The Dos and Don’ts of Bringing Your Own Wine to a Restaurant

Etiquette has certainly evolved over the years, and now, when it comes to bringing your own wine to a restaurant, many of us are left wondering – is this even allowed? How do I go about doing this without offending anyone or making a social faux pas? Thankfully, there are certain do’s and don’ts that will help guide you through the process of bringing your own wine to a restaurant. Read on for tips and tricks to confidently navigate these waters.

DO Your Research – Know the Rules and Restrictions of the Restaurant’s BYOB Policy Before You Show Up

The first thing you should do before you even think of bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant is to call ahead and check their policy. Many restaurants will have certain restrictions when it comes to their BYOB policy, so make sure that you read up on what they permit and don’t permit. The beverage manager of the restaurant should be able to tell you what is allowed.

DO Respect the Corkage Fee

When customers bring their own wine to a restaurant, they may be charged a corkage fee. Restaurants have slim profit margins, so they rely on alcohol sales to make money. Charging corkage fees (usually between $10 to $40) helps to make up for the lost revenue and cover the cost of serving the wine. If you plan on bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant, it is important to respect the corkage fee.

DON’T Open the Bottle of Wine until You Are Ready to Drink It 

Make sure you don’t open the bottle ahead of time. It is against liquor laws for restaurants to serve wine that has been opened by guests. It is also important to remember that it is best not to open the bottle of wine until you are ready to drink it. Otherwise, the wine will start to oxidize and lose its flavor.

DON’T Bring a Bottle That Is Already Available at the Restaurant 

If your chosen restaurant has an extensive by-the-glass list or even offers rare wines not found elsewhere, don’t bring something similar that is already offered on their menu. Bring something unique and special instead – something that complements rather than competes with the selections available at the restaurant. This gesture will be appreciated by both the sommelier and the restaurant staff.

DO Offer the Sommelier a Glass

It is customary to offer the sommelier or beverage manager a half glass of the wine as a sign of respect. If you brought something particularly rare, expensive, or special that isn’t available on the restaurant’s wine list, consider offering to them a full glass of it as thanks for accommodating your bottle. This is both polite and generous and can go a long way in gaining the respect of those in charge of bringing you the best service possible.

DO Respect the Establishment

The bottle is now part of service, so respect the restaurant’s wishes. Don’t try to haggle too much over the corkage fee or bring more bottles than you previously agreed upon. Additionally, drinking responsibly is key – don’t drink more than what is necessary, and always be courteous to restaurant staff, as they are there to ensure that your experience is a pleasant one.

DO Tip Accordingly

When you bring your own bottle of wine to a restaurant, it is still customary to tip. The amount will depend on the level of service that you received, just like with any other dining experience. Make sure to keep in mind that servers and sommeliers are still responsible for pouring, opening, and decanting bottles of wine – so be generous when tipping them! Be sure to also thank the staff for their help. This acknowledgment shows appreciation for their assistance and can go a long way in ensuring an enjoyable evening.


By following these simple rules and keeping in mind the importance of etiquette when it comes to BYOB restaurants, you can enjoy an excellent dining experience with your own bottle of wine in tow. Just remember to do your research beforehand and respect the establishment’s wishes when it comes to their policies. RayLen wines can be found in a number of local markets, restaurants, and bars. View the full list of locations that carry RayLen wine here. If you’re interested in bringing RayLen wine to your next restaurant outing, please visit our online shop or stop by in-person to see our selection! 

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