The World of Wine 2009 Food and Beverage Today
Your Ultimate Insider's Look at the Business Side of Food and Wine

 


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In This Issue

World of Wine in Restaurants
Rules of Engagement
Find out how the world of wine is changing in these economic times
I

t’s still dark before dawn in the world of wine. Consumers are strapped, our operating costs are obliterating margins, and last year’s projections seem as hopeful as a bride without a first date. This goes for restaurateurs as much as wine producers.

So what are restaurants thinking about right now? Of course, we’re battening down the hatches, railing in expenses, focusing on advertising and more aggressive restaurant promotions, and tightening up menus and wine lists. We all know the effect of the last remedy on the production industry: we ain’t buying as much… significantly.

But still, there are things you can do ride out the storm in the world of wine, beginning with:

What’s so Special?

world of wine, wine program

When guests are fewer, restaurants are focused on making every guest’s experience count for more. So now more than ever, restaurants are buying fewer wines “just” to have them on the list, and more wines that are unique, special, new and/or different. Anything to makes each guest’s wine experience that much more unusual, hence memorable. For wineries, this means retooling sales presentations, fact sheets and Web site texts to reflect as much product differentiation as possible.

If your Sauvignon Blanc is partially barrel fermented in acacia rather than white oak, make sure we know that. If your Syrah is farmed organically or is from a Biodynamic® certified vineyard, make sure we know that. If your Chardonnay is crisper, lighter, sleeker, and hence more food-versatile than ever before, make sure we know that. If your Pinot Noir was served to Barack Obama, we need to know that. If you’re trading cow manure for wine with your neighboring ranch to make better compost, and investing in a flow form to make your tea… heck, that’s more interesting than finding out you’re buying from Home Depot like us.

The salad days of Sideways are over, and more people are popping Resveratol rather than wine bottles to get their antioxidants. These are not the times when you can sell your wine based upon your previous reputation (no matter how hard fought) or, dare I say, quality alone. Today’s restaurateurs need “hooks” to catch their clientele, and you need to give them as much of that as possible. Restaurant promotions are essential.

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