Local restaurants take wait-and-see posture on corkage fee

Bill Nachman - Posted on Jul 13, 2011 - 03:35 PM

A new law went into effect July 1 giving restaurants licensed by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control the option of allowing customers to bring in their own wine.

The state is not keeping a registry on which restaurants choose to charge a corkage fee, said ABC spokesperson Kathleen Shaw. Restaurants can charge such a fee if they allow customers to bring their own wine into the establishment, Shaw said, but the state is not setting any maximum or minimum level for the corkage fee.

A check with several Gloucester and Mathews restaurants indicated none had yet established a policy for permitting patrons to bring in their own wine, but some were exploring the possibility of charging a corkage fee at a later date.

"We have not had any requests from customers" to bring in bottles of wine, said Nick Matheos, manager of Nick’s Spaghetti & Steak House, Gloucester Point. Matheos said he and his parents, who own the restaurant, have not yet discussed the possibility of charging a corkage fee in the future, but said they sell wine by the glass or bottle there now.

Richardson’s Café in Mathews Court House does not yet have a policy in place for the corkage fee, manager Scott Marshall said, and they have not had any requests from customers to bring in wine.

"We have not made a decision" about charging a corkage fee, but might choose to implement such a policy this fall, said Tammye Van Clief, who owns The White Dog Inn in Mathews with her husband, Cort. She said a few customers have asked about the new law and they plan to speak to ABC representatives to learn more about it.