Bringing your own wine to a restaurant can save a lot of money. Consider this: If a wholesale company buys wine from a producer for $10, chances are it will fetch $15 or more in your local wine shop. Restaurants generally double that, so you pay $25 to $30 (or more) for that same bottle.
Understandably, restaurants aren't huge fans of patrons bringing their own. To discourage this, most impose a corkage fee to open and serve the wine, which can be as little as $5 or, in the case of one restaurant on our list, as much as $75. If you bring in a bottle that's already on the restaurant's wine list, expect an even bigger hit.
While restaurants with liquor licenses will almost always allow guests to bring their own wine, it's always good to call ahead and confirm the policy and fee.
Here's a rundown of quality Hudson Valley restaurants and their wine policies, organized alphabetically by region.
The elegant and historic Kittle House is among the finest dining spots in the area (11 Kittle Rd., Chappaqua; 914-666-8044; kittlehouse.com). There is a comfortable formal dining room and a casual tavern with a hearth. The stately manor house also serves as a country inn.
While the restaurant's wine list is spectacular, some patrons like to bring in special bottles, for which they pay a hefty $35 corkage fee if the wine is not on the restaurant's list. If you show up with wine that is on the list, hold onto your hat -- the corkage fee is then $75 per bottle. The corkage fees are dropped on Mondays. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, dinner is served nightly and brunch is served Sunday.
With a pretty vista of the Hudson River and an umbrella-shaded patio, this 200-seat Mediterranean hybrid is a favorite summer and fall destination in southern Westchester (1 Van Der Donck St., Yonkers; 914-751-8170; dolphinrbl.com). The wine list is large and well suited to the food, but if you want to brown bag it, there's a $25 fee. Lunch is served Monday through Saturday, dinner is served nightly and brunch is served Sunday.
When this popular Greek restaurant opened in Bronxville in 2010, it lacked a liquor license, so customers could bring their own wine (502 New Rochelle Rd., Bronxville; 914-663-4976; www.eliataverna.com). When it received its license and began serving wine -- mostly Greek labels -- diners were accustomed to the old policy. As a result, the restaurant is BYO Monday through Wednesday with no corkage fee; from Thursday through Sunday there is a $10 charge. Lunch and dinner are served daily.
Encore Bistro Francais
Tiny, friendly, and resolutely French, this restaurant charges a corkage fee of $25 (22 Chatsworth Ave., Larchmont; 914-833-1661; www.encore-bistro.com). The 100-bottle cellar is 40 percent French, 40 percent domestic and 20 percent international. Lunch is served Monday through Saturday, dinner is served nightly and brunch is served Sunday.
Perched on the highest hill in greater Tarrytown with a killer view of the Hudson River and beyond, this ultra luxurious restaurant and hotel is often overlooked by area diners because, well, it's way up on a hill and they forget it's there (Castle on the Hudson, 400 Benedict Ave., Tarrytown; 914-631-3646; www.castleonthehudson.com). It's also very expensive, but ideal for special occasions.
The international wine list is a jaw dropper. If you pass on that and tote your own, there's a $50 per bottle tariff. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily and brunch is served Sunday.
This charming little seven-year-old restaurant in a former schoolhouse calls itself an American bistro (276 Watch Hill Rd., Cortlandt Manor; 914-788-0505; juliannas-bistro.com). They serve simple steaks, pastas and seafood and have a $10 corkage fee for BYO wine. Dinner is served nightly.
This recently renovated and downscaled Rye hot spot now sports a pseudo Maine fish-shack look and a fish-friendly wine selection (22 Elm Place, Rye; 914-921-8190; www.morgansfishhouse.net). You can bring your own without a fee if the wine is not on the list. Otherwise, it's $20 per bottle. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, dinner is served nightly and brunch is served Sunday.
Housed in a diner-like building near the riverfront in Croton, this casual fish joint is perpetually packed owing to its exceptionally fresh seafood prepared in creative ways (49 N. Riverside Ave., Croton-on-Hudson; 914-271-0702; oceanhouseoysterbar.com). There's no wine list, so you can bring what you like, although you'll still be charged a $5 corkage fee. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday.
Peter Pratt's Inn
Somewhat hidden in the bosky environs of Yorktown, this beguiling restaurant with a large fireplace boasts an impressive international wine list (673 Croton Heights Rd., Yorktown; 914-962-4090; www.prattsinn.com). The modern American food is nicely turned out. The corkage fee for BYO wine is $20. Dinner is served Wednesday through Sunday.
If you manage to get into this boisterous French bistro on the banks of the Hudson River in Irvington, you'll have a fine meal from a menu that mixes classical and contemporary (1 Bridge St., Irvington; 914-591-5888; www.redhatbistro.com). The wine list is well chosen, but if you want to blaze your own path it will cost you $30 per bottle. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, dinner is served nightly and brunch is served Sunday.
There's no wine list at this florid Persian restaurant, but not for lack of a liquor license (81 E. Main St., Elmsford; 914-345-6111; www.shirazrestaurantny.com).
"It's against my religion," explained owner Mohammad Abobaf. "I cannot open the wine or serve the wine."
Consequently, diners must open the bottles and pour them into supplied glasses. There's no corkage fee. Lunch and dinner are served Tuesday through Sunday.
A highly regarded New American restaurant in a charming stone house, Zephs' allows customers to bring their own wine for a $16 corkage fee (638 Central Ave., Peekskill; 914-736-2159; zephsrestaurant.com).
"We have a pretty modest list -- no big time expensive wines or anything like that," said owner Mike Zeph. "About three or four customers a week bring their own bottles."
Dinner is served Thursday through Sunday.
The flagship restaurant of celebrity chef Peter Kelly, Xaviars at Piermont has a wine cellar that is deep and diverse, with some of the finest wines from the states and Europe (506 Piermont Ave., Piermont; 845-359-7007; www.xaviars.com). If you bring your own, there's a $25 per bottle corkage fee. "The corkage fee," Kelly explained, "is to discourage people from bringing in everyday wine to drink with their meals."
This upscale New American bistro has a moderate size wine list with most selections from the United States and Italy (276 Main St., Beacon; 845-440-0050; cafeamarcord.net). If you bring your own, the corkage fee is $20. Lunch and dinner are served Tuesday through Sunday.
This splendid Tuscan-style restaurant, operated by students at the Culinary Institute of America, is among the top destinations for gastronomic excursions in the region (Culinary Institute of America, 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park; 845-471-6608; www.ciarestaurants.com). The restaurant has a $20 corkage fee. Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Friday. If you call ahead, you can schedule a tour of the extraordinary school.