Corkage! What’s that about? (Screwcaps)


Last night, 12 of us went out for dinner at a local Thai restaurant here in Christchurch. We were with brilliant friends, the venue was great, the staff were pleasant and helpful and the the banquet style food was excellent, beautifully cooked and plenty of it – was enjoyed by all. The place was packed so obviously very popular… and we all had a great evening…

It was a BYO restaurant so we all brought along some nice bottles of wine to drink. Three Sauvignon Blancs (Astrolabe from Marlborough, Waipara Hills from Waipara and a Nederburg from South Africa!) a couple of nice Gewurztraminers (Torlesse from Waipara and Bushmere from Gisborne,) and a Canterbury /Akaroa Dry Riesling from Tresillian.

BUT $33.00 FOR CORKAGE! for 6 bottles ($5.50 each) that didn’t even have corks (all under screwcaps) – we brought them ourselves, opened them ourselves and poured them ourselves… so basically that’s $5.50 to borrow 2 empty wine glasses for the duration of the meal!

If we brought our own wine glasses and took them home would we still be charged? Is it a charge for borrowing and washing them afterwards… Are they individually handwashed afterwards then? No they have a dishwasher like most restaurants do!

So why so expensive? Corkage used to be a “small charge” for the waiter or sommelier to take your wine away, remove the cork and pour the wine for you – I’m was fine with that but now it seems you’re paying for nothing really…

Is it time that we as consumers questioned this?
If we pay “corkage” should we then expect the wines be opened and poured for us?
Should it only apply to bottles with cork closures?
Should it now be call Screw-age? What do you think?