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Aug 16, 2013 07:43 PM

Gratuity on BYOB wine?

I am not really good at drinking and I normally have only a glass of champagne or two when I dine out. Next month, however, I plan to take a special bottle of wine costing about $650, to a favorite high end restaurant of mine. (I will dine alone, so I will probably have to share it a lot with the staff since I can not drink that much alone... LOL)

The restaurant will charge corkage fee, and I fully underdstand I should pay normal gratuity of over 20% to 30% on the final bill of food and corkage fee. My question is, how much gratuity am I supposed to pay on the $650 BYOB wine? Should I pay 20% tip on $650 as well, on top of the 20-30% tip on food and corkage fee?

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  1. Good lord, you are not "supposed to" in my opinion, tip on the value of a bottle. I am a wine collector and don't tip wait staff on the current market value of my wines. I only pay a tip on corkage fee and the food. No way does the wait staff expect you to percentage out the tip based on the cost of a high end bottle of wine. Leave a generous tip (the higher end of reasonable) because corkage fees are less than a bottle purchased there (typically) and let everyone that wants a taste, have a taste.

    1. IMO the value of the wine doesn't figure into it. But I might tip more than 30% of the corkage fee, depending: Is the corkage fee reasonable? If it is sky high, no. But if they are making a nice accommodation for a regular customer, I would be more generous, 50-100% of corkage. Also, what are they providing in the way of service, stemware etc.? If they are decanting an old red with sediment, then pouring it into Riedel which is clean and odor-free to my standards, I would tend toward the 100%-of-corkage range. Pull and pour into Anchor, somewhat less. It really depends on how well I felt I was being taken care of.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mwhitmore

        Sounds good to me.

        As several have said, the tip on a BYOW bottle, should NOT be based on the value/cost of the wine - but on the corkage, with bonus points on service, IMHO.


      2. This is going to be fun. The opinions on tipping here are so varied that I can't wait to see what happens.

        For me the answer is tip on the corkage fee only, assuming it is a substantial amount ($20+) OR, if you feel you received excellent wine service, add an extra $10 or so. JMHO.

        1. " I will dine alone, so I will probably have to share it a lot with the staff since I can not drink that much alone..."

          They should tip you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobbert

            <<(I will dine alone, so I will probably have to share it a lot with the staff since I can not drink that much alone... LOL)>>

            We are often faced with similar, and try to share.

            Some years ago, we were staying at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, just a few blocks from Merriman's, where we were dining.

            It was some sort of celebration (birthday, or anniversary), so we were "going deep" in the wine cellar. About the time that we ordered the third bottle, our server commented that she had seen those wines on the list, but had never served any of them to any diner.

            It was a very rainy night, and we were shutting down the restaurant. We invited her to join us with three glasses. I poured a Meursault, a Montrachet, and a Gevrey-Chambertain, and asked her to taste them. I think that she enjoyed herself, and along with our tip for great service, got three tastes of wines, that she was unfamiliar with.

            Since we DID have to head back for a few blocks, it was not a loss, at any level, to us.


          2. I would work on the basis of however tips are calculated wherever you are in the world.

            Where I am, a tip or service charge is based on what you have spent with the restaurant and nothing else. I assume that the corkage charge will be a listed item and, as such, that's what I would tip on.