by salvador delclaux February 03, 2023 7 min read

Creating a wine list is an art that involves skill and oenological knowledge. The wine list is more than just a list of wine options in a restaurant, it is a visual expression of the personality and identity of the place. The wine list is an important factor in the dining experience for many customers, so it is essential that restaurant owners focus on its creation and ensure that it reflects the essence of their establishment.

Not all wine lists are created equal and it is crucial that they are carefully crafted to ensure their success. A poorly structured or confusing letter can negatively impact the customer experience, while a well-planned and executed letter can make a big difference. Ultimately, the success or failure of a wine list depends on the customer, so it is essential that restaurateurs pay attention to its creation.

To prepare an ideal wine list, it is advisable to turn to the restaurant's sommelier or professional waiter, since they will be the ones who will offer the wines and advise on the best accompaniments for the food menu. When creating a wine list, it is necessary to take into account several premises to ensure its success:

1- The geographic location of a restaurant can have a significant impact on the selection of wines offered to customers. If a restaurant is located in a region known for its wine production, it is likely that excellent local options can be found to include on the menu. Additionally, this can be an opportunity to promote and support local wineries.

But also, it is recommended that restaurants consider both local wines and wines from other regions when choosing their wine offering. This will allow them to offer customers a wide variety of options and ensure that there is always something to meet their preferences and needs. Additionally, including wines from other regions can also be an opportunity to expand your knowledge and experiment with new flavors.

2- What type of food do I offer in my establishment:

Each type of cuisine has its own unique flavors and textures, and it is essential that the wines on offer complement and balance these flavors and textures. For example, a seafood restaurant would likely offer crisp, dry white wines to counteract the strong, salty flavors of seafood, while an Italian restaurant might offer soft, fruity red wines to complement the robust, spicy flavors of Italian food. In conclusion, a restaurant's wine list is a fundamental aspect of the culinary experience it provides to its customers, and it is important to choose it carefully, taking into account the type of food offered, the customers' tastes and the price and the availability of the wines.

3- Wine list in the wine bar: how to make it perfect:

For a restaurant that wants to focus on wines and present itself as a wine bar, it is important to keep several key factors in mind when creating your wine list. Variety is essential, as customers expect to see a wide selection of wines from different regions, strains and styles.

Quality is equally important, so it is advisable to select only high-quality wines, previously evaluated by experts. It is important to offer a variety of prices to meet different budgets and needs. If you want to focus on a specific region or style, it is necessary to have a representative selection. It is essential to train staff on wines and their characteristics so they can provide recommendations and answer customer questions.

Finally, the wine list should be clear and accessible, with detailed information about each wine. By taking these factors into account, a restaurant can create an attractive wine list appropriate to its approach as a wine bar, which will appeal to wine lovers and enhance the restaurant experience.

4- The staff of a restaurant plays a crucial role in the customer experience and their relationship with the wine list. A complex wine list or one with wines that require special treatments can be a challenge for staff if they are not properly trained. In these cases, customers may receive poor service or misinformation about the wines, which can negatively impact their experience.

5- It is important to keep in mind that wines are a very delicate product and that their quality can be affected by how they are stored, served and presented. Therefore, it is necessary for restaurant staff to be trained in the special treatments that some wines require, such as decanting, proper serving temperature, and correct opening of the bottle.

In addition, it is important that the staff is informed about the wines on the menu, their characteristics and how to combine them with the dishes on the menu. In this way, they will be able to advise clients on choosing the wines that best suit their preferences and the dishes they have chosen.

Having 700 different types of wine is not advisable if only the same mulled wine is offered without variety. Currently, there is a trend in the market to impress clients with the number of references, but it is important to keep in mind that quality is much more important than quantity. Instead of having a wide variety of wines that we may only have a bottle of each or nothing at all, it is better to have a small selection of "exceptional" wines with a limited quantity.

Furthermore, it is important to consider that having a large quantity of wines also means having a large storage space and a large capital invested in products that are not being used properly. Therefore, it is better to have a smaller selection of high-quality wines that truly offer a unique experience to customers.

How to Create an Impeccable Wine List

A well-prepared wine list is a fundamental element in any establishment or restaurant that is dedicated to the sale of wine. Not only does it allow customers to have access to a wide selection of wines, but it also provides a sense of confidence and security in their wine choice. For this reason, it is essential to create a clear, organized wine list with all the relevant information. Here are some tips to achieve this:

  1. Type of wine : It is important to include the type of wine (color) on the menu, allowing customers to choose between different options, such as red wines, white wines, rosé wines, sparkling wines and fortified wines.
  2. Denomination of origin: The designation of origin or production area of ​​the wine can be a decisive aspect for many clients, so it is essential to include this information in the wine list.
  3. Name of wine and winery: The name of the wine and winery is valuable information for customers, as it gives them an idea of ​​the quality and style of the wine they are considering.
  4. Vintage: The vintage is a crucial factor in the taste and quality of the wine, so you should include it in the wine list.
  5. Price: You should include the price per bottle or glass, so that customers have an idea of ​​how much their choice will cost them.
  6. Grape variety: The grape variety is another relevant information that should appear on the wine list, as it can affect the flavor and texture of the wine.
  7. Order: To order the wines on the menu, you can follow these parameters: first, the appellations of origin in alphabetical order , with the national ones first and the foreign ones after . Within them, you can order the wines as follows: sparkling wines (cavas, Champagne, prosecco), fortified wines , young white wines, white wines aged or fermented in barrels , young red wines, carbonic maceration and oaks , aged wines and dessert wines.

Simplifying the wine list: the role of the sommelier

Currently, there is a tendency to include secondary details in the wine list, such as the history of the winery, the type of pruning, guide scores, etc. This can be excessive in a letter and endless for the client, since many times this information is not relevant. Instead, the sommelier should keep these details in mind and provide them only if the customer asks for them.

The key to a quality wine list: diversity, balance and consideration of our customers' tastes

An exceptional wine list should be varied, well-balanced and take into account local tastes, if possible, while offering a wide range of prices, styles and grape varieties. This gives customers the opportunity to experiment with new options and sometimes ask for recommendations.

Offering good suggestions can build their loyalty and keep them coming back. It is essential to be aware of the diversity in choosing wines and remember that tastes are subjective. Entering a restaurant and seeing several tables with the same wine is an unpleasant experience that questions the individuality of the choice.

Maximizing the oenological experience: The importance of renewing the menu and purchasing wines in a restaurant

Managing wines in a restaurant is an important task that falls to the sommelier or manager. To ensure an exceptional wine experience for customers, it is essential that this professional maintain constant visibility of wine inventory and carefully plan their purchases.

Knowing the life cycle of wines and having acquisition skills are essential gifts to be a good sommelier. In addition, periodically updating the restaurant's wine list can help offer an updated and varied selection to customers.

Being a successful sommelier requires a deep understanding and exhaustive knowledge of the world of wine, including both the acquisition and presentation of wines in the restaurant.

The focus on house wine

House wine is a topic that has generated controversy in the gastronomic world for a long time. On the one hand, some defenders argue that its presence on menus is due to its accessibility and attractive price, thanks to large volume purchases. On the other hand, there are those who think that all wines should offer a balanced relationship between quality and price.

It is important to keep in mind that the house wine must be an option that most customers like and satisfy, both in terms of flavor and its relationship with the price. Additionally, many restaurants offer weekly, daily or monthly wine recommendations, but it is crucial that these selections are carefully chosen and reflect a display of trust in the customer.

The Value of the Price of Wine: A Decisive Factor in the Success of your Restaurant

Wine pricing is a crucial aspect that cannot be overlooked in a restaurant context. It is important to note that for a large number of customers, wine is an essential component of their experience when visiting a bar or restaurant. If prices are excessively high, we are at risk of not only decreasing wine sales, but also losing a loyal customer. Therefore, it is essential to establish a balance between the price of the wine and the profile and philosophy of the establishment, in order to guarantee a satisfactory experience for everyone.