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Tipping On Alcohol

I think you missed the point with your answer to the reader who questioned your article on 'Tipping on Alcohol'. No more "service or labor" is required to serve a $200 bottle than is required to serve a $40 bottle at the same restaurant. I always tip at least 20% on my meal cost; sometimes more when the meal cost is very small, because the service and labor should be recognized. I do not agree that a bottle cost of several hundred dollars justifies a full 20% tip. If the server is extremely helpful and efficient , maybe 20%, but I always offer the server a taste of a fine bottle.
Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

This was an older question, but it is interesting that tipping still generates quite a bit of interest and controversy. I have answered numerous questions along these lines, and it's clear opinions vary. After all, tipping is simply an accepted custom, as is the percentage. In some countries, the tip is included in the total amount on the receipt and is unknown to the customer. In the U.S., certain norms have evolved, but that does not mean they are accepted by everyone. Whether or not to tip on the cost of a bottle of wine - or any beverage for that matter - is certainly an area of disagreement, and many people do not believe they should use the same percentage applied to the food. All I can say is that it is up to you to make the decision. No one is policing your individual choice. I always tip on the full amount, but then again I don't buy bottles costing several hundred dollars!

About Our Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey, Portugal, China and the U.S. Roger is one of America's first Masters of Wine.

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