Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wine and Dine Virginia - Corkage Fee Bill Passed - Hooray

In a time when it seems government is becoming more and more obtrusive its refreshing to read that the Virginia State legislature just passed a corkage fee bill to allow BYOB in restaurants. Hooray for Virginia and its legislators - presuming the governor has the good sense to sign it! Isn't it fitting or at least ironic that I read this on OTBN day as I troll the cellar looking for a special bottle for this evening.

A Corkage Fee is charged by a restaurant for serving a customer's BYOB (bring your own bottle) wine. A corkage fee will reflect the restaurant's policy and willingness to accommodate such practices. Naturally restaurants rely on beverage revenues to support their business so it is reasonable and customary to charge for the handling of BYOB wines. My strong and emotionally charged opinion is that proper protocol dictates that restaurants should honor and accommodate collectors who bring special bottles from their cellars - aged, hard to find, or notable wines, or vertical or horizontal selections for special dinners. It is reasonable for them to discourage BYOB customers who simply reduce their cost of dinner by buying 'retail' and offsetting the restaurant margins on the wine. Reasonable corkage fees should range from $10 to $25 for a moderate to upscale restaurant. Reasonable margins on wine would render this practice unnecessary except where the wine-list does not offer sufficient breadth or depth or selections for one's preference or taste. Naturally we frequent restaurants proportionately to their reasonableness and liberalness of their corkage policy. Many restaurants allow BYOB with a very modest or no fee. This should be taken into account and factored into the tip and or patronage loyalty. Read my Wine Journal on and see how we seek out and support restaurants that offer BYOB with liberal (fair) corkage fees. Usually restaurants are reasonable in these matters. Those that are not should be avoided as there are many alternatives in the marketplace. 

Of course with the privilege of bringing your own wine comes obligations of proper BYOB corkage fee etiquette. See

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