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.