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TimMc

Wine by the Glass

by TimMc » Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:52 pm

Rarely do I buy wine by the glass at a restaurant anymore....just plain too expensive.

Nowdays, I bring my own bottle and brave the corkage fee.

Recently, however, restaurants in Napa/Sonoma [as an example] will charge a huge corkage fee in an effort to get you to buy off their already high priced wine list.

The explanation given to me was the DUI laws [California, specifically] are such that the restaurant does not want to be held culpable for the amount of alcohol consumed by their patrons relative to a DUI bust.


I say that is BS....they want to get as much as they can for a glass of poured wine.


What do you think is the solution?
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:02 am

For me, the solution is to stick to restaurants with reasonable fees for wine by the glass. Around here, anyway, that's not too limiting.

If the pricing is through the roof in Napa, it's only because there are plenty of people willing to pay it. I don't know that there's a solution to that, other than staying away from Napa (which is pretty much what I do these days). OTOH, I get the feeling that Napa doesn't miss my patronage a whole lot....


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Re: Wine by the Glass

by TimMc » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:05 am

Fair enough, Mike.


But sometimes I just want a single glass with dinner. I have to wonder why it is so expensive.
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Bill Buitenhuys

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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:23 am

I agree with you, Tim (shocking, eh). I'd love to drink more wines by the glass but I really don't want to pay $10+ for a single glass of wine that costs $10-15 retail for a bottle. What is worse, is that many times the wine turnover isn't fast enough and a bottle has been open far too often. In that case, you may get served an oxidized wine or much of the bottle can be wasted, hence the need to drive up per glass prices.
Lots of restaurants here won't entertain corkage fee (and we are far from Napa) citing local ordinance. Some restaurants let you take in wine through the back door. Some let you open all the bottles you want with either reasonable or no corkage.
Of course a restaurant would rather sell you what is on their wine list, just like they would frown on you bringing in your own filet mignon just because you like the way the guy down the street cooks it. I have no problem with restaurants charging what ever corkage they want. That is their right. I just don't go to restaurants that I feel are excessive in pricing policies.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by TimMc » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:31 am

Good point, Bill.

I won't patronize restaurants that charge too much for corkage, either. OTOH, if that is where my friends or family members wish to go, I don't see how I can give them an argument.


What puzzles me is if I order a micro-brew instead, like a Fat Tire or Anchor Steam...I get more to drink and for less.



I don't get it.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Jenise » Tue Jul 04, 2006 8:29 am

If I only want one glass, then I order by the glass and pay what I have to (while resenting heavily paying 4X retail). But often what I'd love to do is order, say for my husband and I, two different glasses of white as aperitifs and two different glasses of red with our main courses such that we sampled four different wines during our meal. But we usually end up ordering a bottle out of fiscal self defense because the markups on wines by the glass are too high--or the wines by the glass on offer are just too pedestrian. [/list]
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Bob Ross » Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:29 am

Do you have any good wine bars in your area, Jenise? They are more and more popular in the NY/NJ area, and almost all of them are part of or connected in some way with good restaurants.

Typical markups here are much less than folks are reporting in this thread -- you might pay $10 a glass for a wine that retails at $30 a bottle.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Jenise » Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:40 am

Nope, no good wine bars. Well, there's the Chrysalis, which we ate dinner at on Thursday night and paid $70 for a bottle of aglianico that apparently retails for around $25. Their by-the-glass selections are plentiful (around 30) but they're $9-12 each and the wines don't retail for much more per bottle. Most of what's offered are Italian and Spanish wines in the belief, I think, that the public won't recognize the extent to which they're being overcharged. So it's an interesting approach to wine service, only the wines aren't that interesting.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Bob Ross » Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:52 am

Sounds like we're spoiled here. I suppose the pervasive BYOB restaurants keep the wine prices down in licensed restaurants -- people strongly resist paying corkage, even when the restaurants try to impose them.

But choices of interesting wines are still pretty narrow, unless the restaurant has a very narrow theme. My recent note on at http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/vil ... php?t=1964 on the bistro Sel et Poivre is pretty typical of the type of restaurant where the wine by the glass choices are interesting.

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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Robin Garr » Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:14 am

TimMc wrote:What do you think is the solution?


Conventional wisdom in the restaurant business is that a wine-by-the-glass program should be priced so as to cover the restaurateur's cost with the sale of the first glass, making the rest "gravy." This works out, on average in this area, to something like $7 a glass for a bottle that sells for $12 to $15 bottle at package retail, $25 to $30 on the restaurant's list.

It's a tough call ... if you charge more than the market will bear, you won't sell much wine, but demand frankly doesn't seem to be an issue.

There are lots of other variables - serving size, for instance. Most places serve a fairly generous pour, more like 1/4 of a bottle than the standard 5 ounce (1/5 of a bottle) because more people complain about a glass that's not full than complain about not having room for swirling and sniffing.

I would distinguish, though, between places that serve wine as an afterthought and an alternative alcohol-delivery system, and places with serious wine programs. In the former, most of us probably won't be buying by the glass (or maybe even buying wine) anyway because of the selection more than because of the price. At the latter, good management can usually eliminate most of the issues I have with glass service by offering good choices and either using competent preservation systems (Cruvinet) or taking care NOT to leave open bottles longer than they should. It's not that hard to do, if management cares. Don't keep low-turnover items on the list, and if you've got wine leftover at the end of the night, either push it out before closing time or put it on as-is sale the next day or let the waitstaff take it home. A lot of good restaurants in our town don't significantly overcharge for by-the-glass service, asking one-fourth of the bottle price for glass service and offering generous pours. And then there's the quartino, a really nice idea that Mario Batali started at Babbo and that's turning up more and more around the country - a generous pour (one-fourth bottle, hence the name) served in a carafe for a fair price, so you pour your own glasses the way you like them. Another approach, common at wine bars, is to offer a full-size (5-ounce) glass at one price, and a tasting glass (2 ounces, maybe) for a lower price, to encourage tasting flights.

By-the-glass service isn't necessarily evil, or at least it doesn't have to be. And a glass or quartino, at a place with a good list, can be great for wine geeks - you can order a different wine with every course, or two or more glasses for a side-by-side tasting.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Bob Ross » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:27 pm

Thanks for the analysis, Robin. I've often wondered about the economics of wine by the glass. And, it's really nice that what seems like fair pricing isn't restricted to NYC.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by John Treder » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:46 pm

Jenise wrote: But we usually end up ordering a bottle out of fiscal self defense because the markups on wines by the glass are too high--or the wines by the glass on offer are just too pedestrian. [/list]


I'll drink to that! Especially the often poor selection of wines by the glass.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by TimMc » Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:44 pm

Thanks, Robin.....excellent post :)

I especially like the idea of having a different glass of wine with each subsequent course during dinner. That is, after all, part of the fun of enjoying wine.

Let me ask you a question: Do you think it is inappropriate to call ahead and inquire about the price of wine by the glass or is it bad form?
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Robin Garr » Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:59 pm

TimMc wrote:Do you think it is inappropriate to call ahead and inquire about the price of wine by the glass or is it bad form?


Good question, Tim. I can't see any reason why it should be bad form, really. Restaurants put prices on the menu and wine list, and it seems to me that calling an unfamiliar eatery to ask about, say, the range of main-course prices would be a reasonable thing, if only to figure out whether it fits your budget.

Calling about the price of wine by the glass might seem a little more geeky ;-) but I can't see anything unreasonable or inappropriate about it.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by TimMc » Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:18 pm

I don't mind if calling makes me a wine geek...besides, it says so next my avatar.

I'll just tell them you said it was OK. :wink:
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Victorwine » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:42 am

Tim you are on your way to become a "Uber Geek". I think it has something to do with the number of posts you submit.

Restaurants in by neck of the woods on certain nights have wine dinners, and depending upon the size of your party the prices are very reasonable. Different glass of wine of your choice with every course.

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Re: Wine by the Glass

by TimMc » Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:12 am

Victorwine wrote:Restaurants in by neck of the woods on certain nights have wine dinners, and depending upon the size of your party the prices are very reasonable. Different glass of wine of your choice with every course.


Very cool, Victor.

I live near the Central Coast wine region of California and on occasion, the wineries will put on winemakers dinners.

Great food with a different vintage for each course....well priced, but a neat thing to do once in a great while. :)

Once, I even had an occasion to be a part of a rare tasting of a flight of Coastal Zinfandel in the wine caves at Eberle Vinyards [including some barrell tastings]. This was about 7-8 years ago, but I had a 1977 Zin that would just flat knock your socks off!

Victorwine wrote: Tim you are on your way to become a "Uber Geek". I think it has something to do with the number of posts you submit.


That may dramatically decrease soon.

I still like corked wine....not a popular notion in these parts, apparently. :roll:


But, oh well.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Neil Courtney » Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:19 am

TimMc wrote:I still like corked wine....not a popular notion in these parts, apparently. :roll:

But, oh well.


Did you mean to say that you like wine with a cork in the top Tim? :)
Not "I still like corked wine". No one can profess to like a TCA tainted wine.

Some people here need to get over it, and accept that you like corks, for whatever reason you like to use. May all your wine be taint free.
Cheers,
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Victorwine » Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:52 am

I found out pretty quick that Cork and Magnets can really get this crowd going.

The wide and diverse group of people who assemble here are very knowledgeable when it comes to wine. Robin and his crew do an excellent job! But being a home winemaker I do miss the winemaker’s folder.

Salute
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Robin Garr » Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:16 am

Victorwine wrote:But being a home winemaker I do miss the winemaker’s folder.


Victor, I wouldn't really object to creating a new one here. Probably should have thought of that before, but when we first built the new forum, I was trying to respond to what I perceived as a feeling that we had subdivided the Netscape forum into too many sub-categories and thus built this one with just one huge forum for all things wine (and another for FLDG).

But if enough folks think it's a good idea to sort the discussions on home (and even commercial) winemaking into a separate folder, I'm good with that, and would probably enjoy reading the discussions even if I don't make wine.

What do you think? Let's hear how everyone feels about this, and if there's a consensus - or even a noisy minority 8) we can certainly do it - it only takes a minute or two to create another forum.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Howie Hart » Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:19 am

Victorwine wrote: But being a home winemaker I do miss the winemaker’s folder.

CLINK! :wink:
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by David Creighton » Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:19 am

i don't see these aspects of the topic discusssed much above. laws vary considerably from state to state. not every state even allows BYOB - at any price. the related question is responsibility. states with BYOB place the responsibility with the drinker; whereas others place the responsibility with the licensee. for this later reason i don't not for a minute believe the response of the winery you quote - unless califronia law is ambiguous on the responsibility question - which if it allows byob it shouldn't be.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Howie Hart » Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:24 am

Robin Garr wrote:But if enough folks think it's a good idea to sort the discussions on home (and even commercial) winemaking into a separate folder, I'm good with that, and would probably enjoy reading the discussions even if I don't make wine.

What do you think? Let's hear how everyone feels about this, and if there's a consensus - or even a noisy minority 8) we can certainly do it - it only takes a minute or two to create another forum.

Personnaly, I would be happy with a single folder for both enology and viticulture where discussions could include topics such as home winemaking, commercial winemaking and growing grapes, as these topics are all related.
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Re: Wine by the Glass

by Jenise » Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:03 pm

Tim said:
I still like corked wine....not a popular notion in these parts, apparently


There are fans of both here. Corks are romantic. They add a sweet level of anticipation to the opening of an older bottle that I'd admittedly miss. But the other side of the coin is that I wouldn't mind never again spending $150 on a corked bottle I couldn't return. Ouch!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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