Another restaurant wine pricing rant!


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Another restaurant wine pricing rant!

josephnl | Sep 2, 2014 10:45 AM

Am I wrong to be upset when I go to a nice, but certainly not special occasion or Michelin starred restaurant, and can find no wine on the list for less than $50? We had dinner last evening at Fig & Olive, a nice French/Mediterranean restaurant in Newport Beach, CA. The least expensive bottles of wine on their list was $50, and there were only a few (2 or 3) token bottles on the list at this price. The average wine price was much higher. Now, I certainly don't mind spending $50 or considerably more for a bottle of wine when I'm celebrating something special or eating at a truly fine restaurant, but when I go out for a simple weeknight dinner, I want to spend less. I absolutely know that there are many decent to very good wines that I can buy at retail for $15-20, so surely these should be available wholesale to restaurants for $10-15. Even with a 3X markup, such wines should be easily sold for a nice profit at $40, or even less. Many restaurants in our area have decent wines available for this price, but not Fig & Olive. We noted that there were very few tables in this busy restaurant that had bottles of wine on the table. Does it not make financial sense for restaurants to have wines available at a range of prices, down to $35-40 or so? I can't believe that the increased sales of more moderately priced wines wouldn't likely increase the profitability of the wine program at restaurants such as Fig & Olive. Am I wrong?

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