5 Common Wine Mistakes

The Saucy Sisters: Guide to Wine

High markups mean wine is a product that many nightclubs and bars seek to boost sales of. But it's easy to spoil a customer's wine experience.

Barbara Wichman Nowak and Beverly Wichman Pittman are known as The Saucy Sisters, and are the authors of three books including Guide to Wine: What Every Girl Should Know Before She Unscrews. According to them, these are the most common mistakes nightclubs and bars are making with wine:


1. Astronomical Prices
Consumers are savvy about wine costs so very high prices turn them off, especially since they can check retail prices on their smart phone before buying. If prices are reasonable, rather than exponential, guests are more likely to order a bottle instead of a glass, or two glasses instead of one.


2. Over Pouring
Wine lovers like to swirl and sniff so don’t fill glasses more than one-third full (a little more if they’re small glasses). White wine will also warm up too quickly if too much is poured. A nice touch is to serve wine from a mini decanter, small enough for just one glass of wine. This is a nice upscale touch and allows wine glasses to be filled on the low side. It also lets customers pour the remainder at will.


3. Wine Preservation
Do not serve wines that are not stored properly. Use a preservation system. If you can afford one, recork the wines, mark them with the date, and refrigerate them overnight—but never more than that. Wines stored overnight, however, are sometimes not up to standard for wine connoisseurs. Less experienced diners might not notice that a wine has lost some of its luster.


4. Poor Glassware
Wine is less enjoyable when sipped from inexpensive glassware. Thick glass means the consumer tastes more glass than wine, and small glasses don’t allow for swirling. Stemless glasses can provide a nice trendy touch, though must be good quality as they can make swirling difficult.


5. Temperature
Serve red wine at around 60º—just below room temperature. If you serve it too warm, consumers will simply taste more alcohol. The serving temperature for whites depends on the style—serve Champagnes or Sauvignon Blancs (lighter bodied whites) colder; fuller bodied varietals like Chardonnays can be poured warmer. However as a rule of thumb, serve white wines at 45º to 55º and typically allow them about 20 minutes to warm up from the refrigerator because if they are too cold, the flavors are muted. A nice touch is offering to leave wine on a guest’s table to warm up. Always ask if they’d like a wine bucket because sometimes these can keep the wine too cold.


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