02.How to beat the mark-up manoeuvre
If you’re looking for value for money when dining out, steer away from wines from the mid-range of the list, as these have the biggest margins added (as it's where most people select from).
Hospitality expert Tony Eldred suggests asking for advice and a recommendation from the waiter or sommelier. “If you're going to an upmarket [restaurant] then ask for advice, and the sommelier will give it to you – that's what they are there for. I often say 'I want something under $60', and they’ll generally give me good advice."
Bringing your own bottle to a restaurant you've bought from a bottle shop is usually the most cost-effective option, although fine-dining restaurants are unlikely to let you do this unless it’s a special bottle of wine. "And they'll still put a $20 corkage on it because they have to handle it and decant it and wash the glasses," says Eldred.
Websites such as Eatability and Urbanspoon allow users to filter by the term "BYO" and find restaurants that provide BYO options. But be sure you call the restaurant beforehand to check the price of corkage. Many restaurants charge per person – so for a large group of people, that $15 bottle of wine suddenly may not be such value for money.