Bon Appetit: How a Sommelier Handles BYOB

Read: How a Sommelier Handles BYOB

By Elyse Inamine

There is a certain magic that happens when you’re dining at a restaurant with a bring-your-own-bottle policy. You become your own sommelier, and in turn, the vibes keeper, pairing crushable bottles with your go-to orders and making sure everyone’s glasses are always full. And to ensure that for you, your pals, and the restaurant, it’s best to come prepared. Brushing up on your BYOB etiquette—as in, call ahead to confirm that the restaurant actually has this policy and give them a heads-up you’re coming in—is part of it, along with bringing the right wine gadgets.

Whenever June Rodil rolls into a BYOB spot, she gathers fellow wine-industry friends, “an ocean of wine,” and, most important, the right gear. As a sommelier, winemaker behind June’s Rosé, and partner at Goodnight Hospitality in Houston, she plans ahead because nothing kills the mood like not having a proper wine opener.

Then, they’re ready to go with the BYOB experience, trying some of their best wines and inviting fellow diners and employees of the restaurant to participate, if they’re game. “We’re smiling, drinking, pouring, and, of course, someone is going to say, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Rodil explains of how diners’ react to the way she and other wine pros BYOB. “As an industry person, you’re like, ‘Oh you can bring wines here and it’s great. Would you like some?’”

Here, Rodil shares her tried-and-true recommendations for a few essential gear for your best BYOB experience.

Tom Beckbe Canvas Tailgater Bag

Anything can be a wine tote, but Rodil stands by this bag. “It holds six bottles perfectly and has all these little side compartments for all my wine gadgets,” she says. “I love it so much.” But you don’t have to get somm-approved gear to have a good time. “Just stuff your wine in your reusable canvas or backpack,” Rodil adds. “I unabashedly carry wines in the actual boxes they come in.”