Restaurant Wine pricing.
In our current economy restaurant patrons seek bargains when selecting wines.
“The first step to finding better deals is understanding the formula behind most restaurant wine pricing. The standard restaurant markup is about three times the wholesale cost, or about twice the retail price. In most restaurants, the markup decreases as the wholesale price of the bottle increases. An inexpensive bottle might be priced three to four times its wholesale cost, while a pricy wine may be marked up only 1.5 times. This so-called progressive markup helps sell more expensive wines.” Juliet Chung, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Life & Style, August 15, 2008.
This is not the formula we use at Elizabeth’s- our wines are more reasonable, however, this is a good quote to consider when comparing restaurant wine lists.
When comparing wine prices consider the additional expense a restaurant must spend to store and properly serve the wine. Wine should be stored in temperature controlled cellars or cool areas of a restaurant and when it is served in expensive glassware, like Riedel, there is a significant breakage expense. There is, for the best restaurants, an expense of training and tasting for servers. The really good restaurants have a serving staff that can perfectly pair a wine to the menu and the restaurant guarantees their recommendations ( taking back a bottle the guest doesn’t like.)
Becoming familiar with wines at your local wine store, or by trying a wine dinner where food is paired with wine, is a perfect way to begin your training. A few restaurants will have the best examples of varietals on their by the glass program and they will give you a sip to help you in your wine selection. Unfortunately, most restaurants select inexpensive wines to serve by the glass and charge enough to pay for the bottle from the first glass pour. We have never done that. Well, we drink open unsold bottles and we want to only drink really good wine. Life is too short to drink bad wine.
When comparing by the glass wine lists look at the size of the glass pour. If the pour is 4 ounces the restaurant can get 6 glass pours from a bottle, if the pour is 6 ounces, the restaurant can only get 4 pours from a bottle. As an example, at Elizabeth’s we select the best example of a varietal we can obtain which is often a highly allocated wine, change the glass list daily, serve the wine in appropriate Riedel glasses and use a six ounce pour.
Articles are appearing in Wine and restaurant magazines recommending prix fixe wine dinners as a way to increase wine sales. We, at Elizabeth’s, have been offering prix fixe wine dinners nightly for almost all of the twenty years we have been open. Look at the wines being offered and compare the price of the wine dinner with the wine list and menu.
When shopping in wine shops try to take advantage of tastings offered by your shop to fine tune your palate and wine knowledge to assist you in selecting wines you like. We offer tastings and flights of wine at our wine bar. You should be able to taste a wine when you are purchasing a quantity.
Once you have selected your wine for you and your guests you should raise your glasses in a toast.
Chinese: Ganbei! (dry your cup)
Dutch: Prost! (health)
French: Santé! (health)
German: Prost! (cheers)
Hebrew: Le’chaim! (to life)
Irish: Sláinte! (to your health)
Italian: Per cent’anni! (for one hundred years)
Italian 2: Salute (health)
Japanese: Kanpai! (dry your cup)
Russian: Vashe zdorovie! (to health)
Spanish: Salud! (health)
Welsh: Iechyd da! (health)
Americans don’t tend to have a single word toast. They normally toast to something in particular – friendship, love, the person at the event, and so on. Elizabeth’s By the glass list contains a note: THIS IS NOT A RECESSION it is “A pre-boom”- Celebrate with a glass of Champagne and The Traditional Toast at Elizabeth’s: “May all our Pains be Champagnes”
In one blog I listed some famous wine quotes. Here are a few more, from Benjamin Franklin.
“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“Wine is sure proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Not from Benjamin Franklin but appropriate:
In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it.
Drink a glass of Champagne- not Sparkling wine, but real Champagne. You will be glad you did.
Leonard Logan, Proprietor of Elizabeth’s Cafe & Winery in Duck North Carolina for its entire 20 years , is a wine judge, wine writer and wine consultant. He can be found sipping Champagne or Clark-Claudon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at Elizabeth’s with new and old friends almost nightly. If Leonard sits at your table when he makes his rounds towards the end of the evening the chances are you will sip some extraordinary wine. If you have any questions or comments or ideas contact Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org or elizabethscafe.com