Things to Consider When Buying Wine for Your Restaurant

“That’s a nice drop,” is a saying you want relating to your wine choices, not your profits.

So choosing the right wines to complement your menu, decor and theme is a critical component in your planning. Here are a few tips to help get it right.

Become a matchmaker

It’s all very well choosing a fabulous selection of wines, but if they’re about as compatible with your menu as beer and ice cream you’re in trouble. Your menu should be the basis of your wine selections. For example light white wines go well with fish; reds tend to go well with duck, and so on. Do your research and match wines to dishes or you’ll end up with more vintage wine than you planned for.

Cater for everything from connoisseurs to unashamed cask drinkers

Make sure you include something for every taste. Yes, if you run an upmarket establishment you want a wine list to reflect that. But not everyone who dines in your restaurant will be a wine buff. So make sure your range includes a suitable cross section from cheap and cheerful to vintage. Keep it short and sharp. A long, complicated wine list might seem impressive, but it merely confuses most and creates an unwieldy inventory.

Keep your theme corked

Your wine list needs to reflect the theme and personality of your restaurant. Make it relevant and appropriate to avoid confusion and mixed messages as to exactly what atmosphere you’re trying to create. If you’re an Australiana burger bar, you probably don’t want to be showcasing French wines. Ask what wines are intrinsically linked to your core theme. Is there a regional slant you can buy into? Or a bias to a particular type of wine – red, white, champagne?

Be on the case with your initial order

Depending on the size of your restaurant you’re going to have to face up to an initial bulk wine order that can leave a bad taste if not managed right. If you’re cashed up this may not be an issue, but if you’re not, you need to be prepared for an initial hit to your profit and loss. And it’s not just the wine purchase you need to budget for; you may well need to outlay for shelving and cool storage – bar refrigerators and maybe even a walk-in cooler. And let’s not forget wine glasses.


Filed Under: F&BHospitality

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