Nos Conseils aux Professionnels - Comment faire une carte des vins de restaurant - Les Grappes

How to make a restaurant wine list

This week, we are targeting professionals who are looking to establish and enhance their wine list. But this article is also made for the curious who would like to discover the rules of this art. Les Grappes tells you the conditions for making a wine list as well as a few tips to make your task easier.

The essentials of a wine list

First of all, it is compulsory to indicate on your card the following information: price, sales denominations, quantities served. Indeed, the law intervenes here through the EEC Regulation n° 2392-89 of July 24th, 1989, art. 40 :
" the designation 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, colour, origin or provenance, quality, vine variety, or nominal volume of the containers.»

In short, the law implies that you must obligatorily indicate:

- the exact denomination under which the wine is sold, with a good separation between table wines (without geographical indication), vins de pays and AOP;

-the capacity of the bottles, preferably in centilitres; designate each type of bottle by its capacity;

-net prices, including services.

These are the obligatory passages when making your wine card.

Here is some more general but essential advice from the very beginning of the making of your card: the vintage indicated on the card must be that of the wine available . Finally, the bottles must be opened in the presence of the consumer, in front of his eyes, except of course for sale by the glass.

Balance of the wine list

After material considerations, it's time for the wines! The art of the wine list lies in its balance and complementarity. Indeed, whether it has 40 or 500 references, your wine list must above all be coherent and allow the consumer to find himself. This implies that you must pay attention to the play of complementarities within your wine list.

Indeed, your wine list must announce a certain complementarity in the regions by proposing expected wines but also less known wines that you should make your customers discover. If 20% of the references cover 80% of sales, it is your duty to promote less well-known wines and to play on diversity to arouse the consumer's curiosity.

Then, you must vary the grape varieties, always aiming for harmony within your menu: the challenge lies in the representativeness of all the grape varieties through your wine list.

Thus, for each type of wine - red, white, rosé, champagne - propose wines from different grape varieties. Even if you only propose 3 red wines, these 3 wines must not be of the same style, from the same grape variety.

Always aiming for the harmony of your menu, choose a variety of wine styles. As we said before, they must complement each other: so propose both light and fruity, powerful and full-bodied wines.

Finally, you must match the price of the wine with the price of the dishes and menus so that your menu is consistent. You can also create selections with low-price offers, by the glass, which will accompany the dishes; next to that, propose éAlso a higher-priced selection with wines of remarkable quality, but which must remain in harmony with the rest of your menu.

A lively menu

Once your wine list has been drawn up, it should not remain static, quite the contrary: a good wine list evolves, it is alive.
In order to perfect your menu, do not hesitate to make it evolve. For example, you can adapt it according to the seasons and the dishes, by proposing a specific menu in spring and summer, which would rather propose light and rosé wines. It can also follow the course of your discoveries: propose wines of the moment, wines of discovery or chef's favourites. Introduce these wines to the public so that they open up to lesser known or original vintages. You can then add an appendix to the menu, present these wines on a slate or orally.
Of course, your menu must also adapt to the flow of the cellar: if a wine is no longer available, you will have to indicate this on the map.

Marie Lecrosnier-Wittkowsky

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