BYOW: Bring Your Own Wine
Florida has always been one of the biggest wine markets in the United States. And in Naples, we are in the height of that large market. We have plenty of excellent restaurants, with very high-quality and high-priced wine lists. But in today’s economy many of us can’t afford to enjoy these excellent wines at the higher price points that restaurants are charging. The restaurants have realized this, and many have begun offering (yet not actively marketing) a bring your own wine program.
Bringing your own bottle of wine can lower your restaurant bill while also allowing you to open the world of possibilities of the wines available to you. However, there is an etiquette to bringing your own wine, some of the most important aspects are highlighted below.
1. Restaurants will charge a corkage fee. Let’s face it, when you are at a restaurant you are paying for two things: food and service. Opening your bottle is a service so many restaurants will and should charge a corkage fee for bringing your own wine. Corkage fees can range anywhere from $5 to $25 per bottle.
2. Do not bring a wine on the restaurant’s list. This is just a plain, large insult. Call ahead or have your local wine shop call the restaurant to make sure that there is not crossover with the bottle you plan on bringing and anything on their list. Safe bets are small production wines, unique varietals or blends, and older vintages.
3. Call ahead. Not every restaurant in town allows you to bring in a bottle, make sure you call ahead and get the details on their policy, corkage fees, and potential crossover on their wine list. So go ahead, break out that 1997 Brunello or Albarino that you’ve been dying to drink, venture down to one of Naples’ fabulous restaurants and enjoy your new found freedom from the restaurant wine list.
Here’s a couple places we highly recommend and some ideas for wines to pair with their cuisine:
Blue Fish Sushi and Japanese Buffet Pine Ridge & Airport Pulling Roads (Bed, Bath & Beyond Plaza) $5 corkage fee (they also offer a fantastic $18 sushi buffet!) Suggested pairings: Elena Walch Gewurztraminer ($25), Kung Fu Girl Riesling ($17)
Miramare Ristorante Venetian Village $15 corkage fee Suggested pairings: William Fevre Chablis ($25), Benton Lane Pinot Noir ($23)