What’s the proper mix for offering local wines on your operation’s list? You should generally aim for 20% local, 80% popular wine brands, according to Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine.
Speaking in a session/tasting on emerging wines at the 2013 Cheers Beverage Conference in Dallas Feb. 12, Frost noted that offering local wine, beer and spirits can be a competitive advantage for operators. Local offerings “let the guest know where they are” and helps them remember the experience at your establishment.
Frost presented some unsung wines from regions in Spain, Portugal and Greece, as well as a Texas-made tempranillo. He defined a local wine as one in which “someone who is indigenous to the area could say, I know where that is made.”
For multiconcept, multiunit chain operators, it can be a challenge to go local, Frost said. You need to give local management the authority to chose that 20% of the regional wine but sometimes they will just choose different wines from the same national distributor—especially when offered deals or discounts.
Frost recalled working with one restaurant chain where he managed to get the wine list up to 60% local, 40% popular. But pretty soon, he said, “that 60% of local wine started looking like the old list” because the various locations were going after deals from the major distributors once they had the authority to chose 60% of the wine.