Bringing wine to restaurants has become an all too common occurrence in the modern restaurant world. Guests no longer have to visit one specific place to drink their favorite bottles. Thanks to the internet, even the most obscure bottles can be obtained with enough money, and wine apps allow customers to be savvy about pricing and ratings. However, diners bringing their own wine can be a problem. Wine is a huge part of mosts restaurants’ bottom lines, and although a corkage fee is usually charged, it’s a fraction of what people would normally spend if they bought from the menu. For these reasons, follow these social cues.

  1. Don’t bring a wine under $30. Chances are there is something on the wine list under $50. So if you bring a cheap wine and then paying a corkage fee, you’re actually spending more money to drink inferior wine.
  2. If you bring wine, share it. It’s always a good gesture to offer the sommelier/server/chef a few sips. People in the hospitality industry are always trying to better their skills and understanding, and sometimes, especially nice bottles are out of the budget for those serving the wine. Be generous, and the corkage fee might be waived.
  3. If you bring a bottle, buy a bottle. I’m not saying get drunk, but most restaurants waive the corkage fee if you buy a bottle. Establishments want you to come in and spend money. If you want your favorite restaurant to remain in business, support them.
  4. Older bottles deserve an additional tip. If you bring in an old bottle, and it’s properly opened and even decanted, this should be appreciated. Correctly opening old wine is a skill, and if you don’t want a glass of sediment the next time you dine at your favorite establishment, tip appropriately.
  5. Don’t bring wine to a tasting menu. Unless you already have done the tasting menu before and are savvy enough to pair your own food, don’t compromise your dining experience. People work hard and spend a lot of time pairing food and wine. Let a restaurant deliver a proper experience.
  6. Magnums and large formats count as multiple bottles. Don’t try to scam the system. This makes you look cheap.
  7. Bringing your own wine is a privilege. Keep in mind you are bringing in an outside beverage. Nobody would consider bringing in a bottle of vodka. Some states don’t allow people to bring their own wine, and every place has their own policy. Don’t be a pest, and if there is a limit on corkage, respect it.