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(By Eve Bushman) Restaurants are faced with a new reality that consumers clearly are on to corkage - beyond the BYOB backyard BBQ! Corkage is a critical component of a restaurant's beverage program, its ROI and hospitality.

From CorkageOnline Founder, Judi Laing

Welcome to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Corkage panel! - Judi Laing, founder of CorkageOnline.com, a national directory where you can find corkage policies for wine, beer - and spirits. 

So, we’re here to discuss all the merits and demerits of corkage. If Freud were here, he might ask, “What do Customers want?” as they vie for first position in the hospitality universe. After all, without customers…well, you can finish that thought! But there is a bottom-line reality to running a restaurant successfully and Freud might then ask, “What do restaurants want?” There needn’t be an us vs. them mentality so for one last famous quote, “Why can’t we all just get along!” 
From the Panel

Mandy Woodward: Somm at Faith & Flower, freelance consultant and wine educator; Hunter Hall: President LA Board of Directors California Restaurant Association and Principal at Archetype Hospitality & Development;

Lou Amdur: Wine Guru with an astonishing palate and Proprietor of Lou Wine Shop in Los Feliz; Bonnie Graves: Sommelier, Founder & President of Girl Meets Grape a wine & lifestyle advisory; Ting Su: Co-Founder of Eagle Rock Brewery , craft beer evangelist, founder of the Women's Beer forum, a monthly meeting about craft beer and Moderator: Piero Selvaggio of Valentino, dean of Italian cuisine in America.

Selvaggio got the conversation started by recalling his own start: 45+ years ago, a one page wine list that grew to what it is today. He felt, and some of the panelists echoed his thoughts, that people don’t bring food (someone called it a possible “steak-age” fee for bringing in food) into a restaurant so why do they feel so compelled to bring wine? The restaurant establishes a corkage fee for the service – opening, decanting if needed, glasses (high rate of breakage on fine glassware like Riedel) and clean up.

Hall said that some restaurants are changing their business model – providing one type of service during the day and full service at night – and there’s less discussion regarding corkage issues. Later he did say that restaurants and wineries should discuss fees, customers don’t understand the mark up and maybe a different pricing structure, or deals with wineries, could be made.

Read more here: Eve’s Wine 101: Corkage: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly