Previously, I’ve written about being a big fan of being able to bring my own wine to restaurants. I consider it a privilege when a restaurant owner allows this. I’m okay with a reasonable corkage charge, but of course always appreciate when there isn’t one or when it is waived.
I think that restaurants should provide proper wine glasses, especially if they are charging corkage. [There is one restaurant in town that charges $20 corkage, which I consider on the high-end, but the glasses are barely adequate.] That being said, I have no problem bringing my own glasses.
Sharing the wine with the owner and wait staff is also a good idea. Wine is all about sharing, and it also shows that you appreciate the privilege of being able to bring wine to the restaurant.
But what I want to talk about today is…
Recently, I was discussing corkage with a local restaurant manager, specifically as it relates to tipping. This restaurant charges a $10 corkage fee, but the wait staff has a certain amount of discretion in applying the policy.
I was surprised to learn that very often, when customers bring their own bottles, they tip based on the amount of the bill without taking into account the value of the wine service. This essentially punishes the server for the customer’s decision to bring wine rather than order off the restaurant’s wine list.
There don’t seem to be any rules regarding this.
Internet research has turned up comments such as…
No tip at all for wine service.
Adding an additional 5% [for example, tipping 25% instead of 20% of the bill].
20% of the value of the wine.
For me, I typically try to follow a rule of thumb of a gratuity of about $5 per bottle, but this can vary. The level of service may warrant more. The relationship we have with the server can influence this as well.
I would very much appreciate it if Eve’s Wine 101 readers would comment on this. It would be especially interesting to get comments not only from restaurant customers, but from restaurant employees as well.
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.