Charlottesville Restaurants Corkage Policies

Given Virginia’s newly passed law allowing consumers to bring their own wines into restaurants, we’ve compiled a list of local dining rooms and their corkage fees for your reference. We’ll update the list periodically so please continue to check back for new additions and fee changes. If you know of any restaurants not on the list or changes to those on the list, please let us know and we’ll update with the correct information.

RestaurantAddressPhoneDescriptionAs of ?
Aberdeen Barn2018 Holiday Dr.(434) 296-4630$15/bottle7/14/11
Al DenteIX Building, 925 2nd St. SE(434) 295-9922$20/bottle7/14/11
Bang213 2nd St. SW(434) 984-2264$15/bottle 7/14/11
Bavarian Chef5102 South Seminole Trail(540) 948-6505$10/bottle 7/14/11
The Biltmore16 Elliewood Ave(434) 293-6700No7/8/11
Bizou119 West Main St.(434) 977-1818$15/bottle, limit 1 bottle for every 2 customers7/8/11
Blue Light Grill120 East Main St.(434) 295-1223$25/bottle7/14/11
Brookville225 West Main St.(434) 202-2791$15/bottle7/14/11
C&O Restaurant515 East Water St.(434) 971-7044No7/13/11
Camino220 West Market St.(434) 242-5412$10/bottle, ask for special bottles only7/14/11
Carmello's2208 Fontaine Ave(434) 977-5200$25/bottle (average)7/8/11
Clifton Inn1296 Clifton Inn Dr.(434) 971-1800No6/24/11
Commonwealth422 East Main Street(434) 202-7728$15/bottle10/27/11
Downtown Grille201 West Main St.(434) 817-7080No7/14/11
Duner's4372 Ivy Rd.(434) 293-8352$257/13/11
Escafe227 W. Main Street(434) 295-8668$13/bottle with purchase 2 appetizers or 1 entrée7/14/11
Farmington Country Club
1625 Country Club Cir.(434) 296-5661$15/bottle (club-wide)7/13/11
Fleurie 108 3rd St NE(434) 971-7800$20/bottle tentatively 7/6/11
Fossett's at Keswick Hall
701 Club Drive(434) 979-3440$25/bottle6/24/11
Hamiltons' at First and Main
101 West Main St.(434) 295-6649$25/bottle tentatively6/30/11
Horse & Hound
625 West Main St.(434) 293-3365$10/bottle7/13/11
Ivy Inn
2244 Old Ivy Rd.(434) 977-1222$15/bottle4/8/14
The Local824 Hinton Ave(434) 984-9749No7/14/11
l'etoile
817 West Main St.(434) 979-7957$10/bottle, call before coming to make arrangements7/8/11
Mas Tapas501 Monticello Rd.(434) 979-0990$15/bottle, allowed on a case by case basis.7/14/11
Maya633 West Main St.(434) 979-6292$75/bottle, discounted for special/unique bottles7/13/11
Michael's Bistro1427 University Ave(434) 977-3697No7/8/11
Mono Loco200 West Water Street(434) 979-0688$10-15/bottle tentatively 7/14/11
Old Mill Room @ Boar's Head200 Ednam Dr.(434) 972-2230$35/bottle, must not be on wine list (call ahead)7/14/11
Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar416 West Main St. (434) 975-6796No7/13/11
Palladio Restaurant17655 Winery Road(540) 832-7848No7/15/11
Peter Chang's China Grill2162 Barracks Road(434) 244-9818$10/bottle4/8/14
Petit Pois
201 East Main St.(434) 979-7647leaning toward $157/6/11
Savour1250 Emmet St.(434) 295-2220No7/14/11
Shebeen247 Ridge-McIntire Rd(434) 296-3185 $15/bottle10/27/11
Tavola826 Hinton Ave(434) 972-9463$25, ask for special/unusual bottles only7/13/11
Ten120B East Main St.(434) 295-6691$25/bottle7/14/11
Three1517 University Ave.(434) 984-4653Undecided7/13/11
Trinity1505 University Ave.(434) 295-7100No7/13/11
The Virginian1521 University Ave(434) 984-4667No7/13/11
Vivace2244 Ivy Rd.(434) 979-0994$15/bottle7/14/11
West Main333 West Main St.(434) 293-2605No, except for private parties/special events (fee tbd)7/8/11
Zocalo201 East Main St.(434) 977-4944$25/bottle (plus gratuity)7/14/11

Proper Etiquette For Bringing Wine To A Restaurant.

friend and I had a long talk with a local restaurateur on Monday evening (over a bottle of the 2005 Barberesco Asili from the Guild) about the new law. He made it clear that while the law takes money out of his pocket (decreased wine sales with a corkage fee that doesn’t begin to cover his average wine margin), he was thrilled to see the treasures his clientele were bringing in and loved that they were interested to pair these great wines with his food.

The good will is there, but a little friendly guidance might be in order to help preserve it:

  • Respect the restaurant — Not every restaurant will participate in the program — its voluntary on their part and if they choose not to allow outside wines into their dining room, they’ve probably got a pretty good reason.  (Often, a chef has invested so much time and energy in the cuisine that they may entrust wine pairing only to a trained sommelier.  Can you really blame them?)
  • Call ahead — If you do want to bring in your own wine, call ahead to confirm the corkage fee and apprise the sommelier of the wine you’re bringing and any special needs (a decanter, a mesh filter, a crane for that special 20 litre Nebuchadnezzar of ’82 Haut Brion you’ve been saving for my birthday!).
  • Hand deliver the wine — Upon arrival, politely remind your host that you’ve called ahead about bringing a wine and ask to whom should you speak about having it served.
  • Choose wisely — Don’t bring commonly available, current vintage wines into a restaurant and never bring a wine the restaurant has on their list. In fact, it’s a good idea to double check their wine list when you arrive to be sure.
  • Share – Offer the sommelier a taste and offer to send a taste back to the chef.  Let your server taste.  Or the neighboring table — sharing the enjoyment is the purpose of wine.
  • And finally, please tip well —  A little background:  There remains a debate about tipping on food alone or food and wine.  One argument for not tipping on wine is that the bottle mark-up includes the service.  A common counter-argument is that yes, the tip is for service — but the waiter is the one serving you, not the restaurant.  When you bring your own bottle, the restaurant has forgone the majority of money they make on wine by allowing you to bring yours for a menial corkage fee and your server has done exactly the same amount of work, if not more, but the bill doesn’t reflect that.  If you tip only on the bill, both the restaurant and server are now out of pocket.  The resulting chorus of complaints will yield rising corkage fees or restaurants deciding against allowing outside bottles altogether — and both are bad for winelovers.  My policy will be to add a full corkage fee to the tip and still come out ahead on the total cost, particularly because of my discount through the Wine Guild!

Enjoy your wines everyone!