Top 10 Low Corkage Fees: Vino, Vidi, Cheapie

Approximately nine out of ten wines made in the U.S. are grown, aged, and bottled here in California. We love our wine, and our local restaurants know this, often commanding their sommeliers to construct some of the finest wine lists in the country. For this, we are grateful. Mostly.

The mark-up on wine in restaurants is sometimes enough to make you want to sit on the corner in front of the restaurant with your own bottle in a paper bag. But if you think about it, many of those wine lists were carefully selected after long tastings and consultations, and what you're paying for is not so much the liquid as the process - from the first-class sommelier all the way down to the dishwasher who's polishing your glass. If you think you can do better (and some of us can), some restaurants allow you to B.Y.O.W. Then there's the matter of the corkage fees...

So we've compiled a list of what we think are the ten best corkage deals here in Los Angeles. Some have wine lists of their own, some don't want the hassle. Regardless, you will have a great meal to pair with your wine without killing your bill.

Cabernet and Merlot vines showing their post harvest colors.
Cabernet and Merlot vines showing their post harvest colors.
Steve Julian

There are some basic rules of etiquette to follow when bringing your own. Generally speaking, don't bring any wine that's cheaper than the least expensive one on the restaurant's wine list. Corkage isn't about finding a way to dupe the wine list prices - although we are about to show you some really great corkage values. If you're going to go to the trouble, bring something fabulous and tasty that simply won't work with a home-cooked meal. Take the time to review the menu online before making your wine selection and maybe give them a call to see if any of the evening's specials call for a particular selection from your stash. Now you're good to design your own wine-oriented meal out on the town - except for the location. Drumroll, please...

Felicia Friesema

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