Wine Etiquette: Bringing Your Own Wine to a Restaurant

Wine Etiquette: Bringing Your Own Wine to a Restaurant

While it is not often a known practice, in some states in the US, you are actually allowed to bring your own wine to a restaurant. Whether you have a special wine you want to enjoy, or have a bottle from a special occasion, many states such as California and New York will allow you the opportunity to bust open that bottle of wine in their own establishment.

However, along with this privilege also comes responsibility and etiquette. There is specific etiquette that revolves around bringing your own alcohol to a restaurant.

First, don’t bring an inexpensive bottle of wine from the local liquor store down the street. Understand that many restaurants may already have an expansive list of wines ranging from affordable to off-the-charts “special,” and you may likely find something that you will enjoy just as much as a bottle or glass of your every day Merlot. In many restaurants, there is a corking fee, which is the cost of them opening up your bottle of wine. In some cases, this fee may be extremely high and not worth the desire of having your own bottle served by the server or sommelier. Instead of focusing on a budget bottle of wine, only bring in wines that are aged or special. A bottle of wine from your wedding night to drink on your tenth anniversary is perfectly acceptable to bring to a restaurant. That bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay from Walmart is not.

Second, try and bring the wine in at an appropriate temperature. While your server or sommelier can attempt to chill the wine for you, it is best if you bring it in as close to its serving temperature as possible. This will not only save time and energy for your server or sommelier, but will also ensure a better tasting glass of wine.

Third, don’t be afraid to share a glass with your server or sommelier, especially if you’re saluting a special occasion. Those this is not expected, it is always nice and very considerate to share your special event with those around you. If the sommelier or server politely refuses the drink, let it go and enjoy the glass yourself. Some individuals have very particular favorites when it comes to their wines, while others will want to enjoy a sip of a good aged wine or celebratory champagne.

Fourth, tip your sommelier or server well, and according to the retail value of the bottle of wine you brought. Understand that you may already have a corking fee on top of this, so depending on the bottle of wine and the significance it holds for you and your table, you may be better off just enjoying it in the comfort of your own home.

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