Monday, December 17, 2012

Wine Tip of the Week - Restaurant BYOB if you can.

One eye-opening thing I learned as I started to get more familiar with wines and their retail price was how much extra you pay to buy and enjoy a nice bottle of wine in a restaurant. The markup on the cost of wine does go to the cost of training staff on wine service (from just the servers in some restaurants to multiple sommeliers in some restaurants) , providing glassware, storage of wine - basically funding the restaurants wine program.  I do agree that the extra costs must be factored in to the cost of a bottle of wine, but sometimes the markup seems extreme.

To provide an example I looked a the price list of a local chain Italian restaurant and picked a nice Italian Super Tuscan wine - Villa Antinori (a good rule of thumb for wine pairing - with Italian food).  

A bottle of this will set you back $44 in the restaurant with your all you can eat salad and breadsticks.  This same bottle just down the street at Total & More... $13.99!!!

I may be able to make up the difference in free breadsticks - but that's over 300%!!!

One option available to some (sadly not available in Arizona) - is to take advantage of restaurants that allow you to bring your own wine. The restaurant will charge you a "corkage" fee of typically $10 - $20 to open and serve the wine you bring.  I was a little hesitant at first when I first brought a bottle to a restaurant, but if restaurants do offer this - they don't mind at all.  Even outside AZ, I doubt your local chain Italian restaurant offers corkage, but something to keep in mind as you dine out.

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