Bring Your Own WineBring Your Own Wine or BYOW for short is a program officially sanctioned by the LCBO under which you are allowed to bring your own wine to a restaurant provided that it has signed onto the program. Check BYOW to find participating restaurants in Toronto however note that this isn’t free. You will be charged a corkage fee, which could be as much as $60, so it would be advisable to quantify it beforehand. ¬†According to a 2013 article in the Toronto Star, the program is not well known in Ontario and only 12% of restaurants (17% in Toronto) have signed onto it.


Personally, I have never thought that this program was a particularly good idea. It is hard to make money as a restaurateur and the money they make from selling wine may be critical in keeping the business afloat. From a consumer standpoint, if you are not a wine connoisseur, I think it is too much effort. However, if you are a wine connoisseur, you are probably into food and wine pairing which means that you will have to figure out what you are eating beforehand in order to select the right wine. To my mind, a major part of the restaurant experience is to see what dishes are available and what sort of a wine list they have. Pre-planning the food and wine eliminates the spontaneity of the experience and hence is likely to adversely affect your enjoyment.