Wine is 4-times more expensive in a restaurant. Pexels

South African wine consumers are paying roughly four times the value of a bottle of wine when they order a bottle of their favourite in a restaurant, so they’re turning to bringing their own.

The Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW) movement is not only alive and well, but growing.  There are a number of reasons for this, firstly, the current economic climate has put people under significant financial pressure so, instead of going to a restaurant and ordering a mediocre bottle of wine for on average four times the retail price, they’re opting to bringing their own.

Ryan Sowray, of  SaleWine.co.za, has noticed a remarkable growth in people ordering wines to take to restaurants, and this is happening not only in South Africa, but globally. 

People making wine choices in restaurants are guided by two key elements: quality and price. 

 It’s natural to want the best quality for an acceptable price but while there are (some) restaurants that offer this, the vast majority will easily sell you a mediocre bottle of R50 wine for over R200.

Why pay R200 for an average bottle of wine when you can buy a five-star wine elsewhere for R150 and pay a R50 corkage fee? The same five-star wine is likely to cost in the region of R650 in a restaurant.

“‘Corkage’ is the price a restaurant will charge you to bring your own bottle of wine, and can range anywhere from R50 to R100 in South Africa, depending on the restaurant.

Remarkably, even the Michelin starred restaurants are following the trend.  In the UK, restaurants like Kitchen W8, Chez Bruce, Ledbury and Tom Aitkens have introduced the bring your own movement. 

Etiquette tips for bringing your own:


·       Call the restaurant upfront to ensure they have a corkage policy.

·       Don’t take a cheap bottle of plonk to a restaurant, it’s tacky.

·       Don’t take a bottle of wine that is already on their wine-list, it’s rude.

·       Never, ever take a half bottle of wine.

·       Remember the restaurant is supplying ice-buckets, ice, glasses and service, so tip appropriately, don’t be that guy.  

·       Always pay the corkage fee, it’s policy, and the right thing to do.

·       Thank the restaurant owner or manager for allowing you to bring your own wine, it will encourage him or her to continue the policy.  

What people bought online to take to restaurants in February:

Springfield Life from Stone - @R119 – on a wine list R290

Thelema Cabernet - @R235 – on a wine list R600