BYOB

~In my last entry I promised this entry would be about a yeast trial on Riesling that I was going to attend at Cornell University’s Agricultural Station.
~In the driveway the morning of the yeast trials, I put my car into first gear, moved forward and felt the right front end fall to the ground. The suspension spring had popped, and a piece of it dug right into my tire.
~The estimated $1200 damage to my car kept me from making it to the yeast trials and so I will to talk about BYOB instead of yeast.
~When I was a young man in New York City, BYOB meant a party was going on—you went to the party, you brought your own booze, and I mean booze. Few brought Bordeaux to a party.
~These days, BYOB has taken on a new meaning, at least with wine geeks (being the sticklers that they are, you would think wine geeks would hate the idea that wine is considered booze).
~Anyway, wine geeks use the initials BYOB to bring wine from their cellar to a restaurant when they go out for dinner.
~The only times I have ever brought wine to a restaurant are those times when the restaurant I chose hadn’t had a license to sell wine. Because of weird licensing laws, New Jersey has a bunch of such restaurants and I used to live in NJ. Otherwise, I consider BYOB an insult to the restaurant, if not a loss of income. A restaurant is in the business of serving food and drink. If I operated a restaurant that’s what I’d be serving, and it would not be from the customer’s cellar.
~Many wine geeks claim that they bring their own wine because they have better wine in their cellar than the restaurant offers on the wine list.
~That may be the case, and if it is, I suggest they eat somewhere else.
~To be fair, these geeks often don’t mind paying a so-called corkage fee when they bring their own wine, and I suppose that mitigates the situation somewhat. But the geeks also want to dictate what the corkage fee should be, which essentially means that the restaurant is being told what its margin should be on wine.
~I would not like that if it were my restaurant.
~Other wine geeks claim that they bring their own wine because they do not like the restaurant mark up on wine?
~These same people will often say that they don’t mind paying a corkage fee and that they always tip the staff enough or more to cover what the wine would have cost them had they bought from the wine list—seems to me they could just as well pay the restaurant mark up.
~By the way, if you don’t like a restaurant’s wine mark up you still have the choice to eat somewhere else.
~I wonder if these wine geeks have any idea what the mark up on food is at a restaurant? Having to account for preparation and waste, plus service, I can assure them that the mark up is not low.
~If the wine geek is unhappy with the mark up on wine, why isn’t the geek unhappy with the mark up on food?
~Maybe the geek should bring wine and food to the restaurant and pay a corkage plus cooking fee to the management for the privilege, plus a hefty tip for the wait staff that would be equal to or higher than had the geek bought both wine and food from the list and menu.
~Don’t misunderstand me: I think most restaurants over-charge for wine. The truly egregious ones don’t get my patronage. The reasonably egregious ones get less than I would spend for wine had they been better priced. The smart ones get my money and my loyalty. But none of them ever get my BYOB, because I don’t BYOB.
~I am considering, however, that the next time I go to the movies I will tell the manager that I really need only a seat and some darkness. Not liking what the theater has playing, how about I pay $1 for the privilege of bringing my own movie and laptop with DVD player?

Copyright, Thomas Pellechia
July, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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