Corkage Fee Secrets: Tips for Restaurants and Wine Enthusiasts

If you’ve ever wondered about the mysterious world of corkage fees—those elusive costs that come with bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant—then you’re in the right place.

Whether you’re a restaurateur seeking to balance customer satisfaction with business profitability or simply a wine enthusiast, understanding the nuances of a corkage fee can transform your dining experience.

Ahead, we’ll delve into the world of corkage fee etiquette, exploring the reasons behind corkage fees, how they work, and how to calculate them the correct way. Let’s dive in!

What is the Corkage Fee?

A young bartender serving a glass of wine
A young bartender serving a glass of wine

A corkage fee is a charge that a restaurant, from fine dining establishments to casual ones, imposes on customers who bring their own wine to consume during their meal. The amount can vary greatly based on each restaurant’s policies.

The average corkage fee at restaurants ranges from $10-$40 per bottle. However, depending on the type of wine brought in, the fee can be higher, up to $100.

Why Do Restaurants Charge a Corkage Fee?

Pouring red wine from a bottle into a wine glass
Pouring red wine from a bottle into a wine glass

Restaurants charge corkage fees to customers who bring their own bottles of wine to compensate for the potential revenue lost from not selling their own wine.

This fee also covers the service the restaurant provides, including the use of glassware, wine chilling, uncorking, and serving the wine. It helps maintain the restaurant’s profitability while offering flexibility to customers who prefer their own wine.

How Does the Corkage Fee Work?

A waiter pouring a red wine to a glass
A waiter pouring a red wine into a glass

Before you bring your own bottle to a restaurant, call ahead and ask if they allow BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) and if they charge a corkage fee. If the restaurant allows it and you agree with the fee, bring your own bottle of wine to the restaurant.

Let the staff know that you have brought your own wine. They will usually take care of opening and serving it. Finally, the corkage fee should be included when the bill is presented. You are expected to pay this fee along with your meal cost.

How to Calculate Corkage Fees

A waiter filling a wine glass
A waiter filling a wine glass

Here’s a concise guide on how to calculate corkage fees:

  1. Understand the Restaurant’s Policy: Each restaurant has its own corkage fee policy. Some may charge a flat fee per bottle, while others may base it on the type or price of the wine. It’s essential to ask about the corkage fee before bringing your own wine.
  2. Determine the Fee per Bottle: Once you know the restaurant’s policy, find out the exact fee they charge per bottle.
  3. Calculate the Total Corkage Fee: Multiply the fee per bottle by the number of bottles you bring. For example, if the restaurant charges $20 per bottle and you bring three bottles, your total corkage fee would be $60.

Remember, offering your server or restaurant owner a taste of the wine you’ve brought is always good practice. This isn’t required, but it’s a nice gesture that acknowledges their service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is corkage so expensive?

Corkage is often expensive because it covers the potential loss of revenue for the restaurant when customers bring their own wine and accounts for the service provided by staff in serving the wine.

Do all restaurants have a corkage fee?

Not all restaurants charge a corkage fee; it varies from establishment to establishment.

How can I get the best value for my corkage fee?

To get the best value for your corkage fee, bring a bottle of wine that is unique or of higher quality than what’s offered on the restaurant’s wine list.


The world of corkage fees is a delicate dance between restaurants and wine enthusiasts. For restaurants, it’s about providing an exceptional dining experience while maintaining profitability. For wine lovers, it’s about enjoying their favorite bottle in a setting that complements their meal.

Remember, communication is key. Always call ahead to understand the restaurant’s policy and be prepared to respect it. So, next time you dine out with your favorite bottle, bear these tips in mind.

If you happen to have a restaurant yourself, contact us at SEO for Restaurants to increase its online visibility!

Andrea Abbondanza

Andrea Abbondanza, born in Milan (Italy) and now a proud Australian citizen, is a passionate food lover and the dynamic CEO of With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes around the world elevate their online presence. His journey from Italy to Australia has infused his work with a unique blend of European flair and Aussie charm, making him a go-to resource for cafes and restaurants looking to elevate their digital presence and grow their businesses.

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Seo for Restaurants is a boutique agency specialised in Google Business Management, SEO and Local SEO for restaurants and Cafes.

What can we do for you?

  • Be on top of Google in your local area
  • Reach new customers
  • Increase the number of phone calls
  • Increase the number of bookings and most importantly, increase revenue for your restaurant

Andrea Abbondanza is a passionate food lover and the CEO of Seo for Restaurants. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes worldwide elevate their online presence and increase

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