- Posted by Danielle Gillespie
What? This approach sounds incredibly boring. But sadly, also reasonable. With a generic paper wine menu offering little more than vintner, region and vintage it is difficult to get excited about taking a chance on an unknown wine. I honestly believe that this is a real shame. I mean, part of the allure of dining out is the promise of being introduced to new wines and foods with a focus on elevating the entire dining experience!
But more important than my humble opinion that this a boring approach to wine is the lost opportunity for a bump in on-premise wine sales. According to the expected consumer trends published in the Silicon Valley Bank’s 2015 State of the Wine Industry annual report, it might be a good time to start offering some more creative options on your wine menu.
SVB Prediction: Break Out Year of Growth in Fine Wine
In the 2015 annual report, the Silicon Valley Bank predicts the following:
- Starting in mid-2014, wines priced above $20 a bottle broke out strongly higher. “Trading up” is a clear trend again. Red wines in particular showed the strongest growth. We expect that to continue throughout 2015.
- Growth in sales of wines priced above $20 was driven by accelerating volume with little in the way of price increases getting through to the consumer.
- Wines priced below $9 per bottle performed poorly both on and off premise in 2014. The performance is likely to continue into 2015.
SVB: “We are predicting a breakout year of growth in the fine wine category in the 14–18 percent range in 2015.”
And in another professional study, this one by Chicago-based research company Technomic, consumers were asked to rate their on-premise consumption of wine today versus two years ago. Of the consumers interviewed, 33% indicated that they are drinking wine more often now than at any other time in the past two years.
Participate in the Anticipated Growth
What does this mean for on-premise wine sales at restaurants and country clubs? You are uniquely positioned to boost your wine revenue by making simple changes, to your wine menu, that are aligned with these positive trends.
- Consider adding more fine wine choices to your menu, leaning toward reds.
- Offer a higher-end wine by the glass to get people hooked.
- Try wine and food pairing specials to encourage guests to try new wines.
It is important, though, to keep in mind that the marketplace is tightly packed with a dizzying array of incredible wine options that can quickly become overwhelming to your guests. There are thousands of producers, regions and varietals to choose from and not knowing what a wine is about is the number one reason for ordering a “safe” glass of house wine. Unfortunately, most guests won’t ask for help. Fortunately, there is a solution, and one that will help accelerate your sales. Interactive wine menu apps have been proven to help both guests and servers have more confidence with the wine ordering experience by providing descriptions and label images. Some interactive wine menu apps take it one step further and also help guests liken wines that they already like with lesser-know wines. By adopting this new technology, you are provided with the ability to showcase your wine selections while erasing most of the risk associated with ordering from a paper wine menu.
The encouragement to explore is sometimes just the nudge a person needs to embrace wine as an essential part of any great meal (whether it be delivery pizza, dinner with family/friends or a celebratory occasion). If my own experience is any indication: it really only takes one great bottle of wine to set a person on their wine journey. Cultivating a satisfied, long-term wine consumer will ultimately boost your wine sales.
How will you help your guests break out of boring this year?