Updated on November 30, 2022
Making a wine list is not always easy: what information? how to format it? how to classify your wines? All this without making mistakes that could jeopardize your credibility. So we have made a top 10 list of mistakes not to make on your wine list!
Unless you have a very specific theme for your restaurant or wine bar, you can't offer only red wines, only white wines or only wines from one region. In order to target a wide audience and to ensure that everyone finds something to their liking, it is essential to balance the selection of your wines by adding wines from various regions, with different grape varieties.
The trend of organic, biodynamic or natural wines is also to be taken into account: it is therefore necessary to propose some wines with this kind of production method.
But if you want to satisfy everyone, you risk losing the consumer by offering too much choice. So be careful not to put too many references either. To do this, try to classify your wines in different categories: for example, separate the reds into light and powerful reds or between straight and mineral whites and round and fruity ones. Put a few in each category, make sure to balance between regions and grape varieties as said before and you should have an adequate size selection.
Finally, just because we only talk about whites and reds doesn't mean we should neglect the others. It is of course interesting to offer rosés and bubbles (champagne and/or crémant, the choice is yours!).
When putting together a wine list, you have to think about how to present the wines on your list; but in what order and according to what criteria?
If the wines are not classified correctly, the consumer will be lost in the selection and will not be guided in his choice of wine according to his tastes and preferences. If he takes too long to find something that suits him, he may resign himself to taking wine or choosing something at random because he does not understand the selection.
So the best thing to do is to first find categories according to what you want to highlight in your wine selection. You can classify them by region or by type of wine (color, round, mineral, fruity, powerful, light, etc.). Then within each category, it is recommended to classify them by increasing price, so that the consumer can clearly see the increase in quality.
When a customer looks at the prices, he always tries to see if he is right to invest such amount for a bottle or for a glass. If the price per glass is the same between 2 wines, even though their respective bottles are €20 and €30, the customer who wants the €20 wine by the glass will not agree to pay as much as for the €30 wine. This seems logical, but we regularly find cards where the multiplier coefficients between the price by the glass and the price by the bottle are not consistent!
To learn more, we invite you to read our article on the 5 things to know to set the right prices on your wine list.
There is nothing worse than placing an appellation in the wrong region or indicating a certain vintage before bringing another one to the table. The customer will not always pay attention to it, but if he notices it, it looks bad!
So remember to check the region that corresponds to the appellations or geographical indications. Also check the vintages that are available in your stock and update your map if necessary. It is not legally obligatory to indicate the vintage of the wines but it is something very appreciated by the consumers. Moreover, if you indicate a vintage, the law obliges you to justify it if necessary thanks to the label or the invoice of the bottle.
So, you just need to be careful to avoid clumsiness!
It is not legally required to mention the name of the producer either, so it is not a serious mistake not to do so. But it is still a mistake not to make! Consumers prefer to know the domain they are about to discover, especially to remember what they have tasted. Moreover, anyone who has a minimum of oenological culture knows that there can be a huge difference between two Saint Emilions, for example, depending on the domain that produced it.
Moreover, today's consumers are increasingly looking to get closer to the producer, to know the precise origin behind a product and even its history. Putting the producer in front of the wine list will always be very well perceived by the consumer. This is what we do Les Grappes by selling wine directly from the producer: the goal is to bring the producer closer to the consumer and to share his story beyond just selling his wine!
Once you have finished your selection and you find it perfectly balanced, with diverse and satisfying wines, you don't always think about changing it or you don't necessarily want to! And it's understandable: when you are happy with your wine list, you want to keep it.
However, it is always interesting to make it evolve and to update it regularly. This allows you to follow trends of consumption, such as natural wines for example. It also allows you to keep your customers loyal so that they can regularly make new wine discoveries, and make them want to come back. It is also a good pretext to make communication operations on social networks by revealing the new nuggets that you have unearthed.
Finally, changing your wine list regularly is necessary to adapt to the seasonality of certain wines: adding a few rosés for the summer, or a new champagne for the end of the year for example.
It is therefore essential to update your wine list regularly, to keep abreast of trends and to regularly make new wine discoveries to keep your wine list attractive!
There are 3 compulsory indications to be mentioned on a wine list: the legal sales denomination, the quantity served and the price. The legal sales name is the name of the wine as it is sold and presented on the bottle or the invoice.
This information is compulsory, as indicated in the EEC Regulation n° 2392-89 of July 24, 1989, art. 40: "the description and presentation as well as any advertising must not be erroneous and of such a nature as to create confusion or mislead the persons to whom they are addressed, in particular with regard to : the nature, composition, alcoholic strength by volume, color, origin or provenance, quality, vine variety, or nominal volume of containers. "
Obviously, just because they are mandatory does not mean they are sufficient. It is always preferable to add other information such as the vintage, the domain, etc. But we will come back to this in the following article.
When you have a dynamic wine list and you list the vintages, you have to make sure that the wines in stock are the same as on the list. It is therefore necessary to regularly re-edit the list if necessary.
And if a wine or a vintage is no longer available but the card has not yet been re-issued, this must be clearly and legibly mentioned on the card.
To make a legible wine list, it is necessary to classify the wines as we have seen above. But you should also pay attention to the amount of information on the menu: the more you specify the origin of the wine and its characteristics, the better it is appreciated by the consumer. But be careful: if you put too much information, it may make the card unreadable.
The goal is to put all this information in a clear and coherent way. It is therefore the design and layout that will play a role. To arrange all the elements, put each information on the wine in the same order for each wine. Don't hesitate to play with the fonts and their sizes so that each characteristic can be distinguished and the information can be read and understood by the consumer.
It seems obvious to say that you should not make spelling mistakes on your wine list, but nevertheless, we always find cards where the name of the domain or theWe have already seen"Gewurtztraminer" instead of Gewurztraminer, or"Pommerol" instead of Pomerol! It is therefore necessary to check word by word that no typo has crept into the map at the risk of looking like an amateur.
You now have all the keys in hand to make an attractive wine list that meets consumers' expectations. The wine list is aA real marketing toolfor a restaurant and it deserves to be well done and properly exploited.
Les GrappesLes Grappes, the French leader in the distribution of wines directly from the winemaker to professionals, facilitates the purchase of wine directly from the winemakers. Les Grappes centralizes the orders of more than 1,200 winegrowers with a single point of contact, from ordering to billing. We accompany cafés, hotels, restaurants, wine cellars in their choice of wines, but also in the realization of customized wine lists! According to your project, your tastes and your budget, we help you to choose the best wines in short circuit. To be put in contact with our team, click here !
Les GrappesLes Grappes, the French leader in the distribution of wine directly from the winemaker to professionals, facilitates the purchase of wine directly from the winemakers.