A Guide to BYOB Etiquette

Here are 5 tips of etiquette to bringing your own bottle of wine to your favorite restaurant:

CALL AHEAD: Find out before you go if the restaurant allows you to bring your own bottle and what the rules are there. Some may charge you a "corkage" fee to do so. Some restaurants will chill the wine for you, provide you with glasses and open and pour the bottle for you. Others expect you to bring your own corkscrew and glasses.

FIND OUT ABOUT FEES: Due to the recession, more restaurants are cutting back their corkage fees, which can range from $5 to $60 or more per bottle. Some restaurants are eliminating the fees on certain nights to draw in customers or are cutting the fee for just the first bottle. Be sure to ask when you call if you'll have to pay a fee to bring your own. If you're planning to bring more than one bottle, make sure to ask if that will trigger a fee.

BRING THE RIGHT BOTTLE: If the restaurant has a wine list but still allows you to bring your own, try to take a bottle that is not on the restaurant's regular wine list.

OFFER A SIP: Most fine-dining restaurants employ a sommelier, or a wine steward, to procure wines and provide advice to customers. Restaurants with a sommelier consider it appropriate to offer him or her a taste of whatever wine you bring, as a courtesy.

TIP WELL: Restaurants, particularly higher-end establishments, request that customers who bring their own consider the cost of the wine or the corkage fee when calculating a tip. There are no definite guidelines, but a bigger tip will certainly be appreciated.

Learn more on why BYOB is getting cheaper and more popular at restaurants hit hard by the recession.

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