Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bring Your Own Wine Finally Arrives

Yippee, I say.

Out of the blue, the BC government has announced that restaurants are now allowed to permit patrons to bring their own wine with them for dinner. I don't know that there's enough out there yet in the government media release to grasp all the devils in the details, but my initial reaction is hella favourable.

I haven't been privy to much opportunity at BYOW. In fact I can only remember one occasion when dining in Vancouver - and that was because I knew the restauranteur and it was a special occasion. There's certainly no chance of us ever having been able to buy a bottle of Penfold's Grange at full mark-up (mind you we didn't even buy the bottle in the first place but that's another story). I have, however, enjoyed BYOW when Down Under where it is far more common.

Now, I know that restaurants often rely on wine sales for a good percentage of their receipts, but I have to admit that, on occasion, I feel taken advantage of with some restaurant markups. I quite looking at restaurant reserve lists but I rarely actually order from them. It's not that difficult to figure out mark-ups when all the wines being offered are obtained throughout the provincial distribution system. Once those markups start hitting 150% and higher though, I kinda lose some of the enjoyment of eating out. I recall one lovely dinner where I figured out that the markup was about 250% above the bottle shop price. We darned nearly stuck to water.

I think being able to bring along a nice bottle from the home "cellar" is going to give us the opportunity to enjoy some special wines while letting someone else cook a marvellous dinner. I like that thought.

Those devils and details, that I mentioned earlier, will definitely still need to work themselves out though. The whole concept is a voluntary program and each restaurant can set its own parameters - such as the actual corkage fee, whether you can bring bottles that are already on the restaurant wine list or whether another application might come into play.

No doubt we'll see a lot of discussion over what will be considered proper etiquette. I just know that I'm looking forward to our first opportunity to try BYOW out.

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