Why the $5 Dollar Bottle Charge?

Carpe Vino started in business more than 10 years ago as a pure wine shop, with retail pricing for all wine sold. When we opened the restaurant in 2006, it created a dilemma for us about how to charge for bottles of wine purchased by customers who dined in or joined us at the Wine Bar. Though fine-dining restaurants typically derive up to 40% of their profits from wine mark-ups, generally between two and three times wholesale bottle costs, we felt it would be impractical to create two tiers of pricing.

The solution we adopted was to create a $5 “restaurant charge” for bottles opened on premise to minimally recognize the cost of service, including presenting all wine in Riedel stemware. This is a fabulous value for our customers, and in fact, we waive the $5 fee for our 600 Carpe Vino Wine Club members.

In comparison, a bottle of say, Rombauer Chardonnay for which we charge $34 in our retail wine shop, should fetch upwards of $75 when served in any fine dining venue. At Carpe Vino, we charge the retail price of $34 plus a $5 “restaurant charge.”

The “corkage fee” at Carpe Vino is $20 per bottle for wine purchased elsewhere (corkage fee is waived for Wine Club Members, maximum TWO bottles per party). This charge recognizes that we offer several hundred choices, and pricing is retail. So, there is something for every taste and at every price point.

When it comes to the Carpe Vino’s wine-by-the-glass (BTG) program, we charge the industry standard of a multiple of .4 of the retail bottle cost to derive a BTG cost at the wine bar or in the restaurant. As an example, for the same bottle of Rombauer Chard, the retail price of $34 times the .4 multiple yields a BTG retail price of $13.60 a glass.

At Carpe Vino it is a better value to buy a bottle than to purchase four glasses, and that is why we typically inform customers that if they intend to consume two glasses, it is more economical to purchase a bottle and take home whatever they do not enjoy in the building

We trust that this explanation reveals the true value in our pricing. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. –Drew & Gary Moffat