Etiquette For Bringing Wine To A Restaurant.

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 wine lovers.  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!

We’ve compiled a list of Charlottesville dining rooms and their corkage fees. 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.

Aberdeen Barn
2018 Holiday Dr.
(434) 296-4630

The Alley Light
108 2ND St. SW
(434) 296.5003

213 2nd St. SW
(434) 984-2264

Bavarian Chef
5102 South Seminole Trail
(540) 948-6505

The Biltmore
16 Elliewood Ave
(434) 293-6700
Not Allowed

119 West Main St.
(434) 977-1818
$15/bottle, limit 1 bottle for every 2 customers

Blue Light Grill
120 East Main St.
(434) 295-1223

225 West Main St.
(434) 202-2791

C&O Restaurant
515 East Water St.
(434) 971-7044

Clifton Inn
1296 Clifton Inn Dr.
(434) 971-1800

422 East Main Street
(434) 202-7728

Downtown Grille
201 West Main St.
(434) 817-7080

Downtown Grille
201 West Main St.
(434) 817-7080

4372 Ivy Rd.
(434) 293-8352

227 W. Main Street
(434) 295-8668

Farmington Country Club
1625 Country Club Cir.
(434) 296-5661
$15/bottle (club-wide)

108 3rd St NE
(434) 971-7800
$25/bottle $15 for VA Wine

Fossett's at Keswick Hall
701 Club Drive
(434) 979-3440

Hamiltons' at First and Main
101 West Main St.
(434) 295-6649
$25/bottle $15 for VA Wine

Ivy Inn
2244 Old Ivy Rd.
(434) 977-1222

The Local
824 Hinton Ave
(434) 984-9749

Mas Tapas
501 Monticello Rd.
(434) 979-0990
Not allowed

633 West Main St.
(434) 979-6292

Michael's Bistro
1427 University Ave
(434) 977-3697

Mono Loco
200 West Water Street
(434) 979-0688
Not allowed

Old Mill Room @ Boar's Head
200 Ednam Dr.
(434) 972-2230
$35/bottle, must not be on wine list (call ahead)

Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar
416 West Main St.
(434) 975-6796

Palladio Restaurant
17655 Winery Road
(540) 832-7848
Not allowed

Peter Chang's China Grill
2162 Barracks Road
(434) 244-9818

Petit Pois
201 East Main St.
(434) 979-7647
$15/bottle $10 VA wine

247 Ridge-McIntire Rd
(434) 296-3185

826 Hinton Ave
(434) 972-9463

120B East Main St.
(434) 295-6691

The Virginian
1521 University Ave
(434) 984-4667
Not Allowed

2244 Ivy Rd.
(434) 979-0994

Whiskey Jar
227 W Main St.
(434) 202-1549

201 East Main St.
(434) 977-4944
$25/bottle (plus gratuity)