It can seem like getting a good value on
wine at a restaurant is completely impossible, given the huge markups some restaurants add.
Personally, I just can't stomach paying three times over retail for a wine I can
easily buy at the store! That being said, now more than ever, restaurants are catching on and
there are some good deals out there - if you know how to find them.
Our Secret #1 - Weekday
Specials. Many restaurants offer special wine programs doing the week to bring in
extra diners. These programs vary from specially priced set menus with wine pairings
included, to evenings where they offer certain bottles at or close to their own
Our Secret #2 - Go BYOB. This is the most direct way to get around the insane
markups some restaurants charge. Not all restaurants permit this - it's always best to check first.
Some restaurants are 100% BYOB if they don't have their own wine permit, while others
charge a fee, called 'corkage', for this service.
Our Secret #3 - Sample First. The worst way to waste
money on wine is buying something you don't like. Some waitstaff will pour a small tasting of a
wine if it's already open. Alternatively, the restaurant may offer a 'flight', with a small pour of
4-5 different wines in a theme. This lets you both find the one you like the best, and also
enjoy trying and comparing several wines.
Here are a few of our favorite 'go-to' wines in restaurants:
Albarino, Rais Baixas (retail $13, restaurant $22)
2007 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, Loire Valley (retail $24, restaurant $39)
2008 Crios de Susana Balbo, Torrontes (retail $13, restaurant $22)
2005 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa (retail $40, restaurant $66)
2006 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage (retail $20, restaurant $33)
2005 Veramonte "Primus", Chile (retail $20,
Next Article: Yes, there is GOOD wine for $10
>back to Wine Blog