Same wine, different price – depending of the day of the week

“A large and extensive wine list is a luxury and requires care and effort in its management.” So says Sebastiano de Corato, sales and marketing manager of Cantina Rivera, who also suggests that managing a wine by the glass service is demanding for most restaurateurs.

It is preferable, inasmuch, to have fewer labels, as suggested by Manuel Pietrolini, Sales Manager at Boldrini Import Export, to avoid the risk of “boring or confusing the average client and to keep the wine list more up-to-date with the right vintages, something that all too often is not the cases”.

The crisis in wine consumption in restaurants is evident yet finding appropriate solutions for the times require a broad analysis of the situation. This consideration emerges from the series of interviews that Vinitaly is conducting with trade operators, this year focusing on wine in restaurants/catering.

Beppe Maffioli, chef of the Carlo Magno Restaurant in Collebeato, province of Brescia, points out that the first year after the introduction of drink-drive laws, consumption fell by 70% and that “the trend has become consolidated over the years alongside a change in life style involving fewer courses and a preference for lighter wines”.

De Corato suggests that consumption could be encouraged not only by including quality wines in small formats but also by applying a lower mark-up on less busy days and allowing clients to bring their own bottles against corkage.

Introducing international wines is also valid, provided they are interesting and ensure a good quality-price ratio rather than to exploit the lack of a reference price to apply higher margins.

The problem, says wine and food journalist Carlo Cambi, is that “restaurateurs do not have any strategy for revitalising consumption. If they did, there would be more sommeliers in service”.

The role of sommeliers, in short, is acknowledged as important in understanding the needs of clients and intercept changes in taste. Sommeliers can and must give advice but their “suggestions must be fair and impartial,” says Pietrolini, “in order to offer something new to clients, otherwise the opposite effect is achieved, that is that consumers no longer trust these figures”.

“Restaurateurs capable of recommending a wine over and above what they have read in the guides or the offering of the moment made to them by agents are a minority.” says Cambi. “People who can really make suggestions,” he adds, “must themselves have made precise choices. New initiatives are needed, such as wine presentations by producers, because a relationship between clients and producers based on trust is the basis for a new approach to wine marketing”.

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