We’ve all been there: head out for a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant and order a bottle of wine with your meal. But what happens when you can’t finish the whole bottle? Two options are clear: leave the wine at the table, or pour another glass even though you probably have had enough. Problems arise with both of those options, however. Most people aren’t going to want to leave without finishing the entire bottle that they likely paid good money for. But if you have that extra glass, you might find yourself getting pulled over for an OWI on the drive home. You certainly don’t want to end your special night in a jail cell. But here’s a third option: take the bottle home with you!
Re-Cork the Wine
A little known law hidden in the Wisconsin Statutes governing alcoholic beverages actually allows restaurants to re-cork a single bottle and send it home with you. Wis. Stat. Sec. 125.51(3r) permits holders of Class B or class C liquor licenses to sell a bottle of wine for consumption both on and off the premises. The following criteria must be met, however:
- The premises is a restaurant that also operates under a Class B or Class C license;
- The purchaser of the wine orders food to be consumed on the premises;
- The restaurant provides a dated receipt that identifies the purchase of the food and the bottle of wine;
- The restaurant reinserts the cork into the bottle to the point where the top of the cork is even with the top of the bottle;
- The cork is reinserted outside of the hours of 12 AM to 6 AM;
Some restaurants go as far as putting the bottle of wine in a sealed plastic bag where the receipt is clearly identified, though this is not required by the law.
So the next time you order a bottle of wine with dinner and can’t quite finish it, you can now ask your server to send it home with you! This saves you money, you get to enjoy the rest of your wine, and you won’t be tempted to have that one extra drink.