Just because bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant is getting more popular doesn't automatically make it a good idea — not every popular trend is wise. In this case, though, the crowd is on to something: BYOB wine can be a very good idea. There are several reasons why you should consider a BYOB wine evening the next time you eat out at a good restaurant. By bringing your own wine, you'll save money, get a particular wine you like, and may have a better overall wine experience.
BYOB Wine is a Good Value
The first and most obvious reason to bring your own wine to a restaurant is the value. Restaurants charge quite a premium on the wines they sell off their wine lists — sometimes a 100% or more markup as compared to what you would pay for the exact same bottle in a local store. Of course, you're paying for more than just the wine but it's still a lot of money.
When you bring your own wine, though, you'll be paying less — even with the corkage fees, you will usually be paying less. Occasionally you may end up paying more, but you'll be getting much more as well. That's what I mean by saying that BYOB wine is a good value: you get more for your money, wether it's an equally good wine for less money or a much better wine for a little more money.
BYOB Gives You More Wine Choices
When you order a glass or bottle of wine at a restaurant, your choices are limited solely to the wines they happen to stock in their wine cellar. Even if they are a very good restaurant with a very good wine cellar, this is still probably less of a selection then you can find with local wine merchants. Even if the restaurant carries a number of rare wines, you should still be able to find the same or comparable by calling around.
So purchasing your own wine ahead of time means that you have your choice of all the wines carried by your favorite wine merchants, not just what the restaurant happens to have in stock. If you are unsure about what exactly you might want to drink, you'll have far more options open to you and are more likely to be able to try something special.
BYOB Gives You Better Wine Choices
Even though the restaurant might have a very, very good wine list, there are two reasons why bringing your own wine may give you a better choice of wines in addition to a wider choice of wines. First, even the best restaurant wine collection is going to be more limited in the best wines it can carry than local wine merchants. If you're looking for a special wine or special vintage, calling around to local stores may get you just what you want.
You don't need to be looking for an especially rare wine, though. If you've been drinking and trying out wines for very long, you've probably come across vintages that you personally found to be particularly good. These vintages may not be rated highest among the critics and they may not have been produced in small batches, but they are something you like.
You can't assume that a restaurant will carry exactly this wine, but if you have some in your own collection you can bring a bottle to a restaurant and enjoy a fine meal out with a wine that suits your personally rather than a wine you're settling for because it's the best you see on the list. This may actually be a reason for you to make a point of finding and keeping some of these wines in your collection — not just so you can enjoy them at home, but so you can occasionally enjoy them while dining out.
BYOB Gives You a Better Wine Experience
All of the above reasons for bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant culminate in the final and most important reason: it can help create a better overall wine and dining experience for you. You are far more likely to enjoy your wine, enjoy your meal, and enjoy the ways in which they interact when you are able to have exactly the wine you really want and were able to get it at the best price. If you really want to make the most out of your wine experience and your dining experience, then take control of that experience by planning ahead, picking out your wine, and bringing your own bottle of wine to the restaurant.