I am a local (live in Napa, work in Calistoga) and wanted to go to Redd to celebrate my birthday with my girlfriend. Since it was a special occasion, we wanted to have some wine with our meal (as we often do at home), so I checked out their wine list.
I was glad to see that this wine list actually has some good selections on it (you'd be surprised how many Napa Valley restaurants carry really bad wines); unfortunately, the markup is RIDICULOUS. I saw one of our $18 bottles on there sold by the glass which would come to $52/bottle. That is unacceptable. So, since we have plenty of our own wine and would know exactly what would pair with our meals, I looked into their corkage fee.
Redd's corkage fee is also ridiculous: a whopping $25. The only place I know of with a higher fee than that is French Laundry.
In an SF Chronicle (SF Gate) article in 2006, Richard Reddington said that he wouldn't be able to make a profit from food sales alone. I'm sorry, but if you can't turn a profit from clients paying $40-$50 per person, then you need to get out of the restaurant business.
Well, Mr. Reddington, I won't bother you with "only" eating your food (because if I did go, I would only order water); I ended up spending $100 at Market in St. Helena, instead (the owner there didn't seemed pretty happy to have me even though I was only paying for food there.) The fact of the matter is that, on a Wednesday evening in the middle of the off-season (non-tourist season), one would think you might want to fill your tables (which means you have to have policies and prices the locals can get behind), but I guess not.
If anyone is looking for a comparable meal in a nice environment in Napa Valley, with more reasonable wine prices and corkage fees, I suggest trying Market in St. Helena (excellent food, excellent service, nice atmosphere, better prices, no corkage fee) or Brix in Yountville ($15 corkage, or waived with the purchase of one of their wines)
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