As many of you vino-loving restaurant goers already know, there is a new law on Maui County's books, allowing establishments to let you bring in your own bottle.
But before you go driving around with that prized bottle of Opus One in the hot trunk of your car, here are some corkage etiquette tips to ponder.
* Call first: The new law is optional, and only a handful of Maui restaurants are willing to participate so far. Others are adamantly against it for liability and other reasons. In addition, even restaurant owners that are willing to offer corkage only want you to bring in wines that are not on their list.
Mama’s Fish House food runner Miranda Schweiner is on the team catering to your needs, when you bring in a bottle of wine from your own collection to be uncorked for your special occasion.
The Maui News/ CARLA TRACY photo
* The corkage fee: As examples, Merriman's Kapalua and Mala Ocean Tavern charge $45 per bottle; Mama's Fish House, $35. The fee includes the venue setting, glassware, bucket of ice, opening and/or decanting, and handling fragile old good stuff. But not the tip. So it's really not cost effective to pick up at $10 bottle at the big box store.
* Tipping is not a town in China: Restaurants are for-profit corporations. And, servers need to feed their children and pay the bills. The rule of thumb is to tip on the actual cost of the wine you brought in. Dr. Vinny of "Wine Spectator" fame writes that it is best to "tip slightly more."
* The trunk thing: If you can't drink it all and want to take the rest of the bottle home with you, keep the cork or cap, reseal it and put it in the trunk of your car, so as not to be ticketed with the open container law.
* Slow nights preferred: Don't be a prima donna and waltz into the restaurant on weekends or other busy times of the year and demand special attention.
* The privilege: Corkage is a privilege and not a right. The restaurant has the right to refuse you if you seem intoxicated or for other various reasons.