There are many ways to organize a wine list. Convention opts for place of origin but many restaurants and wine bars elect for creative approaches that help cater to their needs. Within some of these innovative arrangements there is an opportunity to subtly sway the guests in an upsell without them realizing what is happening. The menu can help the business work more efficiently by combining the mastery of price point, layout, and words in guiding the consumers decisions.
Begin by deciding on how the list will flow. A traditional approach is to design the layout based on the country and region. There is nothing wrong with an orthodox structure and it may make the most sense for your needs. Decide on how many bottles and by the glass options there will be. The classic layout is often the least overwhelming for larger bottle lists with a single page in the front for glass pours. A smaller menu may be best if the goal is to move wines faster as opposed to offer high end selections. New layouts are being organized by styles and themes which may help you create personality and offer a playful or educational strategy. If simply categorizing by sparkling, white, rosé and red makes the most sense, then go with your gut!
A varied price point is critical and should be integrated throughout the list. Upsell the wines by offering a broad middle ground in pricing. Guests don’t always want the cheapest option, but they aren’t going to go all in on a Wednesday evening. If your goal is to offer affordable wines start with some bottles around $35-40. In order for the sway to be effective, there needs to also be some bottles in the $80 range. This moves the buyer into considering the middle ground of $50-$65. They rationalize that they are not ordering the most expensive bottle but also not the cheapest and price becomes relative. Having low cost bottle options can be persuasive with this concept by upselling a person from a glass to a bottle.
Consider using descriptors on your menu. This can work on both large and small scales but tends to be less laborious with a smaller menu. If the menu is large, don’t rule it out, it can empower guests by allowing them to make decisions on their own. Describing the wine’s characteristics is important but using specific words can sway the buyer to invest. Use adjectives such as amazing or spectacular as opposed to great or good. Bring the reader into the experience by explaining what they will discover with a specific bottle. Mention if something has limited production because it is special or rare. Make the language concise but use it as a tool to move people away from buying a glass and into committing to a bottle. Romance them, wine with a story is an upsell.