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BC allows BYOW (Bring your own wine) in restaurants effective today

Staring today restaurants can allow patrons to bring their own wine, subject to a corkage fee.

News release: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2012/07...

Marquis Wine Cellars is starting a list of participating restaurants and their policies: http://blog.marquis-wines.com/

Chambar is 1st: $25.00 corkage.

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  1. Fray on Fraser is the lowest so far: $5.
    Alex Tung's new place in Bby, Cotto Enoteca (not yet open): $20.

    I think they will all range between $15-25. With outliers like Fray hoping to use it as a loss leader to bring in more customers. Beer centric joints will probably low ball as well.

    1. West: $50.00 a bottle
      Le Parisienne: (which is not open for coffee and croissant at 8:00 am, despite their website) $20.00 bottle

      1 Reply
      1. re: Anne M

        $50/bottle for corkage is obscene. I lived in Australia for a number of years and Sydney's Tetsuya's - at the time one of the top 10 restaurants in the world according so someone who claims they should be able to nominate those things - charged $20/bottle.

        West is no Tetsuya's.

        That said, I think $15 (or $20ish in a high end restaurant) is completely fair.

      2. I never thought I'd live to see this day! Thanks for the heads up.

        1. Saves me airfare to/from Montreal !

          (just kidding)

          1. This is very cool, but I'm curious about the last etiquette point. It suggests not bringing any BC wines in for corkage. Since I try to buy local as much as possible for "everything", wine included, this seems odd to me. Anyone know why this is a bad thing? Thanks.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jzone

              I wonder if that's less about corkage etiquette and more about their own grudge/stance against import wines masquerading as BC wines.

              1. re: Jzone

                As queueueuq says, it's actually an etiquette point on "bottled in" BC wines. These are brands like Copper Moon that are commodity grade grapes from high yield/low quality vineyards in the central valley of California and Chile that don't even meet local standards of production. They are exported and vinified here to sell as a value brand. Bringing in a wine like this is a bit of a signal to the restaurant...

              2. Sorry, but this is bullshit. How about lower the tax on alcohol to make it more afforable or giving restaurants a discount on alcohol(they receive none and pay full bc liquor store prices) so they can sell it at reasonable prices. This just lets the BC government keep screwing everyone but act like their doing you a favour.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: tdeane

                    Why is it BS?

                    It does not solve everything, so what, no single policy does. There are many other places ithe world that have BYO and now we do too. Some of us like that.

                    I'm not in support of lowering alcohol taxes myself but I support a discount for restaurants.

                  2. It sucks that this doesn't apply to beer. But I bet I could sneak in an Upright Brewing or Brooklyn Sorachi Ace since they're shaped like wine bottles anyways. It's even better that it would be served in wine glasses :D Looks like champagne! But a $20-25 corkage fee on a $10-15 bottle of beer would make me just eat at home more often and eat out less :/

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: flowbee

                      Does anyone have a link to a lisf lf all participating restos, a quick look yeilded nothing

                      1. re: vandan

                        I don't think there is one apart from what Marquis is doing. Best to call the resto you're going to I guess.

                        1. re: vandan

                          This was just announced yesteday. There isn't a full list yet as most restaurants probably haven't even figured out what their policy is. There will be an app soon enough, I bet.

                          1. re: Anne M

                            I found this list on Twitter:

                            http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2012/07/br...

                            Hint: search for "corkage fee" on Twitter for a bounty of reactions.

                            Victoria list: http://victoria.intoxicant.ca/corkage...

                            Smoken Bones in Victoria promises to charge $0! (https://twitter.com/Smoken_BonesVic/s...) Too bad according to the Internets they suck at bbq.

                      2. I'm excited, as I spent my 4 years in university raving to my friends back home about Montreal's BYOW restaurants. Although, in Montreal I paid less than $25 (often $0)!

                        1. As a server, I am concerned about the loss of income that BYOW will bring. The owner pockets the corkage fee to cover lost profit to them and nothing goes to the servers who now looses potential gratuities left on wine purchases . Apparently now everyone will flock to Restuarants that offer BYOW . So we as servers, will off set our losses by a dramatic increase of people dining out .Atleast that's what we're led to believe.We will see !

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Marveymark

                            I'm personally not too concerned about servers making less money. I can barely afford to eat out as it is.

                          2. Under the new law, are participating restaurants (and/or wait staff) responsible to keep tabs on the (total) amount of alcohol consumed by customers, those purchased in the restaurant and those customers bring in ?

                            On a related note, I also wonder how closely can wait staff keep a keen eye on the bottles brought in by customers (ie: additional same-brand bottles hidden in packs, bags etc, along with bottle opener) ?

                            27 Replies
                            1. re: LotusRapper

                              Yes to the first question. (It's in the press release linked in the first post on this thread):

                              "Licensees are still liable if patrons are over-served or liquor service is provided to minors. As in other provinces, there are no plans to broaden this beyond wine to include beer and spirits."

                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                I think if wait staff can't tell if there are multiple bottles by noting the volume level, the restaurant needs to hire more people

                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                  There will always be people who try to take the p**s I suppose but the idea is to produce the bottle(s) you want to drink and have the wait staff serve them just as if they came from the wine cellar of the restaurant -- you wouldn't expect to bring your own bottle opener to open a bottle from their stock, right? That is also why Marquis says to tip the staff as though you bought the wine from the establishment (though to Marvymark's point above, that is a bit tricky as patrons are not likely to add a markup on a bottle they've purchased themselves). It's sorta like tipping on the full value of the meal even if you are applying a discount -- the servers did the same amount of work and don't deserve to be stiffed just because you brought your own beverage or you have a coupon. Surely Vancouverites can get their head around this idea.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    I think the clever restaurateurs will take advantage of the new laws. I have seen places (not here, of course) that have a wine store attached to a restaurant...so you can buy your wine then go in to the restaurant and drink it.

                                    It's interesting that charging corkage is seen as some sort of win-win situation. It sounds like the restaurant industry is split on the issue, the servers are concerned about the loss of income, and the consumer is "given a choice", but is still being over-charged. The only clear winners here are the BCLDB.

                                    One thing I don't see in my research - can you take home unfinished bottles of wine?

                                    1. re: fmed

                                      Could you take home unfinished bottles of wines bought from the establishment before the change? I have a feeling not, given the laws against transporting open alcohol...

                                      1. re: grayelf

                                        Ah yes of course. It came up in my research on the effect of the introduction corkage on the restaurant biz (some jurisdictions allow it, but obviously our motor vehicle laws will trump that).

                                        In any case, corkage seems like it is a pretty divisive topic anywhere it is being considered or introduced.

                                        Still snickering at West's $50 corkage....which is pretty much an FU to the idea.

                                        1. re: fmed

                                          I checked a couple of the highest end places in SF and they are $35 so West's $50 does seem a bit out there: http://www.sanfranciscocorkagefees.co...

                                          In fact, the only places I've been that allow BYOW are in SF. It's always been at Chowdowns where a lovely and well-informed local Hound totes along a few gorgeous bottles of wine picked especially for the occasion and the food. These are not cheap bottles to start with (bearing in mind that pretty much ALL wine is way more affordable in SF) and they are not intended to "get around" paying for a bottle from the restaurant. Rather, they are wines that the restaurant doesn't carry but are still complimentary to the menu.

                                          Maintaining a varied wine cellar must be a huge commitment for a restaurant, and not even possible for many of the smaller, family run ones (though you must have a wine licence to allow BYOW in SF as I understand it -- you can't just bring in bottles to a place that can't already legally serve wine). So allowing patrons to bring a special bottle or two with a reasonable corkage strikes me as very civilized, assuming they are behaving and tipping appropriately.

                                          The differences between here and CA in terms of laws, habit, markup etc may render this all moot, but I like to think we could learn how to make it work. And having said all that, I can't see myself ever actually bringing my own wine with me to a restaurant here! I might do it in SF at Canteen because they have such a limited wine list...

                                          Here's a fun link: http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m...

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            In my extensive experience with BYO (in Australia), bothering to actually take advantage of it falls into two categories:

                                            - the wine list of the establishment is crap anyway, and you'd like to drink something better than Copper Moon or similar.
                                            - you have something really special/interesting/relevant in your cellar.

                                            I doubt most people will actually take advantage of the changes, and will continue to purchase wine off the restaurant lists. And if it does end up cheaper to BYO, and prompt a lot of people to participate, well, perhaps restaurants need to reassess their wine pricing (thinking of a $70 bottle of Cava at YEW that I saw the next night at the Sardine Can for $40).

                                          2. re: fmed

                                            O wait:
                                            "British Columbia is the only other province that allows patrons who do not consume a full bottle of wine to take home a partially consumed bottle of wine from a licensed premise after it has been corked by the licensee."
                                            http://www.aglc.gov.ab.ca/aglc_public...

                                            1. re: fmed

                                              That has actually been in effect for quite some time.

                                              1. re: starlady

                                                I did not realize that (or have ever had to do it.)

                                                1. re: fmed

                                                  We were always told we couldn't carry open alcohol in a private vehicle. Interesting.

                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                    I think the requirement for bottles of wine that come home from a restaurant is that they are stored behind the rear seat.

                                                    1. re: Anne M

                                                      I wish I could find that somewhere online -- I was even thinking of calling the community police thingy near us just for the heck of it. I remember once about three or four years ago accidentally ordering a 750 mL bottle of sake at Banana Leaf for me at lunch (my DCs were teetotal) and then smuggling the rest of it around with me the rest of the day in a cold sweat. That was too damn fine sake to waste!

                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                        According to this government page:
                                                        http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/lclb/LLinBC...

                                                        "Open liquor in a motor vehicle must not be readily accessible to anyone in the motor vehicle (stored behind the seat, in the trunk, etc.). Passengers are not permitted to consume alcohol in a moving vehicle."

                                                        Also:

                                                        "Patrons may take home unfinished bottles of wine from a bar or restaurant, provided one of the servers re-seals it before they leave. If they are leaving by car, they must ensure it is not readily accessible to anyone in the vehicle while driving. (Store it behind the seat or in the trunk, etc.) "

                                                        1. re: queueueuq

                                                          Mad props for finding that, queueueuq. Gawd, I hate the govt of BC website! Why the hell is that under Ministry of Energy and Mines and Responsible for Housing (and if that isn't a dept worthy of Yes, Minister I don't know what is)?

                                                          1. re: grayelf

                                                            Oh, that is hilarious! I hadn't even noticed.

                                                            I did some digging and I think it may be because Rich Coleman is the minister in charge of liquor; he used to be Minister of Public Safety but is now Minister of Energy and Mines... and I guess the liquor-related responsibilities moved with him.

                                                        2. re: grayelf

                                                          That why keeping one of these in your car trunk is a good idea ;-)

                                                          http://kelleyswain.files.wordpress.co...

                                                  2. re: fmed

                                                    I note that West has lowered the fee from $50 to a less ridiculous $38.

                                                    1. re: fmed

                                                      "Still snickering at West's $50 corkage....which is pretty much an FU to the idea."

                                                      Unless you happen to bring in your own bottle of 1967 Pouilly-Fuisse ;-)

                                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                                        Vanfoodster has a list of corkage fees: http://vancouverfoodster.com/corkage/ and is soliciting help in expanding it.

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          Useful, but it is hard to read that list. It should be in a table!

                                                          I thought West's (originally posted) $50 corkage was a bit much...Bearfoot "We don't want you punters in here drinking plonk" Bistro is at $65.

                                                          1. re: fmed

                                                            Mia Stainsby missed West's original corkage fee in this article: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/07...

                                                            Vera's winning for lowest corkage so far at $2.

                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                From the article:

                                                                <<One week after the rule change – no bites. “Not one person,” says Knowlton. “There’s not a big interest and that’s what I’ve been hearing from others. It’s a bit of an inconvenience to go to the liquor store and bring it in a brown bag. It takes the romance out of dinner.”>>

                                                                Well...ignoring the prophylactic corkage fee for a moment, West isn't the type of place where you want to look "cheap." If you have a bottle being saved for your anniversary then $38 won't seem like much if you are dining there.

                                                                This whole corkage thing has been playing out underground for years at the multitudes of Chinese restaurants around town. I wonder if any of them will now officially start charging.

                                                                1. re: fmed

                                                                  Jake Skakun of L'Abbatoir reported that he'd opened 7 bottles over 4 shifts in his Cherries and Clay blog post: http://www.cherriesandclay.com/feed/

                                                                  Many people have wine at home they'd like to bring to a restaurant so the comment that people will go to the liquor store on the way to the restaurant and bring the wine in a brown paper bag, as attributed to Knowton in the story, seems a little silly to me.