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29. Maximising profit with a quality wine by the glass offering

Selling wine by the glass is an essential part of today’s hospitality industry. Not only does it cater to moderation, it also allows patrons to enjoy more than one style of wine during their visit, or indeed for a group with diverse tastes to be catered for. Additionally, with a little thought, it can help to drive better sales and encourage repeat customers.

A by-the-glass list introduces customers to new experiences in an affordable way, and can be one of the best drivers of bottle sales. Having a more detailed approach to the offering means that there are more chances to appeal to different people, or the same people in different ways. Without choice, that potential sale of two to three glasses can just result in a one-glass sale.

Enhancing choice doesn’t mean that a venue needs to sacrifice its staple entry-level pourers – the ones that the customers love to drink and not think about too much, and also help to make a bit of extra margin – but rather supplement them with a couple of more interesting options, providing a broader selection of wines from different varieties, regions or vintages.

And this doesn’t necessarily mean a long and potentially unmanageable list; opening bottles as specials to suit the evening, or even upon the request of customers, is a simple way to add interest without overextending. It also gives the staff the flexibility to match new dishes or daily specials with the right wine.

Additionally, having an organic approach to changing listings, while still retaining customer favourites and margin winners, is a simple way to appeal to regular customers. A couple of extra listings and regular changes can be all that is required to engage the interest of customers (and staff) – people like to go back to the things that they love, but they also like to try new things.

And while simple variety in a by-the-glass list is a great advantage for any venue, providing even more compelling selections can grow a business even further. Many lists will feature Champagne for $20 (and a lot more) per glass, but will baulk at charging this for a glass of serious white or red wine. And this can be an opportunity lost.

Having high-quality, curio or iconic wines by the glass, or in tasting portions, gives customers the chance to choose to afford something that they otherwise wouldn’t, or couldn’t. It also gives customers comparable options when their bottle is finished and they just want another glass – following an excellent bottle of wine with an ordinary glass is a sure way to finish a good experience on a sour note.

Catering for the more inquisitive drinker, and the ones that are used to drinking in a certain window, is a simple way to maximise existing sales; it is also a great way to encourage repeat custom from these interested, wine-engaged consumers. Without these enhanced choices, potential sales can just be lost, and silently so, leaving untapped revenue at the table.

The reality is that there are many drinkers who will not flinch at paying $20, $30 or even more for the right glass of wine, in the right condition. And this is where care needs to be taken. Maximising the potential of this part of the market can yield tangible rewards, but skimping on the detail can have the opposite effect.

Ten or fifteen years ago, wines served by the glass were simply opened and left on the bar or in the fridge, no gas protection and no temperature differentiation. Today, thankfully, there are numerous systems that cater to venues large and small that control both the oxidative impact on wine, as well as the temperature windows that best express a given variety or style.

Using the right preservation equipment will ensure that the wines offered are in peak condition and served at the ideal temperature, giving customers the best experience possible. It also gives a venue the freedom to offer a broader range of wines, and provides the opportunity to sell more exclusive and interesting products, both boosting revenue and encouraging repeat visits.

We have a range of wine service and preservation equipment designed specifically for hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes. Our equipment protects open wine from oxidation for up to 10 days and keeps wine at ideal drinking temperature so that it is ready to pour.

 If you are considering a wine by the glass offering for you venue, please call our team on 1800 733 621.

By Marcus Ellis

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