Culture, Restaurant Management

2-Minute Tuesdays: Pricing Wines to Maximize Profits

By Trevor Bernatchez

Trevor Bernatchez

May 9, 2019

With the millions of wine options out there, it can feel like there are a lot of approaches to take when building and pricing your wine list.

In our most recent edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays, Sr. Manager of Customer Education Trevor Bernatchez, outlines some steps you can take to create a more profitable wine menu.

Read on to learn more, or watch the whole video (~2 mins) above.

With the millions of wine options out there, it can feel like there are a lot of approaches to take when building and pricing your wine list.

Here are the three things you should consider when trying to create a more profitable wine menu.

#1: Get to know your customers

Since you know your business better than anyone, you should know how much money your customers are comfortable spending on wine. This’ll help you decide which wines to feature by the glass.

Most restaurants can comfortably price wine at around $9 to $15 per glass, but it’s important to note the outside factors that could affect this range, such as your location and local competition.

It’s important to know the limits of your wine too. Once you open a bottle, the clock starts ticking. It’s not gonna last as long as its partners sitting on the shelf, so the need to move that bottle quickly should influence your pricing decisions.

#2: Price your wine bottles

Before you start pricing by the glass, you should price out your full bottles. A safe rule of thumb is to price wine bottles at four to five times the wholesale price. This’ll give you a pour cost of 20-25% before any variance or waste.

This rule does get a bit fuzzy once you start hitting the $75-$100 range per bottle on your menu, which can be a spending barrier for most people. If you want to cycle through bottles quickly you may want to choose a menu price on the lower end of the spectrum.

#3: Start pricing your wines by the glass

When it’s time to price your wines by the glass, the menu price of one glass of wine should be about the same as the wholesale cost of one bottle. If you follow this rule, you’ll make your money back on each bottle as soon as you pour one glass, and a whole case after selling roughly 12 glasses.

That being said, there are a couple exceptions to this approach:

  • If the bottle you’re pouring costs you less than your cheapest wine by the glass, say your bottle costs you $6, but your menu’s cheapest wine by the glass is $9, you should probably price that wine at the $9 level. This’ll keep your menu pricing consistent, and you’ll increase your profits per glass.
  • On the other hand, if the bottle you’re pouring costs more than your most expensive wine by the glass, you could put the glass at your highest price limit and sacrifice some profit, or you could also remove that glass from your menu entirely and focus on replacing it with something that’ll still please your guests while keeping you profitable.

Finishing notes

If you’re struggling to find wines that fit into your pricing model, work with your sales reps and do your own research. There are countless wineries across the globe, and choosing the right ones can be overwhelming. But…with the right knowledge, and straightforward pricing limits in place, choosing the right wines for your menu is a little bit simpler.


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