Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

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

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.