More than 85 percent of industry professionals believe that consumers are demanding and ordering more wines by the glass than they were in previous years.
This is according to a recent survey of more than 150 top sommeliers, wine directors, and hotel and restaurant operators commissioned by Napa Technology, developer of the WineStation Intelligent Preservation and Dispensing System in Campbell, California.
Selling wines by the glass is an easy way to increase revenue, says Len Panaggio, a wine consultant in Newport, Rhode Island.
And it doesn’t just boost your revenue, but also your reputation, he explains, if you ensure you include some finer wines by the glass.
However, too many restaurants don’t. “I think a lot of mid-tier restaurants are afraid to push the envelope when it comes to putting an expensive wine on their wines-by-the-glass list,” Panaggio points out.
“The wines by the glass only need to be a couple of dollars more, he adds, and “as long as the selections are a higher quality, guests won't be shocked at the higher prices, and will remember [the restaurant] for having a great wine list."
Having finer—more expensive—wines by the glass is often an attractive way for diners to experiment with a new wine that costs $15 to $20 per glass when they wouldn’t want to buy an entire bottle.
“I think the biggest thing about increasing wine-by-the-glass sales is increasing the cost of the product because people aren’t afraid to spend money if the product is good,” Panaggio says.
And, he adds, once patrons enjoy an expensive wine by the glass they are much more likely to buy the bottle.’’
But even if they don’t, “the wine enhances their dining experience greatly,” he says, “and makes them more likely to return.”
When developing a wine-by-the-glass program, operators should make sure the wines are compatible with their food menu, Panaggio says. At the bar, it’s best to feature the wines by the glass on a separate menu to make them stand out.
It’s also important to include plenty of variety. A wine list should feature several Chardonnay and Cabernet wines, “that are going to sell no matter what,” Panaggio says. “But have different prices, different styles, different regions of the world, and make it fun.”
A good list should also include at least one Pinot Noir, one Sangiovese, which pairs with just about anything, and the two big trend wines: Right now that’s Malbec for red and off-dry Riesling for white.
And as important as the wines you feature, restaurants need to train their staff about wine.
“I think today that servers think they’re servers whereas in fact they’re sales people with a link to the kitchen. They have an opportunity to upsell.” Panaggio says.
Wine preservation systems can boost a wine-by-the-glass program, according to Napa Technology. Here’s why:
1. They maintain wines at the correct temperature for preservation and serving.
2. Portion control. Some systems monitor the precise pour of each wine.
3. Marketing. Savvy diners or imbibers know that wine tastes better when it’s been preserved.
4. They eliminate waste because the wine is preserved.
5. Information can often be pre-programmed into the machine to make wine pairing suggestions. This can give a server confidence when making recommendations.
By Amanda Baltazar