Corkage Fees, How Much Is Too Much?
If you are planning to bring your own wine to a restaurant it makes sense to call in advance as the prices for corkage vary wildly depending on a variety of factors including the fanciness of the restaurant, whether or not they have their own sommelier and/or carefully crafted wine list and to some extent, how nice you are about it. If you have a reason for bringing a specific wine and explain it to the staff and if it is clear that you plan to spend a lot of money on the food and other cocktails corkage fees are sometimes waived (but don't ask for that specifically). An article in Food and Wine has some decent rules for bringing your own wine including perhaps the ultimate rule: don't bring cheap wine. I've searched in vain for a U.S. database of corkage fees but there doesn't seem to be one (although there is a Canadian list). Slashfood's own Sarah Gim has a list of Los Angeles corkage fees on her blog The Delicious Life but we need a nationwide list.