The Etiquette of BYOB

How to bring wine to a restaurant (without making the wine directors angry)

Have you ever wanted to bring your own wine to a restaurant? You’re not alone. And most restaurants will wholeheartedly support you in bringing a personal favorite wine — if you follow a few key rules.

1. Know what is on the restaurant’s wine list. Don’t bring anything that is on that list, and it’s best to avoid bringing anything that closely resembles what the wine director has spent time acquiring.

2. Make the advance call. Talk to someone personally to see if bottles can be brought to the restaurant, and what the corkage policy is.

3. Keep in mind that many restaurants waive corkage fees if guests buy something from their list.

4. Always offer the wine director (and possibly your waiter) a taste of anything special that you bring. You can do this by allowing them to taste the wine when it is opened or leaving a small amount in the bottle after the meal is finished.

5. Never bring a bottle of wine to save money. Guests who head out to the nearest shop for an under-$20 bottle when a sommelier has worked hard to put together a list are rarely beloved by staff and management.

6. Always tip on the approximate value of an average bottle of wine on the restaurant’s list. Remember that stemware and service are provided to guests regardless of where the wine comes from, so a tip acknowledges this fact.


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