Better by the glass

Wine Tasting at Interview sessionThere is a growing trend towards drinking less but better, with On Trade value sales rising while volumes are steadily declining. Combined with a general increase in consumers being health conscious and the concern about drinking and driving, offering an improved range of wines by the glass is key to capturing the interest and spend of today’s consumers. 

Watch our video interview on by the glass offers at The Red Lion and Sun, Romulo Café and Tanner & Co.

Christina Schneider, bar manager at Som Saa in Spitalfields, London, explains that they always try to offer something for everyone by the glass. “We don’t just have the house wine, but also a few more interesting wines. We try to keep it affordable, so everyone can choose according to their taste and food, instead of by budget."

“We like to recommend off-dry wines with our Thai food, and not everyone is always willing to give it a try. It’s easier to convince people to be slightly more adventurous if they don’t have to commit to a bottle.”

For Fabiano Latham of Chotto Matte in London, it is all about variety. “As we operate a Nikkei sharing concept we wanted to be able to offer as many types and varietals as possible, to suit the diners’ tastes as well as pair with the multitude of exciting, colourful and bold dishes available."

Less but better

Fabiano tells us, “We also decided to go with 125 ml measures rather than 175 ml to be able to keep the flavour momentum going throughout the meal, and be able to maintain temperatures. An organic Torrontes will sit side by side with the truffle and yuzu sashimi, but you’ll be wanting something else by the time the braised octopus arrives.”

He continues, “The benefits of an interesting ‘by the glass’ offer is that it provides a certain freedom to be able to try different wines to suit one’s mood, food choice and the temperature outside. It also creates repeat footfall, as diners might spot something on another page that they simply must try next time.”

For Christina, drinking less but better is always a good idea. “This becomes especially important when you look at lunch service,” she says.

Improving your bottom line

Fabiano believes that if you can maintain a large ‘by the glass’ offer and have a team dedicated to learning the list, tasting, researching and keeping an active interest, there’s no better way to engage your guest. But not only is an improved ‘by the glass’ selection better for the overall dining experience, it can also improve your bottom-line.

“It’s about stock rotation,” Fabiano says. “The margin for ‘by the glass’ should always be a fraction larger than the bottle serve, but not too much. ‘By the glass’ sells more than bottle serves, so at the end of the day, your profit margin is higher even if your gross wine takings seem lower.” See our new On Trade Market Insights Pricing Database tool for more on 'by the glass' pricing.

Coravin, anyone?

While both Fabiano and Christina agree that technological devices can be helpful, Christina believes that “the best way to keep the wines fresh is probably to choose them wisely and have passionate, knowledgeable staff who care about selling it”.

What do our other customers say?

Smaller serves are growing in popularity and with readily-available technology, it has never been easier – or more important – to offer an exciting and delicious ‘by the glass’ range. So how can you make the most of it? We asked three of our customers – Heath Ball at The Red Lion and Sun, Sid Singh at Romulo Café and Fiona Thomas at Tanner & Co.


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1st December 2016

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