Restaurants’ wine racks unaffected by BYO rules

 | February 7, 2013

Wine-RackThe results from SPIN’s online poll, “Restaurant patrons are able to bring their own wine to participating restaurants, will you?” teeter on the middle mark, with those responding in favour of being able to bring their own wine to a restaurant just beating out those opposed to it.

However, despite the favourable response of restaurant-goers, many of the Sun Peaks restaurateurs haven’t seen many patrons bring their own bottles.

“The subject seems to be non-existing,” states local restaurateur Peter Ernst. “I’m still against it but we haven’t seen any impact yet. In fact, we’ve sold more good wine to guests and (ski) coaches this year than last year.”

Mario Erler, owner of the Sun Peaks Lodge Steakhouse, also hasn’t found that the new rules have affected his business, stating that the instance of patrons bringing in their own bottles is rare.

“How much does it affect me? Once every four weeks maybe,” says Erler. “Am I upset about it? Honestly, no.”

The bar and grill style restaurants also haven’t been seeing an impact of the new wine rules.

“We haven’t noticed any effect (at Masa’s); no, none at all,” confirms Kevin Smith, food and beverage manager for Sun Peaks Resort.

Kevin Tessier of Sun Peaks’ newest restaurant Voyageur Bistro also isn’t noticing patrons bringing their own wine, although he has no complaint if they do.

“We would welcome (patrons bringing their own wine),” he says. “No one is going to bring six bottles to a restaurant that I know of, so they’ll have their (bottle) then hopefully they’ll try some of your wine as well.”

Restaurants are expected to charge a corkage fee to patrons who bring their own wine, and the wine is to be served by the restaurant staff in the same manner they would their own bottles. The corkage fees of Sun Peaks restaurants polled range between $10 and $25. Left over wine may be taken away by the patrons after the bottle has been re-sealed.

“We have a $25 corkage fee,” explains Erler. “It’s not like we have it written on the door but the staff is informed.” Erler finds, too, that most patrons interested in bringing their own wine call first to confirm with the restaurant.

The July 2012 decision to allow patrons to bring their own wine to a restaurant is tied into the B.C. government’s plans to revamp the province’s liquor laws.

“The overall thing, I know what the government is trying to do, but they were a bit fast on this,” comments Ernst. “I would have done it in a trial phase.”

To confirm whether your favourite restaurant is a BYO-wine participant be sure to call ahead.