Confessions of a wine list: your secret sales weapon

Designed in collaboration with Bibendum, the re-vamped drinks list for No.5 Bridge Street in Winchester was launched just before Christmas and has had a great response.

The brief was to make it easy to read, accessible and to appeal to a broad range of customers. So that’s what we did!

We spoke to No. 5 Bridge Street marketing manager Daniel Turner about why it works and to get some of his top tips and pet peeves when it comes to wine list design.

1. How would you sum up No.5's wine list in three words?

Accessible, inventive, thoughtful.

2. What's the aim of your new wine list design?

The idea behind the design is to make customers feel relaxed. We don’t want them to take one look at it and just panic-order something they recognise the name of. It’s designed to be read at leisure and enjoyed, so customers can discover something new.

3. What makes a great wine list?

For me, it should add to your complete experience. We live in an experience economy now, so everything from the moment you walk through the door should contribute to that – ambience, products, customer service and, of course, the wine list. The design, copy, everything should reflect the brand’s personality.

4. What kind of customer is your wine list aimed at?

It’s aimed at quite a broad range of people. That’s why the list is divided into categories. There’s an ‘at a glance’ section called ‘Busy Bees’, a section on organic and biodynamic wines, there’s some Old World, some New World, tried-and-tested varieties and some more unusual things – something for everyone!

5. How did you decide to categorise your wine list?

We wanted to have some fun with the categories and ‘characters’ in the list, to make customers feel relaxed. The idea was also to break it up, so rather than having a long list of wines, you can browse by what kind of mood you’re in first, then take it from there.

6. What do you think is the optimum number of wines in a wine list?

For me it isn’t about the length of a list, but how it’s presented. I like to see a broad range and I like to be ‘led’ to a decision,because something just looks so inviting. It’s more difficult to make a decision when you’re confronted by a long, uninterrupted list.

7. You've got a great by the glass and carafe selection – why is this?

It’s a great way for customers to try new things without committing to a whole bottle, and means that people who can only have one glass can drink something interesting rather than having to stick to one house wine.

8. How did you decide which wines to offer by the glass?

There is a range of wines that we offer by the glass. It’s important for our brand to have some organic and biodynamic wines there, while you also need to have some of the instantly-recognisable grapes that people know. But we wanted some more unusual things, to get people experimenting without having to commit to a full bottle.

9. What is your favourite wine on the list?

My favourite is a dry Furmint from Hungary’s Royal Tokaji Company called The Oddity. It’s just really complex and interesting. I always recommend it to people who love Sauvignon Blanc, but want to try something a bit different.

10. What's your pet hate when it comes to wine lists?

A long inaccessible list that makes you feel intimidated. Wine should be fun!

Want to turn your wine list into a secret sales weapon? Contact us and we can help.

From her uni wine 'tasting' society to studying for her WSET, Sophia has long had a fondness for all things vinous. So after a few years developing her marketing skills in the financial services industry, she decided to mix business with pleasure by moving into the wine trade. Now she writes, instagrams and podcasts about Bibendum’s portfolio of wines and the fascinating people who make them.

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