How much do you tip on a bottle of wine?
It’s like one of the great mysteries in life – along with Where’s Elvis? How the heck did they build those pyramids? and What exactly do the Kardashians do?
So let’s put an end to the enigma. While there are no right answers, here are a bunch of guidelines that will certainly make your sommelier happy — and maybe (hopefully) you’ll get an extra glass of wine out of it.
1. Service always counts. If you got the service you wanted from your sommelier (the person that comes over to your table and helps you pick out a bottle of wine), then definitely tip on the wine. So if you typically leave a 20% tip, make sure its on the food and the wine.
2. Consider tipping the sommelier directly. Often times the good sommeliers and wine directors are salaried or part of management and therefore not in the waiter tip pool that’s shared at the end of the night.
So don’t be afraid to ask your somm. If she doesn’t share tips, and her service warrants it, then tip her directly.
3. Let your sommelier taste older and rare wines. Often times, sommeliers spend their nights opening amazing wines for their guests and they never get a chance to taste them. It would be like working at a bakery and never being allowed a cookie. So offering your somm a taste of a rare wine would make her day and would almost be better than a tip. Almost.
4. If you can afford a $500 bottle, you can afford a nice tip. It doesn’t have to be 20% but your somm knows that you either have the money or you’re banging someone’s corporate card. So be generous.
Good sommeliers work hard to understand their guests, introduce them to new wines and service them properly.
So make friends.
Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for Foxnews.com, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip.