"Tips for taking wine to your favorite restaurant."

Tips for taking wine to your favorite restaurant.

I admit I know more about food than wine.   Recently this fact came to light as I was making dinner with a few friends, one of whom is a prolific writer and avid foodie.  Oh, and did I mention she knows wine?

We were talking about a local restaurant which serves a mean prime rib dip sandwich and if you bring your own wine, they’ll serve that to you without charging a corkage fee.  “No corkage doesn’t mean you bring in any old bottle, you should only bring something unique or that the restaurant doesn’t carry” I was told by Alison Bing, author of Lonely Planet's new Napa & Sonoma Encounter.   Silently I wondered if, or how many times, we’d violated that one. 

The other tip mentioned:  if you bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant a nice gesture is to offer a taste to the server so they can try it too.  We took her advice on our next restaurant visit and she was right, the server was impressed and pleasantly attentive the rest of our dining event.

A few other basic tips found online:

  • Try to be specific about your dinner selection so that the server can help with pairing
  • Wine should only be sent back if spoiled, not simply because you didn’t like your selection.  One site recommends you tell the server it wasn’t what you expected but pay for it anyway and order something else. 
  • Call ahead to verify that corkage is allowed.
  • Request that the wine list be faxed ahead of time to review.  This way your seemingly innate knowledge will impress your dinner party! 

From Alison:

  • Don’t order the least expensive wine on the list because it probably has the highest markup.   Mid-range in price is your best bet.
  • Order by the bottle instead of the glass, it’s always a better deal.

If you have a dining tip to share please feel free to leave a comment.  We really appreciate it!