A club’s wine list is an important first impression for a guest’s dining experience which is why building a great wine list should be a priority.
Depending on the variety offered, information given, and organization of wines, a great wine list can give diners a glimpse into what to expect for the remainder of their meal.
It takes time to build a great wine list, but it also takes passion, knowledge, and patience. There is also more to a great wine list than just exceptional wines, so there are many other factors to consider when curating the perfect wine list for a club.
When building a wine list, selected wines need to support the vision of the club and should have a unifying theme that will hold the list all together. Once finding wines that are in-line with a club’s vision they need to then be narrowed down even further to complement the food. If a wine does not pair well with any of the dishes then it does not serve a purpose or enhance the dining experience for members. There should be a relationship between the wine list and dining menu and members need to be able to find a wine that pairs with every dish they order, including appetizers and dessert.
A club’s wine list should be as diverse as their members and have a good balance between wines from the Old World and the New World. However, a diverse list does not have to mean long and complex. An abundance of wines is not necessary to accommodate every member’s wide range of tastes. When building a wine list there needs to be a focus from start to finish that will not intimidate or confuse members and push them to avoid ordering wine altogether. A variety of price points should also be kept in mind when selecting for a wine list.
Having a by-the-glass program when building a wine list should be a priority. Not only are there many tools now to help make a by-the-glass program successful, but it opens up more options for members. Ordering a bottle of wine is a commitment, but ordering by the glass allows members to branch out and try something different. Ordering by the glass can even be more profitable since diners are more likely to try several different wines during a meal.
A club does not have to have a sommelier to build a successful wine program, but having knowledge of the wines and food and even building a strong relationship with a club’s wine supplier will only help when creating a strong wine list.