Profitable Promotion: Wines By the Glass

It’s no easy task getting your guests out of their wine comfort zones, which is exactly why wine-by-the-glass promotions are so critical to your business: They get patrons trying different, more expensive varietals they normally wouldn’t purchase. David Pennachetti, president of Wine Guru Services LLC, says a trained staff, a knowledge of wines and smart pricing are the keys to a successful wine promotion. And learn more about successful promotions by checking out our Promo Playbook here.

• Do your homework and know what wines are selling well. The most successful promotions are ones that offer premium and super-premium wines that guests would otherwise not order. “With any promotion, you’re always trying to sell more glasses overall or higher priced glasses than your current average price,” he says.

• Think seasonal. Run promotions on lighter wines in the summer/spring and heartier wines in the fall/winter.

• Stick with your bar/restaurant’s theme. If you serve Italian fare, promote wines from Italy; if you’re a seafood spot, promote Cabernet Sauvignon. Offer steak? Promote red blends.
• Pair wine specials with specific dishes; wine sells food and food sells wine. Train service staff to explain the rationale behind the promoted pairings.

• Plan ahead about a month to get all the marketing tools in place and run the promotion for four to six weeks. Another suggestion to get more bang for your buck: Run red and white wine promotions at the same time.

• Your staff is your most important marketing tool. Train them to understand the wine they’re selling. Have them carry the promoted wine to the table, giving guests a visual of what’s being offered.

• Don’t promote wines that are hard to pronounce, unless you can really focus on proper pronunciation in your training. The server won’t be confident selling it, and your guest will hesitate to order it.


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