A Guide to Building Your Wine List & Wine Knowledge
A sophisticated wine menu and the overall wine knowledge your staff has can help attract new customers to your restaurant. The quality of the wine list you offer can potentially elevate your establishment above others in your area and help you offer exceptional pairings for your menu items.
Let’s explore how to build a great wine list for your restaurant.
Organize the list
The first step is to organize the list in a logical manner. Consider organizing by region or by grape varietal to help customers find their ideal selection.
Offer bottles at a variety of price points
A common mistake many restaurant owners make is only offering either high-end or low-end bottles. Choose several bottles at different price points to appeal to a wider range of people.
Highlight food pairings
Most patrons won’t know which varietal goes best with their meal choice. Help your customers out by showcasing the food pairings for your wines.
Helping guests choose their favourites
Find out what brought the guest to the restaurant, as this will help you in determining the type of occasion they are celebrating. If a customer is celebrating a romantic occasion, you might start out with recommendations at a higher price-point for an upscale evening. It’s also important that your wait staff find out about the guests’ wine knowledge before recommending options. Find out if they’ve tried one of your feature wines before and if they seem to be knowledgeable, your staff can explain more about the wines on your menu and their distinct palette.
Tools required for bottle opening
Next, ensure that you have the required tools and equipment at your restaurant to open any bottle of wine. Ensure the staff carries with them one or a combination of the following:
A wine key or corkscrew such as the Wing Type Corkscrew
Napkin and glass polisher
Our team at Zanduco Restaurant Equipment & Supplies offers a number of wine supplies, including corkscrews designed specifically for expert bottle opening at the table, such as the Combination Waiters Corkscrew.
Opening a bottle of wine at the table
This is a key part of the process for your wait staff, so it’s critical they take on bottle opening carefully and professionally.
Step 1: Cut the foil around half an inch from the top of the bottle using a foil cutter.
Step 2: Place the corkscrew directly into the centre of the cork and unscrew it straight into the air. With the cork three-quarters of the way out, finish the process by pulling the cork by hand, wiggling the cork back and forth to ease it out.
Step 3: Hold a napkin between the hand and the bottle to keep body warmth from affecting the temperature.
Learn the pouring styles
The pouring styles for each type of wine include:
Sparkling: pour slowly to avoid stimulating the bubbles.
Red: Slowly pour into the center of the glass until it’s around half full.
White: Slowly pour into the centre of the glass until the glass is one-third full.
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