BYOW: How, when, and where to bring your own wine out to dinner

Brian Helleberg of Fleurie. Brian Helleberg of Fleurie.

It’s been nearly a decade since Virginia made it legal for folks to bring their own vino to restaurants. The Corkage Bill of 2011 effectively gives diners more wines to choose from, and in some cases, a less expensive option to ordering from a restaurant’s list. “We have to provide value, whatever the customer wants,” says Brian Helleberg, owner of Fleurie and Petit Pois.

Most local restaurants offer corkage for $10 to $35. For the fee, diners’ bottles are treated with the same care as in-house wines —decanted, poured, and served in proper stemware. Most restaurants also prefer to be notified by diners before they show up with their own bottles. In fact, it’s proper etiquette (just like tipping as if you’d bought the wine in-house is), so call ahead, and you’ll receive a warm welcome.

“It’s great when someone has a special wine,” Helleberg says. “It’s flattering to the restaurant.”

Where to bring your own

C&O Restaurant

Want to BYO without having to CYA? C&O charges a flat fee and “passes no judgment,” catering manager Cristelle Koerper says. That means everything’s fair game, from non-vintage plonk to ’98 Petrus.

Cost: $25, no restrictions or discounts

515 E. Water St. 971-7044,

Ivy Inn

About four or five Ivy Inn customers bring their own bottles of wine per week, a spokesperson says. And it’s usually a special wine for a special occasion—exactly what the Ivy Inn is known for.

Cost: $25, no restrictions or discounts

2244 Old Ivy Rd., 977-1222,


What’s the best wine to bring out to dinner? That tasty little number you bought while touring local vineyards. “If it’s a local winery, it’s nice to have that relationship,” Helleberg says.”We get people in who’ve been sent from a wine tasting to Fleurie.”

Cost: $25 for Virginia wines; $35 for others

108 Third St. NE, 971-7800,

Mangione’s on Main

Regulars at Mangione’s predecessor Bella’s were long known to carry in wine for the restaurant’s low corkage fee of $15. The owners who took over the space in January have stuck with the policy.

Cost: $15, no restrictions or discounts

707 W. Main St., 327-4833,

The Whiskey Jar

As with most things, The Whiskey Jar keeps it unpretentious when it comes to corkage. It offers the least expensive fee in town (matched only by Bebedero). There’s occasionally some confusion about the corkage fee at the Jar, but tell ’em owner Will Richey himself confirmed it’s $10.

Cost: $10, free for Wine Guild of Charlottesville members

227 W. Main St., 202-1549,