Wine Tipping Etiquette

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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Sam Platt » Thu May 23, 2013 10:46 am

Keith M wrote:None of us (6 participants) were moved to insist that we pay 20% instead for corkage.

Keith,

On the rare occasion that I find a restaurant willing to let me carry in my own wine I will give them the choice to waive the corkage and accept a 20% tip on the price I paid for the wine, pointing out that they will take in more money if they accept the tip. Surprisingly the corkage is only waived about half the time.

Call me a skin flint, but I subtract the corkage fee from the total before calculating the tip.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Redwinger » Thu May 23, 2013 11:14 am

Tightwad Sam wrote:On the rare occasion that I find a restaurant willing to let me carry in my own wine I will give them the choice to waive the corkage and accept a 20% tip on the price I paid for the wine, pointing out that they will take in more money if they accept the tip. Surprisingly the corkage is only waived about half the time.

Call me a skin flint, but I subtract the corkage fee from the total before calculating the tip.


Sam,
Doesn't corkage go to management to cover the cost of providing wine service/lost revenue. etc while the tip goes to the staff? In my little mind, those a separate items. If mgt. does not waive corkage, then your approach seems punitive to the server, since they recognize zero additional income from serving you wine. I'll call you a skin flint...or very frugal.
Perhaps i have misinterpreted your post?
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Sam Platt » Thu May 23, 2013 2:56 pm

Bill,

If a restaurant charges me $25 to $50 corkage per bottle on multiple bottles I feel no guilt over not tipping a full 20% on the corkage charge. For reasonable corkage fees ($10 or less per bottle) I will tip the full 20% on the corkage fee. If the corkage is waived I am very generous.

This past winter we took a Heitz MV and a good Burgundy to a BYO place in Chicago. We gave our wine-loving waitress and the kitchen staff tastes of each. In return she slipped us free dessert. She got tipped on the unwaivable corkage fee along with a bonus tip of $70 just on the cost of the wines. I guess my corkage tipping policy is more of a guideline.

I prefer "skin flint-ish". :)
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Redwinger » Thu May 23, 2013 3:07 pm

Sam Platt wrote: For reasonable corkage fees ($10 or less per bottle) I will tip the full 20% on the corkage fee.


Sam=
Am I reading this right. So, a place charges you $10 corkage and the server gets an extra $2 in their tip?
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Jenise » Thu May 23, 2013 4:18 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:For an actual example, Jenise and I had lunch and paid exactly $20 corkage on a $450 bottle (that retails at $2,000, hee hee) recently.

None of us (6 participants) were moved to insist that we pay 20% instead for corkage.


Only $20? Have to admit I would have thought something around $50 more fair, but the restaurant offered us the deal and we took it, I guess.

Okay...just asked Bob. He said we paid $150 each, which is $90 each over the usual lunch bill. That's $540 for the Rousseau, then, no?
Btw, Bob also handed the somm a separate cash tip.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu May 23, 2013 4:42 pm

Jenise wrote:That's $540 for the Rousseau, then, no?


That's right, thanks. $540 not $450.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Jenise » Thu May 23, 2013 4:46 pm

Bill, speaking of restaurants. Add two to the party at Mirador on Sunday, would you? We'll join you.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu May 23, 2013 4:50 pm

Jenise wrote:Bill, speaking of restaurants. Add two to the party at Mirador on Sunday, would you? We'll join you.


Great!
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Sam Platt » Thu May 23, 2013 5:04 pm

Redwinger wrote:Am I reading this right. So, a place charges you $10 corkage and the server gets an extra $2 in their tip?

Bill,

It sounds so tawdry when you say it like that...

In essence I am carrying my own bottle of wine into a restaurant and placing it on the table. A server is using a corkscrew to open the bottle if I did not already open it myself for the purpose of aeration. The restaurant is providing wine glasses for my party and I. The server is (most likely) pouring the initial servings of wine into our glasses. The restaurant is not selecting, procuring, storing or suggesting the wine. Where is the value add. Corkage amounts to paying for the privilege of drinking my own wine in their establishment. Effectively I have offered the house a chance to reward the server by waiving their part of the pot. If they choose not to take my offer I will tip some percentage of the the house fee.

Given that I always tip 20% on purchased food and beverage, and that I am not engaging in BYO at inexpensive establishments, I don't see anything inherently unfair about my approach. Perhaps if Indiana gave me more chances to carry in my philosophy would change.

As Dennis Miller use to say - "It's just my opinion. I could be wrong."
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Redwinger » Thu May 23, 2013 5:12 pm

Sam Platt wrote:It sounds so tawdry when you say it like that...

Just one of my unique skills.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu May 23, 2013 7:51 pm

Redwinger wrote:
Sam Platt wrote:It sounds so tawdry when you say it like that...

Just one of my unique skills.


:mrgreen:

Let me pose another question about tipping.

The original rationale was to reward good service. I tip if I get good service and tip more if I get exceptional service, but I reduce tips or do not tip at all (usually telling management why) if service is lacking.

Many people I have spoken to about this seem to feel bound to tip regardless of quality of service. I have seen people leave, swearing that they will never return because of the horrible service, adding gratuity.

The question then (directed to everyone) - do you tip varying amounts depending on the service you get, or do you tip regardless of quality of service.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Redwinger » Thu May 23, 2013 8:15 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
Many people I have spoken to about this seem to feel bound to tip regardless of quality of service. I have seen people leave, swearing that they will never return because of the horrible service, adding gratuity.

The question then (directed to everyone) - do you tip varying amounts depending on the service you get, or do you tip regardless of quality of service.


I absolutely vary the tip, up or down, based upon the level of service. I also try, not always successfully, to not punish the server for service problems caused by other aspects of the operation. In those instances where I feel the service problem is beyond the control of the server, I will tip normally, but make a reasonable attempt to make my concerns known to management.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Keith M » Thu May 23, 2013 8:27 pm

Sam Platt wrote:
Keith M wrote:None of us (6 participants) were moved to insist that we pay 20% instead for corkage.

Keith,

On the rare occasion that I find a restaurant willing to let me carry in my own wine I will give them the choice to waive the corkage and accept a 20% tip on the price I paid for the wine, pointing out that they will take in more money if they accept the tip. Surprisingly the corkage is only waived about half the time.

Call me a skin flint, but I subtract the corkage fee from the total before calculating the tip.

Sam,

I didn't type what you quote me as typing.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Dale Williams » Thu May 23, 2013 10:07 pm

I also tip conditionally. 20% is my standard (for good to very good serice) , but range is typically 15-25% (it could go higher in special situations based on corkage factors addressed here and on other thread). I do not include anything outside my server's control in tip decisions about quality (I don't tip more because kitchen seemed to be in the hands of Thomas Keller, nor do I punish waitstaff for kitchen errors). I've never not tipped, but could see doing under extreme circumstances (but would ask to speak to management first).

I am not a rich man, and at one time in my life I have been among the poorest of the poor. I am quite cheap- I buy most of my clothing at thrift stores, will never go out for lunch if there are leftovers in fridge, drive a 17 year old Corolla, return my sparkling water bottles for the 5 cent deposit. However, when I am spending a lot of money on food (and especially if I am drinking wine that costs more than some people make in a day), I think maybe I can tip a bit more rather than try to search for a rationalization. I'd rather be a reasonably generous tipper who eats out 30 times a year than a tighter wallet for 33 meals.

Jenise and Bill, I'm still not clear what happened with the 83 Rousseau Beze. There is a reference to $20 corkage, but then it sounds like you bought off a list. Was it a corkage bottle ($20 corkage), a $450 on list, or $540 on list? Did you tip on corkage or price? Sounds great, but no way '83 Beze is $2K retail - more like $700-800 . I see the $1995 at Zachys, but using retailers who cater to rich like Zachys, 20/20, etc on older bottles isn't really retail (I've bought loads of wine from Zachys over 20+ years, but never paid their "retail" price). Average auction for that is $549 including all fees, so I'd say $800 at a retailer who actually wanted to move (Zachys has had that bottle listed for 2+ years)
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Jenise » Fri May 24, 2013 2:26 am

Dale Williams wrote:Jenise and Bill, I'm still not clear what happened with the 83 Rousseau Beze. There is a reference to $20 corkage, but then it sounds like you bought off a list. Was it a corkage bottle ($20 corkage), a $450 on list, or $540 on list? Did you tip on corkage or price?


I was there and signed on for this event knowing that the price of the bottle was $450 on the list. I was not privy to the rest of the calculations that resulted in us each paying $90 for a total of $540, exactly 20% more, but I presume the difference is BC's ridiculous tax. The restaurant is incredibly generous, I must add: we each brought a bottle to share in addition to the Rousseau, and corkage for all was included in our $90. We also separately tipped the sommelier, which of course anyone is free to do.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Joy Lindholm » Sat May 25, 2013 2:15 am

Bill Spohn wrote:The question then (directed to everyone) - do you tip varying amounts depending on the service you get, or do you tip regardless of quality of service.


As someone who is in the restaurant business, and has been subject to the $2.13/hr, I generally always tip at least 20%. Let me qualify that by saying most places we eat out at know we are in the restaurant/wine business, therefore, we are usually treated very well. On the rare occasion that we get poor service (and I don't mean something that is out of the server's control, like a kitchen mishap), I will still tip 20%, but may be compelled to say something to the manager/owner, so they have an opportunity to correct the problem. Also, it seems to becoming more the trend (at least in my city) for staff to pool and share tips, so I prefer not to punish everyone on staff if one person was less than par with service.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Victor John Randall » Thu May 30, 2013 9:26 am

Since you had the good fortune to purchase a totally underpriced bottle off the wine list ( 25% of what it retails at) I think it would have been more appropriate to tip on the generous side.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu May 30, 2013 10:05 am

Victor John Randall wrote:Since you had the good fortune to purchase a totally underpriced bottle off the wine list ( 25% of what it retails at) I think it would have been more appropriate to tip on the generous side.
Cheers, victor


Sorry, don't get that.

They price their wine reasonably so the server should get a bigger tip? I see no connection. The server puts out the same work for a $25 bottle as for a $200 bottle.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Oliver McCrum » Thu May 30, 2013 12:55 pm

Redwinger wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:I'd probably tip generously on the food total without wine and add on $20 for corkage on the wine. It takes approximately the same time to decant a $1,000 bottle as it does a $50 bottle. By what twisted rationale is the former worthy of 20 times the gratuity?


It probably takes the same amount of time to serve a $5 burger plate as a $50 entree so you'd tip the same dollar amount on each selection following your logic?



Exactly.
Last edited by Oliver McCrum on Thu May 30, 2013 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Fredrik L » Thu May 30, 2013 1:01 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
Victor John Randall wrote:Since you had the good fortune to purchase a totally underpriced bottle off the wine list ( 25% of what it retails at) I think it would have been more appropriate to tip on the generous side.
Cheers, victor


Sorry, don't get that.

They price their wine reasonably so the server should get a bigger tip? I see no connection. The server puts out the same work for a $25 bottle as for a $200 bottle.


:roll: :roll: :roll:

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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Mark Golodetz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:09 pm

I am a lurker here, and have posted occasionally, but never really got involved in so controversial a topic. I find myself a little concerned by some of the views here, which perhaps reflect differences in lifestyle, income and the markets people come from. Despite that, it seems that one or two people here are abusing corkage. Please forgive me if I am blunt, but I read through some of the posts, and wondered how some of the people can live with themselves. One poster decided to stiff servers when corkage was too high, although the policy had nothing to do with the server, and he doesn't get a penny of it. Even when he did tip, it was because the corkage was low, and even then, he tipped a percentage of the low corkage. It seems many people here feel corkage is a right ("if they don't do it, we can go elsewhere")-it's not, it is a privilege.


A restaurant makes money on its beverage sales not the food. Corkage is supposed to compensate the restaurant for that. The server does gets most of his wages from tips. Paying $2 tip for a bottle that would normally sell at the restaurant for say $80 is abusive. I actually go the other way; most of the time, if there is corkage, we tip 30%+ on the whole bill; that way we are making them whole. One restaurant we go to charges us $15 corkage. We open, decant our own wines; they are older bottles, and we do a better job taking care of them than the waiters do. Nevertheless, we tip the 30% every time; the food is wonderful, and we get to enjoy fabulous wines with their food. Eating out with family and friends is one of the great pleasures of life; when that restaurant makes it easier to enjoy great wines at a fraction of what they would charge, it seems a little churlish to short change the server.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:29 pm

I'm interested in the take on this that says to tip a full (20%) no matter what the service was like. I don't understand that. If the service sucks, to me that should reflect in tip. If the food sucks but was perfectly served, don't penalize the server, speak to the management. If we are going to tip no matter what, they may as well just include a tip into the cost of the meal and take the discretionary aspect out of it as they do with large groups.

Same on wine service - if you stand an old bottle up for a week to ensure that sediment settles out and the server just pops it and free pours into a decanter without using a light, so that you end up with turbidity in the glasses - does he deserve a tip? Not in my book. A wine server is supposed to know a couple of things - how to decant old wines, what glasses to use for a given wine (we've seen servers wanting to pour old Burgundies into what amounted to juice glasses) etc.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Oliver McCrum » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:48 pm

Bill,

There are a few places in my area where the servers would know those things without reminding, but very few. I don't think it's a reasonable expectation.
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Re: Wine Tipping Etiquette

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:04 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:Bill,

There are a few places in my area where the servers would know those things without reminding, but very few. I don't think it's a reasonable expectation.



Oliver, I am not talking about a corner cafe, I am talking about a top end restaurant with aspirations to high end wine service. I take your point that one couldn't expect that degree of knowledge/service in more modest establishments.
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