Let’s revisit the wine list again. I’ve done a bit of wine buying and selling in my day and even I feel the pressure of choosing a wine for a group of friends at a restaurant. If it is a short list it doesn’t take much time to find a wine, the question is often which is the wine that will fit everyones financial constraints and work with the most palates and foods. A smaller list may allow for a quicker decision but on most small lists I only find a small group of wines I am willing to entrust to my guests. The setting that I find most grueling is a dark, loud dining room with a list on some esoteric paper with too many fonts and font sizes.
Look it’s pretty simple, for a restaurant the wine program is a revenue center. Don’t make it difficult for the buyers. If you do they’ll skimp or skip. Maybe even the wine experience will sink the whole dining experience and send a group of dollars going to some other place.
The whole concept of selecting wine for a table is wrought with little pitfalls and if a restaurant allows those pitfalls can become large ones that can turn-off customers. As a former Sommelier and current consultant to restaurant wine programs, I have experienced many of these pitfalls. The goal for any wine program should be happy customers through the whole spectrum…newby to wine geek. This is a very difficult task but important.