the forum

27 March, 2009

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:


Q Why haven't bring-your-own restaurants caught on in Britain as they have in other parts of the world?


Wine is how most UK restaurants make their money. Mark-ups of 300% are possible because diners don't know the real value of the wines they order, are a captive market

and don't wish to appear tight-fisted.

Sam, Tunbridge Wells

A It's interesting that, of London's 17 BYO restaurants

- a disgracefully small figure for a major capital city

- most are Middle Eastern or Asian. Perhaps it's simply that establishments specialising in European-themed cuisine see their wine offering as part and parcel of what they provide, and restaurants serving food from elsewhere are more likely to regard wine as something


Marie, London

A One restaurant I know offers BYO

from Sundays to Thursdays. With restaurants struggling, that would seem to be a sensible way of stimulating

business on quiet days of the week.

It would be good if this example was

followed by others.

Chloe, Middlesex

Q Can I buy wine in bulk and dispense it myself? It seems like a good way of re using old bottles brought in by customers and possibly saving a few tonnes of CO², and some money, at the same time.

A Demijohns (Edinburgh and Glasgow) already do something similar to what you are proposing - they have about 30-40 large demijohns of liquors, wine, spirits and even olive oil. They sell everything in pounds per 10cl as well as the bottles in various sizes (and are more than happy to refill your empty bottles). The one thing to watch out for is they have to write on the side what is in it, along with the strength (by law, I believe).

Jono, Edinburgh


Is my assistant right to say that price stickers look cheap on wine?

Giles, Somerset

Q I recently ran my first tutored tasting evening, for 12 or so people. Despite my efforts, nobody ordered anything. Is this unusual?

HJ, Yorkshire

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