reasonably expensive bottle ($1,000).


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  1. Absolutely not poor etiquette to keep what is yours.

    8 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      While I enjoy my wines, I feel better sharing, and especially if those, with whom I have shared, might never get to taste those wines. Maybe that is just me.

      Yes, it is mine, but then I usually have others in my cellar, and the servers probably do not, and many never will.

      I seem to be in the vast minority, but so be it.


      1. re: Bill Hunt

        I always leave what's left in the bottle at the restaurant and, especially if it is a very fine wine, tell the server that i am intentionally leaving it for him/her.

        to me, it seems petty or haughty to do anything else.

        1. re: westsidegal

          We just returned from a trip to Blackberry Farm, and besides the fabulous Schrader wines in the event, bought many wines from the list on the "off nights." With each, we offered our sommelier (there were three, out of five, working with us on that trip), plus sent a glass to the chef. We retained left-overs during the stay, and they purged and stored them for us. On the last night, we had several bottles, that were partially filled, and upon completing dinner, donated all to the staff. Now, during that stay, we had been gifted a wonderful Shiraz,. We shared that with Fred and Carol Schrader, plus their guest at another table. After we each had our glass, we passed it onto the staff, along with about 4 partial bottles. Heck, I still had to navigate our golf cart back to the cottage, and the trail twists and turns, plus has major hills. I had already reached my limit.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              All I know is that I really hope to end up sitting next to you in a restaurant someday, in hopes that my longing looks and drool will result in a taste of something my school teacher salary will never, ever, allow!

              1. re: alitria

                Signal me, and I will do my very best to make it happen. There is little more in life, than to share a nice wine with great folk, who will appreciate it, or at least offer their critique of it.

                I am the balding old dude, with a white beard, and probably a double-breasted blazer with a pocket square, sniffing and swirling.

                Just introduce yourself, and we will make it happen.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  And alitria, Hunt means it! I took him up on the same offer in Scottsdale and we had a splendid time and a nice lunch. But the rascal arranged to have it paid for without me having a chance to grab the bill.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    There are few things in life more satisfying to the soul than dining with a person who loves food and wine as much as you do! My husband and friends like good food, appreciate a good dinner, but don't feel compelled to spend three hours debating the finer points of the exact spice blend or savoring every sip of a good wine while trying it with little bites of everything on the table! Such a delight!

                    And I'm easy to spot, I'm the professionally dressed woman with pink hair and a nose ring. Trust me, there aren't too many of us!

      2. Does local jurisdiction allow you to take the wine back off the premises? If so, then no reason not to take it. Just be nice and tip more than you normally would for good service, as they are providing the wine service and stemware.

        A way to avoid even having to pack any wine off is to decant it at home, and have a glass or so then. When you return the decanted wine back to the bottle and take it with you, you can inform the sommelier or server that you've pre-decanted.

          1. re: wineglas1

            Haven't fully decided yet, but at this point I'm almost mulling over just leaving it at home...

            1. re: vision20

              From my reading, you're planning on a glass or so, your wife probably won't even have a 1/2 glass. I'd probably leave the wine home, order something from the resto's wine list, and have the $1000 wine at home another time with a wine-loving friend. Sounds like too much wine for this outing.

          2. Eugene is absolutely correct to point you to the law books!

            I forget the law of New York State, but here in California, it is perfectly legal for you to take any remaining wine in the bottle home with you -- regardless of whether you BROUGHT it or BOUGHT it -- as long as it's stored in the trunk (or in the far back section, for example, of a station wagon or SUV). If it is in the passenger compartment of the car, you can be arrested for violating Section 23225 and/or 23226 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC).

            OTOH, this is *not* the law in every state, and so I advise you to check first . . . .

            4 Replies
            1. re: zin1953

              As far as the law goes...according to

              NEW YORK – A WINEDOGGYBAG STATE – Approved by State Liquor Authority
              SLA 588 allows the removal of one partially consumed bottle of wine if (i) the restaurant has the appropriate wine or liquor license, (ii) the bottle of wine is purchased in connection with a full course meal, (iii) the patron consumes a portion of the wine with the meal, (iv) the wine is securely resealed, placed in a one-time-use tamper-proof transparent bag which is securely sealed and, (v) a dated receipt for the full course meal and wine is provided to the patron.

              I'm assuming all of the above points need to be met? Strangely it doesn't seem to allow for byob wine...?

              1. re: vision20

                What a silly country we live in! In my state, we have lots of BYOB restaurants, and it isn't unusual to see people simply putting the cork back in and walking out with what is left - no hermetically sealed bags, etc.

                1. re: jmoryl

                  Well, it is not just a state, but can be a county, or even a municipality. For county, think of Maui, which has totally different laws on this, than the other Hawai`i counties, like O`ahu.

                  Gotta' check closely,


                2. re: vision20

                  BYOB in New York can be an iffy proposition in and of itself. In some states, you can bring BYOB to ANY establishment; in others, only to those which do NOT sell alcoholic beverages; in others -- like NY -- only to those establishments that DO sell them . . . and, of course, only when and where the specific establishment permits . . . but then -- since it wasn't purchased *there* the question remains: can you take it home?

              2. You should check to make sure that the bottle you are going to bring is not carried on the restaurant's wine list. Give them a call and ask. This would give you an opportunity to inquire as to whether you will be allowed (by law) to take your leftover wine with you.

                5 Replies
                1. re: jpc8015

                  Yes -- speaking of etiquette -- that is a BIG no-no . . .

                  1. re: jpc8015

                    The establishment definitely does not have what I am bringing

                      1. re: vision20

                        Just do take out and don't worry about it.

                        1. re: vision20

                          Depending on the local laws (state, county and municipality), that might not make any difference, or might only be an element of etiquette. Check first.