way a restaurant wine program makes any sense is when it's in harmony
with the overall mission of the establishment. Nothing could be sillier
than striving for a "Grand Award" within the context of a casual Tex-Mex
restaurant, and nothing more pointless than a two-page list in a DiRoNA
setting. The program must make sense within the scope of the restaurant's
overall theme, and must fit within the practical considerations of
storage and display space. These are decisions which must be made
at the outset, since its a much more daunting task to reorganize
a fully-stocked cellar later on.
should always be presented as an enhancement to the enjoyment of an
food and ambiance, and not try to take center stage, since the essential
appeal of any restaurant rests in the quality of its kitchen. All
things being equal, however, a restaurant's cellar and the quality
of its service may indeed tip the scale, so the pursuit of excellence
in the area of wine is always in the best interest of the house. Wine
may be used to make a statement about the house's commitment to quality,
and to this end the visual appeal of the list, and of the various
storage areas within the establishment, serves to set the tone for
a seriously enjoyable food and wine experience.
wine is meant for enjoyment, not as a beverage of intimidating stature.
wine program should be fun, accessible, easy to read, and full of
interesting choices. Diversity is the hallmark of a successful operation,
from by-the-glass selections and half-bottles to fine sherries, ports,
and other sweet wines, through tasting flights-- whatever it takes
to engage the interest of your patrons, and compel them to try new
things. After a few low-risk, yet successful experiments, even the
most reticent consumers may be more willing to put themselves in your
professional hands when a truly special bottle is required. Show them
you put their interests and tastes first.