How to Make the Most of Your Restaurant Wine List

In our next couple posts, we’ll be talking about tips and tricks for the restaurant wine list. What constitutes a good restaurant wine list? Many would say the server’s knowledge of the list and suggestions of pairings makes the difference.

While this is important, in the grand scheme of things, not as much as you’d think. The main thing is presentation.

Presentation of the Wine

The amount of time that lapses from ordering the bottle and delivery sets the mood for the rest of the dining experience. Bring the wine to the table, first and foremost. Leaving a customer waiting is the fastest way to lose interest and profit. Once you’ve trained your servers to do this, the rest will be easy.

Don’t worry about how well the server knows the red wine list, the body of a wine, or even the color if you don’t have this basic down first. The truth is you probably won’t sell much wine without good presentation.

Steps to Presenting the Wine

Before coming back to the table, the server needs to make sure that the appropriate glassware is on the table. The show really begins when the server opens the bottle.

  1. Place the wine on the table with the label facing the host.
  2. Debate exists over the presentation of the cork, but either way, you should offer the cork to the host or place it near the host.
  3. Then pour two ounces of wine in the host’s glass. Once the host accepts, begin pouring for the guests clockwise.
  4. Fill red wine a third of the way and white wine halfway.
  5. Make sure there is enough for the whole table. A full bottle serves 4-6 people.
  6. Twist the bottle as you finish a pour to avoid dripping.
  7. Always keep the label facing the host as you pour.
  8. Never pour the bottom of a bottle.
  9. Red wine goes to the right of the host and white in an ice bucket.

Those are the basics to having a successful restaurant wine list no matter how big or small your establishment is. Tune in to our next blog post to find out more.



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