Corkage fee: Everything you need to know about this tax 2023



The corkage charge is a tax levied on catering establishments that allow their customers to bring in their own bottles of wine.

In this article, we look at the regulatory, financial and strategic aspects of the corkage charge. We will also answer the most frequently asked questions on this subject.


1. Regulations governing corkage rights

The legal basis for corkage rights

It is governed by French law, in particular the General Tax Code and the Consumer Code. Catering establishments must comply with these regulations in order to be authorised to offer a corkage fee service.

Conditions of application

To be able to apply the conditions, the establishment must hold a licence to sell drinks for consumption on the premises (licence III or IV). In addition, they must clearly inform their customers that they can bring their own bottle and of the amount of tax charged.

Un serveur est en train de servir du vin

2. Calculating and fixing corkage fees

How is the corkage fee calculated?

It is generally calculated on the basis of the selling price of the bottles of wine offered on the menu. It can be set at a flat rate or as a percentage of the sale price.

Best practice for setting the amount

To set an attractive and profitable corkage fee. We advise you to study the prices charged by competitors and to take into account the costs associated with service (glasses, carafes, etc.). Too high a fee could discourage customers, while too low a fee could affect the profitability of the establishment.

3. Advantages and disadvantages of corkage rights

Advantages for establishments

It can be a marketing tool, enabling you to stand out from the competition and attract customers looking for a personalized experience. What’s more, this practice can help reduce the costs associated with purchasing and storing wines.

Disadvantages and risks

The main disadvantage is the possible loss of revenue from wine sales. In addition, customers may be tempted to bring in bottles of mediocre quality, which could detract from the dining experience. Finally, managing this tax can represent an additional administrative burden for the establishment.

4. The impact of corkage rights on customers

Benefits for customers

It allows customers to drink a wine of their choice, which they particularly like or which they would like others to discover. They can personalise their dining experience and save money if the price of the corkage fee is lower than that of the wines on the menu.

Points to watch out for

Customers should pay close attention to the amount of the corkage fee and the conditions under which it applies. They should also make sure that the wine they bring is of good quality and matches the food offered by the establishment.

5. Developments and prospects for corkage rights


Current trends

The right to use corks is still a marginal practice in France, although it does exist in certain regions, such as Burgundy and Bordeaux. The democratisation of wine and the search for personalised experiences could contribute to an increase in popularity.

The outlook

With changing consumer habits and the quest for personalisation, corking could see a resurgence in interest in the years to come. However, this practice will have to adapt to the challenges of modern catering. These include digitalisation, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Also interesting: How to choose the best wine glass for professional tastings


1. What is corkage duty?

The corkage charge is a tax applied by certain catering establishments to allow their customers to bring their own bottle of wine and consume it on the premises.


2. Is it legal to offer a corkage fee in my establishment?

Yes, as long as you comply with the regulations in force (hold an on-trade licence and clearly inform customers).


3. How do I set the corkage fee?

The amount of the corkage fee can be set according to the selling price of the bottles of wine offered on the menu, taking into account the costs associated with the service and the prices charged by competitors.


4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of corkage fees for restaurants and customers?

For establishments, corkage rights can be a marketing argument and help to reduce the costs associated with purchasing and storing wines. However, this practice can lead to a loss of revenue and represent an additional administrative burden.

For customers, it offers the opportunity to personalise their dining experience, but consumers need to be mindful of the amount of the fee and the quality of the wine they bring.


5. How is corkage perceived, and what are the prospects for this practice?

It remains a marginal practice in France, but some regions are seeing a growing popularity for this formula.



It’s a practice that offers interesting opportunities for catering establishments and their customers. Although marginal, this tax could see renewed interest in the years to come.

Provided they adapt to the challenges of modern catering and comply with the regulations in force.

For establishments wishing to offer a corkage fee, it is essential to set the amount of this tax correctly. It is also important to clearly inform their customers of this tax so as to optimise their culinary experience.