A) Happily paying the corkage fee, no matter the amount (as long as it was disclosed up front).
B) Bringing a bottle that’s on the list.
C) Glancing at the wine menu and then dashing out to buy a cheap bottle from the liquor store down the street.
D) Offering your waiter or sommelier a taste.
E) Bringing a special bottle from your cellar (not everyday drinking wine)
F) Bringing 4 bottles without purchasing one from the list, but still insisting on new glassware for each bottle.
A, D, E
Of course a Wine Unleashed member would never commit the mistake of option B, C or F. However, I am often asked about corkage fees and etiquette and wanted to make it a trivia topic before it slipped my mind.
On my first date with my husband, I brought a bottle of wine with us to the restaurant. He was embarrassed and uncomfortable since he had never seen this done before. I’ll never forget the shocked look on Joe’s face when the waiter happily opened and poured it for us. I brought the wine as a gesture for my date, because I didn’t want to get into the uncomfortable discussion of who’s going to pay or splitting the check on this first date. This was my way of contributing to the evening gracefully.
Today I will bring a bottle or two from my cellar out to a restaurant and happily pay the corkage fee. I do this for a few reasons:
1) Some of the wines from my cellar will probably never appear on the wine list, and if they were, a bottle could cost over $250. I love wine but I do have a household budget to adhere to.
2) I can enjoy my cellar wines at a restaurant since I am not cooking. When we entertain at home, I am usually cooking and constantly getting up and down. I like to drink my special wines at a relaxed pace and not feel rushed. A restaurant allows me to do this.
You may your own reasons for bringing a bottle to a restaurant. Just try to be courteous to the sommelier, wait staff and the restaurant’s corkage policy.