Creating a unique and diverse wine experience with wine by-the-glass offerings is as important to customer engagement as providing a wealth of chef-inspired menu items. Opening the door to greater wine consumption by encouraging consumers to sample a larger number of vintages is a huge opportunity for restaurants. It is a win-win to encourage even casual wine drinkers to become more adventurous in their selections by allowing them to sip and savor a variety of wines without committing to a bottle.
According to at 2016 Mintel report, 60 percent of wine drinkers in the U.S. self-identify as beginners. They are confused by wine-industry terms (80 percent), want to know in simple terms what a wine tastes like (60 percent), and are intimidated and overwhelmed by the number of offerings on many wine lists (37 percent). In fact, that report shares that less than half of wine consumers purchase wine on-premise. This represents a big growth opportunity by simply tapping into purchase drivers for on-premise buyers. Offering wine guidance and education, clear food pairing, encouraging trial, and offering memorable experience via the wine list can dramatically improve the wine experience. These things can be challenging to manage by the bottle, but an expanded wine by-the-glass selection is an excellent way to up-the-ante in many wine programs.
The key to attracting more guests to try and enjoy new wines is to focus on developing by-the-glass (BTG) offerings that cater to people’s desire to experience a variety of wines in an approachable, unique, and memorable way.
Creating a successful BTG program can increase revenue and margins while catering to guests’ desire to know more about a greater number of varietals. In the past, keeping a wide variety of wines open and available for BTG programs was historically challenging. However, the advent of wine preservation technology is a game changer that expands fine and casual full-service restaurants’ capability to offer wines by the glass or even by the taste.
Restaurants can take advantage of wine preservation technology to overcome the challenge of waste on unfinished bottles. Offering restaurants even greater flexibility in BTG programs, the cost of adding wine tech to bar tools is a minimal investment per location and offers the ability to:
- Feature high end BTG pours
- Create thematic flights of diverse wines
- Develop inspired pairings to enhance the meal
- Offer wines in any quantity
The new trend in wine flights is an increasingly popular option to both educate consumers and increase wine sales. Restaurateurs can create once-in-a-lifetime shareable wine experiences by offering a rotating selection of wines that keeps guests coming back for more.
Here are five creative themes to “take flight” and watch a return on investment soar:
1. Wine Passport– Take your guests around the world, one wine country at a time, with flights from France, Spain, U.S., Italy, South Africa, Argentina, and other international wine producing regions.
2. Cabs Around the World– Select one variety of wine, for example a Cabernet, and serve a flight from an array of locales.
3. Old World vs. New World Bottles– Bordeaux or Napa? Tuscany or Willamette Valley? Let guests sample wines from the famous and less famous regions.
4. The Path Less Traveled– Bring guests to wine regions they may have never heard of from Nashik, India to Guadalupe Valley, Mexico, and everywhere in between.
5. Time Traveler– Use a flight to illustrate how different vintages of the exact same wine can vary from year to year.
Adding wine tech and serving more wines by-the-glass or via flights will:
- Increase wine sales
- Reduce waste cost
- Boost inventory turns
- Promote customer satisfaction
That’s ROI any restaurant will be happy to toast.
Frédéric Levy is the CEO of Coravin, Inc., the maker of the Coravin Wine Preservation Opener, that allows people to pour wine in any amount without pulling the cork. Frédéric joined Coravin after spending nearly 20 years with Nestlé’s Nespresso group. In his most recent role as president of Nespresso USA, he established key wholesale relationships with major retailers, including Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s.