Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

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Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#1 Post by johngonzales » July 25th, 2019, 9:52 am

I was looking at some local winelists (Angler, Auburn, Margot) and considering whether they seemed appealing to me. Part of it was considering my own habits, and I wonder what others do. Note that my wife sim in the wine business. I am excluding dinners at accounts of hers. Also, we have a slightly different dynamic in that we have an endless free supply of $30 retail wine. So we can bring lower end stuff like that without having any purchase cost.

1) At restaurants overall as a total, what’s your party’s ratio of brought/corkage bottles to bought off a list?
I realize that we bring a lot, and I opt for cocktails, beer, or one by the glass. So I am 5 bought / 1 brought.

2) For dinner dining moderate and above, what % of the time do you bring a bottle?
I would say we even gravitate toward places we can bring, so 60% of the time.

3) What is your percentage of bottles brought that would be $150+ on a list, to bottles bought for $150+ on a list?
This is where we are stark. When we buy a bottle it is almost never over $150. So we are 10 brought to 1 bought at that level.


The last question kinda of came up when looking at the Angler list. It’s actually a very deep list with a lot of wines that appeal to me. But a lot of it is over the $200 mark, so with our habits, and the increased current mark-ups, I’d actually almost never buy a $200 bottle and $150 is rare. Above $150 I have to both like the wine AND see a mark-up below average.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#2 Post by mattccheung » July 25th, 2019, 9:58 am

100% of the time everyone brings a bottle to share. Also gives me a chance to open something of mine that I've been meaning to open. We may or may not start with a cocktail beforehand. Me personally would glance at the wine list to see what the restaurant carries, but we rarely order anything.
Last edited by mattccheung on July 25th, 2019, 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#3 Post by NED VALOIS » July 25th, 2019, 10:14 am

+1

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#4 Post by Paul McCourt » July 25th, 2019, 10:21 am

I rarely bring wine. Maybe one out of 20 times. When I do I am more likely to bring wine when it is more of a group/event/birthday type dinner. I will bring some magnums and the like. Usually will buy a few bottles off the list. If it is a meat-cnetric place, maybe I bring the reds and order a few whites. I don't think I could give a ratio, though. At places I know and they know me, I pay less attention because they know they will be OK in the long run if I just bring that night, and I don't worry about buying from them. Other places, I probably will be more conscious of throwing the place a few bought bottles off the list.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#5 Post by Chris D » July 25th, 2019, 10:28 am

Typically do a cocktail, a beer and glass with dinner. Rarely a bottle from the list and, when we do, it's sub $100. Always prefer bringing a nice bottle if the venue allows. Hate paying the markups on wine when I have a cellar of great juice at home.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#6 Post by Mark Golodetz » July 25th, 2019, 10:32 am

Unless the restaurant has an amazing cellar, I bring my own. I like older wine, and 99% of all restaurants have young wines with horrible mark ups. Happy to pay a reasonable corkage
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#7 Post by Anton D » July 25th, 2019, 10:35 am

99% list buyer.

I like to try wines I haven't had before, see what's on the menu to match from the list, ask the wine server about ideas and pairings.

I can drink my own wine at home any time, so when I go out I like to go out and leave the cellar behind.

For special occasions that might make for a specific wine to be opened, vintage specific celebrations, or a wine group thing, then we will bring wines.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#8 Post by GregT » July 25th, 2019, 10:44 am

Unless the restaurant has an amazing cellar, I bring my own. I like older wine, and 99% of all restaurants have young wines with horrible mark ups. Happy to pay a reasonable corkage.
This.

We don't bring wine to avoid the cost at the restaurant; we bring it to be able to drink what we want that may have some age or other significance. I wouldn't bring some widely-available wine.

Neither my wife nor I drink cocktails or beer. If we don't have wine with us, we order something off the list, which happens most often while traveling.

But we've also rejected restaurants after perusing the wine list and not finding anything worth drinking. We just go somewhere else.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#9 Post by LMD Ermitaño » July 25th, 2019, 10:47 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 10:32 am
Unless the restaurant has an amazing cellar, I bring my own. I like older wine, and 99% of all restaurants have young wines with horrible mark ups. Happy to pay a reasonable corkage
Pretty much the same; except, when at my regular neighbourhood pintxos bar (owned by good friends), I just buy txakoli or albariño from the wine list.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#10 Post by Joe B » July 25th, 2019, 10:51 am

95% bring wine

I would rather buy a beer or cocktail than purchase wine off a list at a restaurant.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#11 Post by Mike Evans » July 25th, 2019, 11:00 am

Knowing the cost and retail pricing and availability of the wines on a list is frequently a curse. As a result, I almost always bring my own both to avoid the absurd markups and to drink what I want to drink, which are mostly older wines and interesting wines that aren’t going to be on the list. The dining experience is diminished when I see a list full of uninteresting wines at ridiculous markups, but a list of grossly overpriced wines I’d otherwise love to order can be ruinous.

That said, I love coming across a wine list that has wines I want to drink at pricing such that I’d rather drink their bottle of a given wine than one I’ve bought at retail. It makes me happy and to want to come back. I’m also much more likely to buy booze at a restaurant if they have a strong cocktail program.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#12 Post by MBerto » July 25th, 2019, 11:09 am

I already own enough bottles that I'll probably die with some of them. I'm not buying something at a big markup when I've got better stuff at home that I need to drink, and I know I'll like it. There's definitely a trend at mid-high level restaurants of having esoteric wine lists, and I don't feel like rolling the dice on some hipster sommeliers' "funky" Loire Cab Franc.

I don't explicitly do this to save money, but I'd be lying if I said the fact that it typically WILL save money didn't factor into the decision.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#13 Post by J. Rock » July 25th, 2019, 11:17 am

If they have somewhat reasonable corkage, I usually prefer to bring my own bottle, sometimes because they don't have what I want, but more often because I just think it's a better value. When corkage is $50 or so, I'll usually get a glass or two of something at the restaurant.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#14 Post by Nathan Smyth » July 25th, 2019, 11:18 am

I honestly can't remember the last time I was with a party which ordered a wine off a restaurant list.

And increasingly we don't even go to restaurants in the first place.

We just go to somebody's house & cook a big dinner & pop some corks on the best wines from the local retail scene.

Restaurants are a COLOSSAL waste of money.

Given the prices I see at the chi-chi restaurants, I can't imagine Dave Ramsey approving of a monthly restaurant budget for anyone with a net worth less than about $10 million.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#15 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » July 25th, 2019, 11:51 am

At home in Philadelphia, where most restaurants are BYO, we bring wine nearly 100% of the time. In NYC, it's about 50-60% now that I have to schlep wine with me on the train if I want to bring. Most wine lists have nothing that interests me enough to waste the calories, so if I know I'll be buying, I'm selective about venue.

On the flip side, though, we travel a great deal and often don't bring wine to restaurants when we do. Don't get me wrong - we travel with wine for sure, but we tend to drink it at our rental apt/house or at friends' homes. It helps that we tend to go places with excellent wine lists. We just got back from Galicia, Spain, for instance, where even the highest end restaurants will have pages of delicious, food friendly, local wines at under 50 EUR tops, not to mention great champagne. It's rare for us to spend a lot on restaurant wines, unless there are great values. Sometimes it is expensive to know a lot, like when you realize that this $500 bottle is a screaming deal. :)

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#16 Post by ybarselah » July 25th, 2019, 11:54 am

most of my eating is in NYC, i'd say i bring 30% of the time and it's always something special. but even then 100% of the time i buy one off the list. i have a professional bias towards this now, but i've pretty much always done this.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#17 Post by dsimmons » July 25th, 2019, 12:01 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 10:32 am
Unless the restaurant has an amazing cellar, I bring my own. I like older wine, and 99% of all restaurants have young wines with horrible mark ups. Happy to pay a reasonable corkage
+1
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#18 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » July 25th, 2019, 12:07 pm

ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 11:54 am
most of my eating is in NYC, i'd say i bring 30% of the time and it's always something special. but even then 100% of the time i buy one off the list. i have a professional bias towards this now, but i've pretty much always done this.
Good point, thanks Yaacov. Agreed. Unless the place is truly BYO only, like many in Philly, we almost always buy something off the list as well.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#19 Post by etomasi » July 25th, 2019, 12:09 pm

Mostly corkage for at least 1 bottle, like 80-90%. I buy and taste alot of weird wines so I don't feel the need to explore new wines at a restaurant. We do buy a second bottle of the list about 50% of the time.

In fact I was really annoyed that Fiola in DC changed their policy on corkage and does not allow it now. I didnt realize until yesterday. No time to get another reservation at an equivalent restaurant, so I'll suck it up and buy from the list tomorrow.

I still don't understand why 3x markup applies to both $20 wines as well as those that retail for $500. grumble grumble.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#20 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » July 25th, 2019, 12:20 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:07 pm
ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 11:54 am
most of my eating is in NYC, i'd say i bring 30% of the time and it's always something special. but even then 100% of the time i buy one off the list. i have a professional bias towards this now, but i've pretty much always done this.
Good point, thanks Yaacov. Agreed. Unless the place is truly BYO only, like many in Philly, we almost always buy something off the list as well.
I VERY rarely buy off the list other than a cocktail. While I know it doesn't help the ownership of the restaurant, I compensate the waitstaff and sommelier appropriately for the accommodation of letting me bring my bottles to lunch/dinner.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#21 Post by ybarselah » July 25th, 2019, 12:33 pm

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:20 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:07 pm
ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 11:54 am
most of my eating is in NYC, i'd say i bring 30% of the time and it's always something special. but even then 100% of the time i buy one off the list. i have a professional bias towards this now, but i've pretty much always done this.
Good point, thanks Yaacov. Agreed. Unless the place is truly BYO only, like many in Philly, we almost always buy something off the list as well.
I VERY rarely buy off the list other than a cocktail. While I know it doesn't help the ownership of the restaurant, I compensate the waitstaff and sommelier appropriately for the accommodation of letting me bring my bottles to lunch/dinner.
but the restaurant loses on the revenue which pays BOH and w/ whom your tips may not be legally shared. so with you, the check average goes down. i won't make the case that you're "hurting" the restaurant as you're only one, but the justification, etc.., isn't aligned with the reality of the business.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#22 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » July 25th, 2019, 12:45 pm

ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:33 pm
[
but the restaurant loses on the revenue which pays BOH and w/ whom your tips may not be legally shared. so with you, the check average goes down. i won't make the case that you're "hurting" the restaurant as you're only one, but the justification, etc.., isn't aligned with the reality of the business.
I'm not so sure I bring the check average down unless I'm dining at a prix fixe restaurant. And depending on the corkage, that still might not be the case.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#23 Post by Dennis Atick » July 25th, 2019, 12:52 pm

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:20 pm

I VERY rarely buy off the list other than a cocktail. While I know it doesn't help the ownership of the restaurant, I compensate the waitstaff and sommelier appropriately for the accommodation of letting me bring my bottles to lunch/dinner.
+1 on both accounts.
I haven't bought a wine off a list in the U.S. in years.
I'm not quite the purist as many here, and often enjoy cocktails, or a beer, when dining out and not byobing.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#24 Post by ybarselah » July 25th, 2019, 12:53 pm

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:45 pm
ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:33 pm
[
but the restaurant loses on the revenue which pays BOH and w/ whom your tips may not be legally shared. so with you, the check average goes down. i won't make the case that you're "hurting" the restaurant as you're only one, but the justification, etc.., isn't aligned with the reality of the business.
I'm not so sure I bring the check average down unless I'm dining at a prix fixe restaurant. And depending on the corkage, that still might not be the case.
that's likely true, though depending on several other factors, such as whether they're fully booked or not.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#25 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » July 25th, 2019, 1:07 pm

ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:53 pm
R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:45 pm
ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:33 pm
[
but the restaurant loses on the revenue which pays BOH and w/ whom your tips may not be legally shared. so with you, the check average goes down. i won't make the case that you're "hurting" the restaurant as you're only one, but the justification, etc.., isn't aligned with the reality of the business.
I'm not so sure I bring the check average down unless I'm dining at a prix fixe restaurant. And depending on the corkage, that still might not be the case.
that's likely true, though depending on several other factors, such as whether they're fully booked or not.
I'll give the extreme example of Bouley at Home. I go with a friend and we bring three bottles for lunch. Tasting menu is $75pp. My corkage is $300. Unless every other table for two is ordering at least $300 in wine (and even then, the profit on that is less than the profit on my corkage), I bring the average up. Whether full or not.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#26 Post by Fred C » July 25th, 2019, 1:11 pm

I used to think that I was okay with a restaurant charging me progressive corkage as long as they allow me to bring as many bottles as I want (35/35/65/65/75).

However I’ve recently discovered SF restaurants (Angler is one of them) are doing 65/65/100/100/100...so that has given me some pause.

I understand a restaurant needs to make money, but at $100 a bottle corkage, I’m going elsewhere.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#27 Post by Chris D » July 25th, 2019, 1:23 pm

Do restaurants tend to set their corkage fee at the markup of the average bottle sold? Seems to be that way, so if I pay the typical margin why should the restaurant care so long as I also spiff the waiter?
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#28 Post by Neal.Mollen » July 25th, 2019, 1:26 pm

etomasi wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:09 pm
Mostly corkage for at least 1 bottle, like 80-90%. I buy and taste alot of weird wines so I don't feel the need to explore new wines at a restaurant. We do buy a second bottle of the list about 50% of the time.

In fact I was really annoyed that Fiola in DC changed their policy on corkage and does not allow it now. I didnt realize until yesterday. No time to get another reservation at an equivalent restaurant, so I'll suck it up and buy from the list tomorrow.

I still don't understand why 3x markup applies to both $20 wines as well as those that retail for $500. grumble grumble.
I did not think that they ever allowed it on weekends. And during the week it was something like $60/btl.

We never buy off the list (unless we go to one of the Fabio Trabocchi places, and we would eat at one of them A LOT more often if we could bring our own at a reasonable tariff). Or at least I can't remember the last time I did.

Tex Mex/Mex we will drink margaritas or beer. Sandwich level places mean beer usually. But we never ever buy wine off the list.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#29 Post by Mark Thompson » July 25th, 2019, 1:37 pm

ybarselah wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:33 pm
R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:20 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 12:07 pm


Good point, thanks Yaacov. Agreed. Unless the place is truly BYO only, like many in Philly, we almost always buy something off the list as well.
I VERY rarely buy off the list other than a cocktail. While I know it doesn't help the ownership of the restaurant, I compensate the waitstaff and sommelier appropriately for the accommodation of letting me bring my bottles to lunch/dinner.
but the restaurant loses on the revenue which pays BOH and w/ whom your tips may not be legally shared. so with you, the check average goes down. i won't make the case that you're "hurting" the restaurant as you're only one, but the justification, etc.., isn't aligned with the reality of the business.
This seems like it would be a pretty extreme view on not taking ANY chance that Ray’s approach to restaurant patronage could POSSIBLY be suboptimal for either the business or any of its employees. He’s paying a fair corkage and overtipping...he could just stay home, which (unless they are consistently packed with people buying expensive wines) probably is also suboptimal for both the restaurant and its employees. I guess Ray could solve for this by writing $1k checks to all the restaurants in his neighborhood to help them cover expenses. (Just making a point). [stirthepothal.gif]
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#30 Post by scamhi » July 25th, 2019, 1:38 pm

I tend to go where me and my wine are welcome. Of course there are exceptions and it is not a hard fast rule.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#31 Post by Arv R » July 25th, 2019, 1:58 pm

Most of the time we'll do corkage, and free/low corkage is a big driver for picking something for casual dining. In CA, its normally pretty easy to find BYO friendly venues. When we are in other Western states, in particular CO and ID its trickier, and we'll at least look at the wine list. In some places we might find something that works for us. At least in UT if you have the Utah tax stamp on the bottle - from an in state purchase - one is supposed to be able to BYO.

=======

My life observation is that most places that insist on being hardnosed / shitty about corkage end up 'Closed for Renovations' if they are not at the The French Laundry level of cachet. These are the kinds of places that demand one doesn't bring a bottle on their own list....but don't have any list one can peruse online. Or put their own quality control like 'must be older than 10 yrs or special in sommeliers sole determination' etc.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#32 Post by Jeff_M. » July 25th, 2019, 2:03 pm

I tend to not want to overpay to buy wine they mark up too much at restaurants. Sometimes I will buy a glass but most of the time I will get a beer or cocktail and drink my wine at home
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#33 Post by Sh@n A » July 25th, 2019, 2:45 pm

I try to only go to places that have BYO.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#34 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » July 25th, 2019, 2:54 pm

Casual to moderate places, I will usually drink beer or a cocktail, or water (and then have wine at home). Sometimes a wine by the glass if they have something interesting for $10-$15.

Nicer places, I almost always bring my own wine, and it's almost always older than anything on the list. I like to drink wines with age and of course I don't like paying huge markups. I'm happy to pay reasonable corkage.

On those rare occasions where I'm ordering off a list, depending on the situation, my max is going to come in somewhere between $50-$125 per. I'd rather pay triple retail for a $15 (retail) Chianti or Cotes du Rhone or whatever, that is at least ready to drink, than pay double retail for an $85 (retail) bottle of great and age-worthy, but young, wine from the current vintage.

Using your three questions, I'm probably 15 or 20 to 1 on questions 1 and 2 because at casual places where I don't bring wine the alternative is beer or water rather than wine off the list, and at "moderate and above" I almost always bring wine. On your question 3, I'm 1000 to 0 - virtually all of the wine I bring to nicer places would be over $150 on the list, given the age and the restaurant markup, and if I do buy off the list it's never over $150. I guess, hypothetically, if Fu were buying and he told me to go crazy, I might crack that barrier but otherwise I'm just not going there.

And while we're at it, what does Dodger Stadium charge for corkage during the post-season? [cheers.gif]

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#35 Post by bweimer » July 25th, 2019, 2:59 pm

Almost always bring my own wine and actively look for restaurants with fair corkage policies. Always bring my own stems to places with free corkage.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#36 Post by Sh@n A » July 25th, 2019, 3:01 pm

bweimer wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 2:59 pm
Almost always bring my own wine and actively look for restaurants with fair corkage policies. Always bring my own stems to places with free corkage.
How do you physically bring this stuff, what bag do you have?
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#37 Post by alan weinberg » July 25th, 2019, 3:03 pm

Chris D wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 10:28 am
Typically do a cocktail, a beer and glass with dinner. Rarely a bottle from the list and, when we do, it's sub $100. Always prefer bringing a nice bottle if the venue allows. Hate paying the markups on wine when I have a cellar of great juice at home.
+1. and we always share w somm or staff. Always a bottle they’d never see.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#38 Post by M. Meer » July 25th, 2019, 3:47 pm

Unfortunately, most places in LA don't get it. Angler's looks like it might be possible to go off the list for a change.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#39 Post by David Glasser » July 25th, 2019, 6:05 pm

Business dinners I order off the list. We keep it in the $50-100 range and hope for something palatable or interesting on the list. Exciting rarely happens.

Private dinners we usually BYO or go with a cocktail or sparkler to start, followed by a glass of wine if something appeals. If nothing looks good, a cocktail or iced tea and water. If a wine on the list is very appealing and is a good deal we might order a bottle.

I have no interest in analyzing the restaurant's business model and tip distribution system to come to some decision on what to order or bring based on that calculation. I want to drink something I like at a price I can tolerate.

We usually tip 25% on the entire bill unless an expensive bottle was ordered, which rarely occurs. Significantly more if a group brought a lot of bottles and corkage was reasonable.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#40 Post by Chris Seiber » July 25th, 2019, 6:07 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 10:32 am
Unless the restaurant has an amazing cellar, I bring my own. I like older wine, and 99% of all restaurants have young wines with horrible mark ups. Happy to pay a reasonable corkage
Me too.

Plus, bringing wine takes all the pressure off everyone for wine selection and cost. Otherwise, I’d be “the wine guy” expected to pick wines off the list for the table, then having to guess which wines (a) aren’t going to offend others with the cost, yet (b) aren’t going to suck and reflect badly on me for picking them.

I bring good wines, everyone gets what they want, no stress.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#41 Post by Albert R » July 25th, 2019, 6:12 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 6:07 pm
Mark Golodetz wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 10:32 am
Unless the restaurant has an amazing cellar, I bring my own. I like older wine, and 99% of all restaurants have young wines with horrible mark ups. Happy to pay a reasonable corkage
Me too.

Plus, bringing wine takes all the pressure off everyone for wine selection and cost. Otherwise, I’d be “the wine guy” expected to pick wines off the list for the table, then having to guess which wines (a) aren’t going to offend others with the cost, yet (b) aren’t going to suck and reflect badly on me for picking them.

I bring good wines, everyone gets what they want, no stress.
+1000........ Exactly.......
Cheers,

@. Re-go

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#42 Post by Wes Barton » July 25th, 2019, 6:36 pm

Fred C wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 1:11 pm
I used to think that I was okay with a restaurant charging me progressive corkage as long as they allow me to bring as many bottles as I want (35/35/65/65/75).

However I’ve recently discovered SF restaurants (Angler is one of them) are doing 65/65/100/100/100...so that has given me some pause.

I understand a restaurant needs to make money, but at $100 a bottle corkage, I’m going elsewhere.
In SF there's endless elsewhere. There are places that self-promote, getting their names hyped in national magazines and there are low-key spots that are just as good that cater to local loyal customers.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#43 Post by Yao C » July 25th, 2019, 6:49 pm

Most of the time I'll pick the restaurant without thought to their wine list, and will BYO unless it's prohibited or ridiculously expensive

Then there are a few places where I actually look forward to buying wine off the list, even quite expensive wine, because the restaurant offers value (cf. Heirloom Cafe and The Morris in SF)
Sh@n A wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 3:01 pm
How do you physically bring this stuff, what bag do you have?
I've got a Wine Check Elite with a 6 bottle styro insert; glasses fit pretty snugly in there
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#44 Post by Randy Bowman » July 25th, 2019, 7:28 pm

We rarely get the opportunity to eat out. If it's Mexican food I'm drinking beer off their menu. If we go to a steak house or Italian restaurant, we usually bring one bottle and buy one or more bottles, depending on the number of people there are. There have been several occasions where I checked the wine list of a new restaurant to determine what wine to bring that is NOT on their list and corkage fees. If I see they have Chappellet Signature Cab for under $140 and it goes with the main course, I may not bring any wine and buy both pre-dinner/appetizer/salad white wine and purchase the Chappellet for dinner. It's the happiest medium for me and the restaurant that doesn't overprice their wine. Here in Napa we have a wide variety of restaurants and pricing. What can be surprising is to see wine X is $210 at an Italian restaurant where the average meal is $28 and wine X is $180 at the high end steak house where the average meal is $45.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#45 Post by Leonard Maran » July 25th, 2019, 8:27 pm

I live in San Francisco. I will bring a $30.00 bottle, usually to an ethnic restaurant that does not charge corkage. Otherwise, I have a deep wine cellar, and I always bring my wine. It isn't about saving money; in my case I'll never
be able to drink all my wine in my lifetime. Plus, the restaurants I frequent don't have older vintage bottles.What's left will be auctioned off for charity.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#46 Post by markjchambers » July 26th, 2019, 11:56 am

In Dayton, Ohio, corkage (where it is available) is usually $10 and those places tend to have good lists with reasonable markups. Nothing like NY or SF in terms of depth or cost. I generally bring red and buy white so I don't have to hassle with chilling and having whites at the right temperature. If we bring wine, we are likely to start with a beer or a cocktail. I usually bring wines that were purchased directly from the wineries which have been cellared until they are in their prime drinking window. They usually decant for me. And since I'm a regular and generous with the waitstaff, corkage is often waved.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#47 Post by Brian Bohr » July 26th, 2019, 8:03 pm

Two weeks ago while in Burgundy I bought 5 bottles of wine off various lists in one day. I don’t think I have bought 5 bottles from lists in the U.S. all year. Rare that I find a list in Los Angeles that has an interesting selection that is aged and priced appropriately.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#48 Post by ybarselah » July 27th, 2019, 9:15 am

Chris D wrote:
July 25th, 2019, 1:23 pm
Do restaurants tend to set their corkage fee at the markup of the average bottle sold? Seems to be that way, so if I pay the typical margin why should the restaurant care so long as I also spiff the waiter?
my research indicates that it's totally arbitrary.
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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#49 Post by Bob Hoelting » July 27th, 2019, 9:32 am

We BYO at least 90% of the time because there is such a plethora of low or no-corkage establishments here in SoCal. If anything, maybe a Champagne split off the list to get us started.

I don't get the few sentiments here that mention being "fair" to a restaurant. The fact that we are eating there is fair enough and I have never been made to feel like a crook by any staff at a place where I've brought my own.

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Re: Wine list buying vs. corkage habit

#50 Post by Dan Hammer » July 27th, 2019, 10:01 am

I'm happy to pay corkage if I can bring my wine. When I'm stuck eating at a restaurant that doesn't allow corkage (or in Las Vegas, where margins are only impressive to bean counters), I punish the restaurant with a glass of water; or if they're lucky, ice tea.

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