Stocked wine cellars rejoice! — Photo courtesy of http://christmasstockimages.com
The British Columbia government recently made a huge announcement stating that patrons can now bring their own bottle of unopened wine to restaurants. This change has made headlines amongst the hospitality industry, some for it, while others remain against it. No matter the side of the fence you find yourself, this new law is pretty groundbreaking for British Columbia's notorious strict liquor laws and people are hopeful of further changes down the road.
Those that have a well stocked wine cellar with all of their favorite labels just waiting to be enjoyed with an excellent meal can now grab a bottle and bring it with them the next time they go out for dinner. Diners do have to pay a corkage fee and the price range is quite vast with corkage fees as low as $2.00 at select Vera's Burger restaurants (who doesn't love a nice glass of wine with a juicy budget friendly burger?), and as high as $65.00 per bottle at Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler. The majority of mid-range restaurants have their corkage fee between $10 - $20 though.
There are a few house rules when bringing your own bottle of wine into a restaurant. Firstly, it should be a bottle that they don't sell in the restaurant, and it must be commercially made and not opened already. When entering the restaurant, you must hand your bottle over to the staff, where they will bring it back to your table and then cork it for you. Licensees are still liable if patrons are over-served or liquor service is provided to minors.
There is no "official" list of all the participating restaurants and their fees, but one of Vancouver's most trusted food bloggers, Follow Me Foodie, has a pretty extensive and accurate list going. So far this law is only inclusive to wine, but locals are already starting a craft beer petition, so who knows what could happen next!