A wine list should elevate the club dining experience from start to finish.
A club’s wine list is an important first impression for members. It can create a feeling of positive anticipation for a member’s dining experience. Recognizing a good wine list from a bad one is more than just an organized list full of good wines. Whether a club has a sommelier or not, there are many factors to consider when creating a good wine list that will help to enhance the experience for a diner.
One of the most important qualities of a good wine list is that the wines pair well with the food. If the wines do not complement the chef’s food then they most likely are not in line with a club’s vision. There should also be a variety of wines that allow diners to drink their way through the meal, even with dessert.
While providing suggested pairings is not a requirement, they can certainly be helpful and make choosing wines a hassle-free experience for members and guests. Pairing notes will also show members that a club is knowledgeable, which can be a good sign of quality for both the wine and the food.
A good wine list will have a balance of the Old World and the New World wines as well as diverse regions offered. However, keeping a wine list diverse does not mean having hundreds of wines. It is still possible to cater to everyone’s different tastes without having a long and complex list of wines that can be intimidating to the uninitiated. A club should be changing its wine list at least two times a year. When menus are changed seasonally wine selections should be changed as well. These changes should be used as an opportunity to analyze what is most popular among members and what should go.
A wine list needs to have a good selection of wines by the glass. Not all diners want to order a bottle of wine for the table. If options by the glass seem lacking then they will just order a different beverage. Lastly, while still maintaining a reasonable mark-up and keeping prices consistent between bottles and glasses, there needs to be a variety of price points to suit a range of budgets.
While staying within a club’s overall vision, showcasing the knowledge of wines and having a variety of wines and a range of prices offered is what makes the difference between a good and bad wine list.