' Navigating Corkage - Soquel Vineyards


Navigating Corkage

There's something undeniably special about enjoying a bottle of wine at your favorite restaurant. But what if you've got a gem stashed away in your cellar that you're itching to share with friends over dinner? Fear not, for bringing your own wine to a restaurant is not only a possibility but also an art.

First things first: what exactly is a corkage fee? Simply put, it's a charge that restaurants impose when diners bring their own bottles of wine to enjoy with their meal. This fee typically covers the cost of service and the use of glassware. Corkage fees can vary widely depending on the establishment, ranging anywhere from a nominal amount to a substantial sum.

Follow these steps for understanding what to expect:

  1. Call Ahead: Before you saunter into your chosen restaurant with a bottle tucked under your arm, it's wise to give them a call. Inquire about their corkage policy, including the fee and any restrictions they may have regarding the type of wine you can bring.
  2. Choose Wisely: While most restaurants welcome patrons bringing their own wine, it's courteous to select a bottle that's not already on the restaurant's wine list. Opt for something special or unique that will enhance your dining experience.
  3. Proper Presentation: When presenting your bottle to the sommelier or server, ensure it's in good condition with the label facing outward. This makes it easier for staff to identify and handle your wine.
  4. Be Generous: Remember to offer your server a taste of your wine. Not only is it a gesture of goodwill, but it also allows them to familiarize themselves with the wine in case they receive inquiries from other diners.
  5. Respect the Establishment: While bringing your own wine can save you a pretty penny on restaurant markups, it's essential to respect the establishment's policies and staff. Graciously accept any corkage fees and show appreciation for the service provided.


Remember that you're not just bringing a bottle of wine; you're sharing a piece of your passion and enthusiasm for wine with those around you. So, hold your head high, raise a toast to good company, and savor every moment of the dining experience.

Lastly, corkage fees need not be a barrier to enjoying your favorite bottle of wine while dining out. By understanding the concept, following proper etiquette, and embracing confidence, you can elevate your restaurant experience and create lasting memories.

Cheers to good wine, good food, and good company!

Post By:   Stephanie Morgan