Work your menu.
With so many wines available now—from all over the world—it’s helpful to offer some descriptors of the varieties you offer. Is the wine fruity, sweet or dry? What fruits come forward on the palate? You might also suggest wine pairings with menu items.
It’s helpful if your servers can recommend a wine for each menu option. Hold tastings with distributors or ask the wine maker to recommend complementary flavor profiles.
Wine flights—a sampling of three wines in smaller servings—are popular for patrons who can’t choose just one. You can center the flights around different themes: dessert wines, Rieslings or bold reds, for example.
Spread the word.
Adding a new wine to the menu or trying to call attention to your wine selection? Promote it on social media, table tents and in-store signage. Or host “Wine Down Wednesdays” to drum up midweek business with special deals on select wines.
Create themed dinners.
Wine-and-food pairing nights can attract customers to your business on slower nights; offer a four- or five-course menu with wines selected for each course at a fixed price.
Curious Pairs: Create a Winning Combination
Wines can complement even the most decidedly down-home menu items.
Here are some outside-the-box wine-and-food pairing suggestions, courtesy of Richard Breitkreutz, a New York-based sommelier and corporate beverage director for BR Guest Hospitality and Strip House:
Customer ordered: Pizza
Recommended wines: Light Italian red wines, such as Barbera
Customer ordered: French fries, potato chips or tater tots
Recommended wines: Champagne, Alsace whites like Pinot Blanc, or dry Riesling
Customer ordered: Desserts featuring dark chocolate
Recommended wine: Banyuls, a Port-style fortified wine from south France
Customer ordered: Spicy foods
Recommended wines: Spanish reds
Customer ordered: Charcuterie (cured meats)
Recommended wines: Rustic, spicy wines (Nero d’Avola from Sicily or Shiraz from South Africa)
Customer ordered: Glazed donuts
Recommended wines: Moscato d’Asti or another light off-dry sparkling or frizzante white