7 ways to make your BYO wine experience better

Few three-letter abbreviations besides DIY and IMO are more USA than BYO.

That’s “bring your own” bottle(s) for those of you who are in not ITK. That’s “in the know” for those of you who are not UOYA. That’s “up on your acronyms.”

It’s 2016 — everyone knows what DIY and IMO stand for. What’s more American than self-reliance and opinion-spewing? A BYO restaurant offers an opportunity for the former — it supplies the food, and you bring your wine. And for anyone lucky enough to live near such an earthly paradise but not clear on the finer points of BYO’ing, allow me to weigh in with these seven suggestions. Please don’t stop buying wine in restaurants, but when you choose to BYO, do it like you mean it.

1. Give your wine choices the attention they deserve. You are not required, as so many people seem to think they are, to duck into a liquor store on your way to a BYO restaurant and buy the first bottle you see. Look at the restaurant’s menu ahead of time, think about what you might order and match your wines accordingly. A couple of months ago, I went to a Mexican BYO with a friend, thinking we’d order some mole-sauced steaks. After we plowed through some appetizers and drained a bottle of white, he deviated, opting for a brothy fish stew. I told him the red wine was going to make the stew taste like dirty harbor water. “Oh yeah,” he said. “Red wine with fish.” Well, sort of. It wasn’t just red wine — it was that particular red wine. He admitted sensing subtle hints of ocean pollution and floating metal objects, but he kept drinking because he doesn’t care. You care, though. Go into dinner prepared.

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