Corkage story II....

Went out last night with some friends to a nice restaurant in Bal Harbour.

We order a bottle of champagne off their wine list and brought three bottles of wine.

At the end the bill included a corkage fee and separately a sommelier fee. I have never seen this before. They had nice stemware but didn't decant any of our wines they only poured them and by the way we offer a tasting of screaming eagle to the waiter and the sommelier.

We didn't care paying those fees but I felt it was awkward.....

Thoughts???
Original Post
Unless you were informed of the fee beforehand, or there were multiple written notices of it on both the regular menus and wine lists, I would question what their motivation was to arbitrarily tack on such a charge. Very, very classless IMO. Why don't they tack on charges for the busboy, cooks and hostesses while they're at it?
Never heard of a somm fee. I probably wouldn't have made an issue of it at the time, but certainly would be in touch with the restaurant management to let them know my thoughts.

When you're charged corkage, there is usually a presumption that some "wine service" is included.

PH
I would have been pi$$ed about the sommelier fee. Paying a corkage fee is no issue IMO, but a sommelier fee? Isn't the justification for the massive markup on wines at restaurants that they have to pay a somm, keep a selection of stems/decanters etc.? If there's a sommelier fee, that wine better be charged at retail prices - I'm sure it was not.
quote:
Originally posted by wineismylife:
I have good money that bets the sommelier fee is his/her replacement commission. Many sommeliers are paid a percentage of wine sales. He/she wasn't getting a dime off of your bottles so therefore...


Shouldn't he get a percentage of the corkage fee in that instance?
I don't know, sounds like he helped select the wines and match them to the food and kept them at the correct temperature for you and decanted them and kept bringing you clean glasses and basically worked his fingers to the bone to please you. I think you should have given him a fee AND a nice big tip.

I wonder if we'll start seeing waiter fees, busboy fees and waterboy fees now. Should probably leave a little something for the landlord too because he makes it all possible.
The sommelier fee is $ick.

It all reinforces the need to clarify costs and fees at the start.

It also makes me appreciate some of the restaurants here in T.O. that give us good wine service, whether we bring stems and decanters or not. We in return always share a taste - often with the waiter, sommelier, cook... And tip generously. When we have offlines, the bill is never below $100 per person.

We are fortunate enough in Toronto to have enough restaurants that are reasonable with corkage that it makes avoiding those that aren't - easy.
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
Everyday restaurant wine service seems to get closer to strip clubs. If I have to pay everyone in the place a fee, someone is getting naked.


Be careful what you wish for. I've been to plenty of places where I'd pay everybody to keep their clothes on.....

PH
quote:
Originally posted by redknife:
Went out last night with some friends to a nice restaurant in Bal Harbour.

We order a bottle of champagne off their wine list and brought three bottles of wine.

At the end the bill included a corkage fee and separately a sommelier fee. I have never seen this before. They had nice stemware but didn't decant any of our wines they only poured them and by the way we offer a tasting of screaming eagle to the waiter and the sommelier.

We didn't care paying those fees but I felt it was awkward.....

Thoughts???


How much was the corkage and how much was the sommelier fee?
Was there any indication of what the difference was (purpose, not amount) in the somm fee and corkage fee? You brought bottles and brought a bottle, would you have been charged a somm fee had you not brought bottles?

I'm just thinking that if they had a corkage fee already and they are different amounts, perhaps there is some other purpose to the somm fee other than what the corkage fee covers (though I can't imagine what they would be.)
quote:
Originally posted by CSM:
quote:
Originally posted by wineismylife:
I have good money that bets the sommelier fee is his/her replacement commission. Many sommeliers are paid a percentage of wine sales. He/she wasn't getting a dime off of your bottles so therefore...


Shouldn't he get a percentage of the corkage fee in that instance?


Maybe but I'm betting the corkage fee goes to the house.
quote:
Originally posted by jorgerunfrombulls:
dying to know how much the somm fee was, and what restaurant you went to, so I can make it a point to steer clear.


Restaurant was J&G grill at the St. Regis in Bal Harbour

Sommelier fee was $15.00 per bottle and corkage $30.00 per bottle

We did know there was a corkage fee but not a sommelier fee

Food and the limited wine service was good.
quote:
Originally posted by redknife:
quote:
Originally posted by jorgerunfrombulls:
dying to know how much the somm fee was, and what restaurant you went to, so I can make it a point to steer clear.


Restaurant was J&G grill at the St. Regis in Bal Harbour

Sommelier fee was $15.00 per bottle and corkage $30.00 per bottle

We did know there was a corkage fee but not a sommelier fee

Food and the limited wine service was good.


that's terrible!

i think the only time i've ever paid a sommelier fee was at this restaurant in ny (which name escapes me but it's closed now) where we told the somm what wines we were bringing and he had the chef make 6 different steak tartars and a carpaccio to pair with the wines we were bringing.

To which the chef adjusted the recipe and brought out 6 more different steak tartars after we opened the bottles and sent some back

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