What is the Corkage Fee?
The corkage fee is remuneration paid to an establishment for the right to bring back your own bottle of wine in order to drink it on site. This is a financial compensation for the shortfall of the owner.
What is the Price of the Corkage Fee?
The price of the corkage fee is obviously not fixed. It depends on the establishments and the situations. Generally, for restaurants the amount requested is around € 10. For weddings, the price of the corkage fee is 4 to 7 € per bottle. While for wine cellars also serving as a bar, you will be charged € 10 in addition to the cost of the bottle drunk on site.
How is the Corkage Fee Practiced According to the Situations?
Corkage Fee in Restaurants
Regarding restaurants, the corkage fee is a amount of money requested by the owner to have the right to bring back your own bottle of wine. This compensates for the owner that you don’t buy the wine on his menu.
The Corkage Fee at a Wedding
At a wedding, if you ask for a caterer but you want to bring your own wine, some caterers may ask you for a corkage fee by compensation.
Corkage Fee in a Wine Shop
The corkage fee for a wine shop is a little different. There are wineshop which also serve as a wine bar, so it is possible to consume the bottles from the shop on site. Knowing that a wineshop has a lower margin than a bar or a restaurant (a shop has a coefficient of X2 on the purchase price excluding VAT, while a bar or a restaurant generally has a coefficient of X3.5), a wineshop generally charges you a corkage fee for a bottle drunk on site.
Origin & History of Corkage Fee
The corkage fee dates from the 18th century. At that time, caterers who organized weddings and banquets started this practice to make up for their shortfall. At the end of the events, the caterer counted the corks to calculate the compensation.
Over the years, it is a habit that has been lost. Then in the 1970s, the Anglo-Saxon countries brought this practice up to date with the “Bring Your Own Bottle” (BYOB) concept in order to attract more customers (especially women who often prefer wine to beer) but also for establishments that do not have an alcohol license.
Despite this phenomenon, which has become international, in France still few restaurants practice corkage fee. Because often, restaurant owners make the most of the profit with drinks. So find out beforehand if you want to bring your own bottle of wine.