Wine & Food

Snooth User: William Djubin

Query?- should Food & Wine Venues waive cork fee for Legendaries

Posted by William Djubin, Mar 23, 2015.

Working at a notable wine venue, that serves amazing cuisine, occasionally we have guests that bring legends. DRC,Penfolds, Latour, Petrus,  Lafite, Gaja and Giacosa and more.

-In my strongest opinion, I think the Cork Fee should be waived at a venue if the guest decides to compliment your food and venue with an amazing wine.

It is an opportunity to cork a cellared legend.  What do you think.?  My Penner Ash was waived at Marker 88.. Thanks Marker 88.


Reply by GregT, Mar 23, 2015.

In your strongest opinion? Penner Ash? I'm a little mystified, as always, but I like it when places waive the corkage fee. They usually do when I bring wine, and it's greatly appreciated. OTOH, I don't drink anything legendary, so maybe I'm just not hanging out in the best of places!

Reply by dvogler, Mar 23, 2015.


Wow!  How do you do it?  Your Pinot seems to rank among that former list you provided.  I bet if I pulled out that Pinot they would show me the door!  :)

However, I agree.  If someone brings a $1300 bottle and you stand to gain a taste, by all means, WAIVE the corkage fee!!!


Reply by outthere, Mar 23, 2015.

If the customer is baller enough to bring a $2k+ wine to dinner what's $25 for corkage? Just sayin...

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 23, 2015.

Yes, waive the fee if they offer you a taste.

If not, I'm with OT, why financially reward the rich and tax the poor/ordinary BYOBer.

Reply by RexSeven, Mar 23, 2015.

I used to frequent a place before I moved that would waive the fee if your group bought some wine or beer.  I liked his strategy.  I didn't mind buying a bottle from him and bringing one.

Reply by RexSeven, Mar 23, 2015.

Out of curiosity, the few places I regularly go that I carry into have a $15 fee.  I think that is pretty fair, but I'd like $10 better.  What does everyone here see on a regular basis?

Reply by EMark, Mar 23, 2015.

Waiving the fee because a wine is "legendary" has too much potential for disagreements on what a "legendary" wine is.  I am pretty sure that if a restaurant's policy of doing so became know, they would then be faced with the customer who brings a bottle of Justin Isoceles fumimg because the restaurant's staff did not acknowledge the legendary stature of his wine.

Then there is the issue that OT mentions.  If you can afford $2,000 for a bottle of wine, you can't bark about a corkage fee.

Years (heck, decades) ago there used to be a restaurant in Culver City called Al Penni's  It was a neat reastaurant with a huge menu of darned good meals.  At the bottom of each page of the menu was this:

     Al says, "If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to eat out."

I guess I would also apply that to corkage fees.

That being said, restaurants have waived the corkage fee for me on ocassion for reasons that I really did not understand. Rather than question them, i have just appreciated the consideration.

Rex, the last corkage I paid was $15 at a restaurant up in Ojai in December.  I consider that to be a no-brainer.  I am comfortable with $25 and will do $40 if my mood and the ocassion are good.  The best thing to do, though is to dine with OT, who seems to know the places that charge $0.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 23, 2015.

Let's talk realworld, not theoretical ideas about mythicals or rather 'legendaries', or what should or should not be the case in a classless society. I've had corkage charged to me less than 10~20% of the time I've brought bottles. Some have been of that class ('59 La Mission and Latour, '61 Mouton and Haut Brion, lots of '82s, some DRCs though not always La Romanee Conti, and others of similar stature from other regions even if not on William's list). These usually required delivery ahead of time for my event, anyway. Other times I've just brought the bottle with me and even when they've been very good bottles they aren't always the kind that poseurs ensure are positioned with the labels out to the rest of the room. Often the bottles are to establishments I know which helps, other times to first-time locations. Some of those locations are extremely experienced with BYOBers, others not so. Sommeliers, when they exist, are always happy to share a small glass so that helps. In every case it helps if you order something from their winelist, too. Anyway, it's all about your approach ahead of time, and your interaction during the meal, whether corkage is charge or waived, in my personal experience. You learn how to interact, and the hospitality side of things very often and quickly figures there's no need for an excess fee.

So back to the original question? Why be so pretentious as to only waive for mythicals? Waive as often and generously as you can...

Reply by William Djubin, Mar 23, 2015.

Thank you DMCKER. Great point and answer to my query.

I am ultimately flattered when a wine fan brings a great wine to my current venue,&  to enjoy the cuisine and service, and I always suggest the F&B waive the 25$ cork.. the mgmt. agree currently with 2nd bottle waive.

To make things clear; this Issue is not abused nor has been suggested by our guests.  

Reply by William Djubin, Mar 23, 2015.

The Penner Ash is not Legendary or in the class of other mentioned wines; but the Somm at Marker 88 is a collector/fan of Willamette I kinda knew...  It also didn't hurt that I dined with a Local. Thanks for the waive, I actually believe that 88 does not allow outside bottles. period. And the WL is nothing short.

Reply by GregT, Mar 23, 2015.

Well, as posted elsewhere, the reason to bring your own wine isn't to save money. It's to have a wine you like and you want to drink. it's been many years since I bought a bottle of wine in a restaurant instead of bringing my own. Do I have legendary bottles? Hell no. But I call ahead, ask about the corkage fee, and usually they waive it. I'm not going to bring a $30 bottle that I just picked up. It's usually something older or something they won't be able to get.

One of the best restaurants in NYC used to waive the fee on Monday nights for people in the business. It became the best place in the City on Mondays - you never knew who you'd run into but everyone was bringing bottles they'd been showing and winemakers who were visiting. I like that approach a lot. And many restaurants waive the fee for Monday or Tuesday.

Reply by dvogler, Mar 24, 2015.

My previous comment was directed at William specifically, that if he stood to gain a taste of any of those, then he should, even if it means suggesting there'd be no fee.  I'm ambivalent on the whole issue because I seldom bring a bottle.  If my wife drank wine, it'd be a different story.  Typically I have two glasses and so I usually can find something that's okay.  I think two times I've brought a bottle and haven't been charged because other wine was purchased as well.

Reply by madmanny, Mar 26, 2015.

Bring your great bottles to Montclair, NJ where virtually every restaurant is a BYO with no corkage fees.  It has become a true restaurant mecca, attracting chefs and diners from all around.  On weekends, I rarely leave town for dinner.  Friends insist on eating here, knowing they can get a great meal and bring a wine to match.   It does spoil you when you run into a corkage fee.  There is a very good restaurant one town over, as good as those in Montclair, but I didn't like the $25 corkage they charged me.  Haven't been back there.

Reply by William Djubin, Apr 3, 2015.

I REALLY appreciate the comments and suggestions. I share them with ALL Food and Beverage decision makers. and we decided to Waive the Fee for the 1st Bottle always! for this distinguished gentleman after he and I spoke, whew,,, We almost lost Him and his wine enthusiasm. his next Visit. he is all mine as I have yet to serve him. All sides are very Happy.. Thanks..

BTW: He is also a decorated WW2 veteran. ( I thought I would leave that info out for the Initial Query ),

Reply by dvogler, Apr 3, 2015.

Go get 'em William :)

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