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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, 11 June 2010 10:48

Bring Your Own Wine Club in London

It may be a distant a dream in a country like India where you may not be allowed to take out the left-over of an expensive bottle ordered in the restaurant, a BYO Wine Club has recently been launched in London, taking the popular idea of  BYOB to another level for wines and champagne where the member may pay special or no corkage in the restaurants which include some Michelin starred restaurants as well.

The BYO Wine Club has been created by a couple, Christopher and Khadine Rose, when they realised that frequently diners  are prepared to spend big amounts on their meal, but they are not always willing to spend so much on the wine, especially because of the high mark ups.

The annual membership of £99-currently £75, entitles one to take the own bottle-preferably in the isolated bottle tote that comes with the membership. Many of the restaurants currently on the list have decided to waive corkage charges, which were fixed between £5 and £15, for a minimum spend per head instead.

So far over 45 restaurants have reportedly signed up for the scheme, from Michelin-starred venues such as Tom Aikens and Rasoi to smaller ones including Cambio de Tercio Road and Wodka. The membership allows the restaurants to develop a new band of customers while not offering any discounts to the existing ones who are not members. They are also likely to benefit from these customers ordering some value prices wines in their regular Wine List. The organisers claim they do not charge restaurants to join them on the website.

The membership entails following some BYO etiquettes, disrespecting which may be the cause of cancellation of membership.

BYO Etiquette Guidelines

There are no steadfast rules but the following guidelines reflect proper BYO etiquette.  And members are asked to bear them in mind when visiting participating restaurants:  

Endeavour to bring wines on par with at least some of the wines on the restaurant's own list. If you feel the need to bring a truly inexpensive bottle, it's best to do so at a comparably inexpensive restaurant. Also, where possible, please avoid bringing exactly the same wine that is on the restaurant's list.

Members are encouraged to peruse the wine list while dining at participating restaurants. It is possible there are some hidden gems that the member may want to try on a non-Club day. Naturally, this is one of the incentives for the restaurants to join the scheme too.

Members are also advised to consider offering the sommelier a taste of the wine; it’s always considered a nice gesture.

There are certain Don’ts which are also mandatory so the restaurants do not remove themselves from the Club’s programme. They include:

Do not bring any bottle format smaller than 375ml (half). Bottles larger than 1.5L (magnum) are permitted at the discretion of the restaurant.

Do not bring an open bottle of wine unless agreed with the restaurant in advance. 

Do not bring homemade wine or boxed wine. Only commercially made wine in a sealed bottle is permitted.

Do not bring beer, cider, alco-pops or spirits. Only wine and champagne are allowed. Sherry and fortified wine are allowed, but with prior intimation.

Many of the restaurants currently on the list have decided to waive corkage charges, which were fixed between £5 and £15, for a minimum spend per head instead.

Members themselves will be expected to book ahead and forewarn the restaurant they are members and will be bringing their own wine, taking in to account that particular venue’s rules. The website has a list of common sense “dos and don’ts” for its members to follow.

In India where the hotels maintain their high profit margins up to 400-500%, blatantly violating the government’s written commandment of no more than 250% mark up for duty- free wines , the F & B personnel might not be averse to the idea as it would be an additional revenues without affecting the sacrosanct beverage ratio-so prevalent in the industry, acting as a major roadblock on way to increased consumption. But the bigger administration problem for the government would be to also find a mechanism to make sure they are not cheated out of the duties and taxes due to them. Perhaps a study tour to UK might help the officials- England also charges duties on imported wines.

Details at the website at



Subhash Arora Says:

Not only that, the list is increasing. Ledbury-a two starred restaurant has joined in. Aubergin and Oranger which are part of the London Fine Dining Group, as also Arbutus, Club Gascon and Boisdale- all serving at £50 a plate without wine, have also joined in. London gourmets never had it so good! In India, we are light years away form this type of practice!!

Posted @ June 22, 2010 10:59


Yog Raj Says:

It seems they have been able to convince some Michelin Star red restaurants in becoming members. Very interesting development.

Posted @ June 21, 2010 16:45


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