ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

In a previous question about bringing a bottle to a restaurant, you recommended, "Call first, offer to buy something off the list, share the juice with the server, and tip like you mean it." "Call first" and "tip like you mean it" I understand, but offering to buy something off the list seems to defeat the purpose, and are you suggesting that we should give the server a glass? Is all this in addition to a corkage fee?

—Mike B., Morris Plains, N.J.

Dear Mike,

You make a good point. It's nice to be nice, but the customer is paying for a service, after all. However, I stand by my reasoning that respect between customers and service staff is a two-way street. Usually I don't show up to a restaurant with more than one bottle, and if a second is to be consumed, I like to order it off the list (some restaurants will waive your corkage fee if you also order an additional bottle off their lists). And yes, I might choose to offer a glass if the server seems interested in what I've brought. Remember that letting you bring in a bottle of wine is a courtesy on the part of a restaurant, and there is nothing wrong with being gracious about that.

—Dr. Vinny


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