All Wined Up

DC Corkage Fees


Guest post by Sarita Cheaves

If I were to define corkage, I’d say it’s BYOB for a fee. Restaurants charge customers to open their own wine while dining, and who knew there are so many DC restaurants that offer it? I love it, and here is why:

Some fees are free! Restaurant mark-up prices can be avoided. An appropriate bottle from your wine cellar may fit a special occasion.

    The Skinny on Corkage Fees:

    • Fees are typically $10 or higher.
    • You may have to buy wine from a specific wine store.
    • There may be a bottle limit. Some restaurants only allow customers to bring one bottle per table.
    • Fees may vary depending on the day of the week.
    • Policies differ from city to city.

    Corkage Fee Etiquette:

    • Call ahead to confirm the corkage fee policy and make reservations.
    • Purchase food from the restaurant. Corkage fees are a bonus for the patron. Be sure to compliment the restaurant by purchasing a meal to pair with your wine.
    • The server or sommelier will graciously assist you. It’s polite to offer them a taste of your wine.
    • Do not bring a wine that is already on the restaurant wine list.
    • Consider a starting quarterback wine. In other words, quality cuisine deserves quality wine. Try not to bring a benchwarmer wine to an all-star game.

    Some DC restaurants with corkage fees:

    • Belga Cafe
      • Free on Tuesdays
      • $25 Wednesday–Monday
      • No bottle limit

    • Dino
      • Free Monday–Wednesday
      • $20 Thursday–Sunday

    • Founding Farmers
      • Free for first two bottles
      • $25 after free bottles

    • Hank’s Oyster Bar
      • $20 every day
      • No bottle limit

    • Ripple
      • Free Sunday and Monday for bottles from Weygandt Wines
      • One-bottle limit for free corkage wines
      • $15 after first free bottle
      • $15 Tuesday–Saturday

    • Marvin
      • $35 every day
      • No bottle limit

    To view a complete list, check out Weygandt Wines’ DC Restaurant Corkage Lists.

    Try one out, and let me know how it goes. Cheers!

    Sarita Cheaves is a DC native wine blogger. She works in health care full-time and spends her weekends at Black Ankle Vineyards as a Senior Wine Associate. View Sarita’s blog, Vine Me Up and follow her on Facebook and on Twitter via @VineMeUp.