Spit Happens #56 – Wine Corkage

corkageWine Corkage: I love wine. Remember me saying that? Well, I also love bringing my wine to a restaurant and enjoying it with different foods that I might not want to cook at home. For the uninitiated, this is called corkage.

Restaurants ( for a fee) will allow you to bring your own wine and allow it to be served in their restaurant. For many years this was not legal however a change in liquor regulations in the summer of 2012.

A restaurant can charge any amount they want or chose not to offer corkage as well. They must be the ones to open and serve the bottle and you can take any remaining wine home should it not be consumed ( make sure it’s in the trunk or very back of your vehicle when you leave).

I think that corkage could be a powerful tool for restaurants but it is underutilized. Restaurants see this concept of corkage as diminishing their opportunity for profit. I see it as a way to increase sales and even out your business through the entire week.

  • How about free or discounted corkage on slow nights? Monday or Tuesdays. ( see below )
  • Maybe busy nights they could ask you to buy a bottle off the list and the second bottle could have a corkage charge applied.
  • How about corkage for slow lunch days and early reservations (before 6pm)?

Too many restaurants see corkage as an all or nothing proposition, my three ideas are just a start. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. A couple of pieces of advice I would like to add, if the wine list for the restaurant is online to make sure you aren’t bringing a wine already on the list as that is poor form, also tip your server a bit better % since they aren’t charging you big bucks for the wine.

The following restaurants offer corkage.

Thanks for your time.

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.

David Lancelot

FAQs: Wine corkage

Does corkage only apply to wine?

Corkage fees are most commonly associated with wine, but they don’t exclusively apply to it. The concept of corkage can extend to other types of alcoholic beverages as well, such as beer or spirits, depending on the restaurant’s policy. Essentially, corkage is a charge levied by a restaurant for serving a bottle of alcohol that a customer brings into the establishment. Each restaurant sets its own policy regarding corkage fees, which can vary widely. Some may allow only wine, while others might be open to different types of beverages. It’s always advisable for patrons to check with the restaurant in advance about their corkage policies and fees.

What is wine corkage fee?

A wine corkage fee is a charge imposed by a restaurant when a customer brings their own bottle of wine to be consumed at the establishment. This fee is meant to cover the service provided by the restaurant, such as using their glasses, the effort of the server in opening and serving the wine, and potential lost revenue from not selling wine from their own stock. The amount of the corkage fee can vary significantly from one restaurant to another and is typically set by the restaurant’s policy. It’s a common practice in many dining establishments, especially those with significant wine sales, allowing guests the flexibility to enjoy their own selected wine with their meal.