6 Reasons wine is so expensive in restaurants

6 Reasons wine is so expensive in restaurants

A markup of up to 300% on wine is common practice in restaurants, but for the average diner, it can feel like a ripoff.

1. Wine is the easiest item on the menu to compare:

You can compare the wine you buy at your store to the one you buy in a restaurant by price. You might find your special dish only that this restaurant but the wine is not unique on the menu.

2. Food is also marked up but you can’t compare that:

If you make a comparison between a well-matured steak and a salad, the salad is marked up, for example, to compensate for the price fo the steak.

3. Food is quite cheap

If you look at the staff compliment to prepare the food, wine markups make up for the heavy staff costs.

4. Liquor licenses cost a fortune

It takes months and a lot of legal fees to obtain a liquor license, up to R25 000.

5. You’re not only paying for the wine

Luxury wines are expensive to store, the Sommelier’s advice and expertise need to be paid for and expensive glassware to enjoy the wine in can also be an expensive layout that contributes to the wine price.

6. Corkage fees

Wine markups are in an integral part of the financial health of any restaurant, so having a corkage policy is implemented as a deterrent, in the hope that the penalty will encourage guests to rather order from the menu. The corkage charge is also in place to recoup some of the losses.


To run a financially successful Restaurant is a real challenge, and if you have a smaller restaurant close to you, do support them by ordering wine from their menu.