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Dear Dr. Vinny,
When visiting a winery for a tasting, I always tip the server in the tasting room. If I buy bottles to take home, is it customary to tip on those as well?
—Connie, Fredericksburg, Texas
Tasting room experiences vary, from simple belly-up-to-the-bar tastings to much more informative sit-down experiences, and the expected etiquette can vary as well. Overall, I’d say that tipping at wineries isn’t expected or necessary, but if you get good service, it’s very kind of you to hand someone a $5, $10 or $20 bill, depending on the size of your party, the duration of your tasting and the quality of the service. But no, you do not need to provide an additional tip on any bottles of wine that you purchase to take home.
Back in the olden days, tastings were usually free, with the hope/expectation that you’d buy a bottle of wine. With the addition of fees, the expectation that you'll buy a bottle seems to have faded. But pay attention to your tab: Some wineries may include a gratuity on the bill. And if you’re not sure, it’s always OK to ask.
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