Excellent volley of discussion over at Vinography over the controversy on Delfina Pizzeria’s decision not to allow diners to bring in outside wine and be charged corkage. Despite the fact that the sister restaurant next door does in fact charge you $20 corkage, at the pizzeria you must choose from their (reasonably priced) list of wines by the bottle or the glass, or do without.
I’m fairly indifferent to this subject — I’m generally inclined to order off the list anyway. But what I love most is that this, in San Francisco, is a subject that is worth really caring about. It has generated some amazingly impassioned, even vitriolic banter. Over whether you can bring in your own wine. To a pizzeria. I mean, really.
The questions raised: Is it a way of preserving their margins on wine sales? Certainly not. If they extended the $20 corkage to the pizzeria side, they would almost positively make MORE money than what the make per bottle on the mostly-below-$40 wine list. Is it the owner’s stanch adherence to the conceptual pairing of particular wines to his Napolitan-style pizzas? I find that hard to digest. Even, or especially, in Italy, you would pretty much pair house wine with pizza — or, more commonly these days with the younger set, beer. Is it a way of turning tables faster? Admittedly, it’s a small space and it would serve them well to move the crowd along. But when we’ve been there there were plenty of bottles — from the list — on the table. I don’t know their exact motivations, and I don’t know the Stolls well enough to speculate. But I do know that they are not stupid, and that this is publcity money cannot buy.