Wine Trend Tidbits

Selling more wine

Maia Gosselin is both the founder of SIP Wine Education and the editor of a beer, wine and spirits magazine.  She has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, specializing in wine education, travel, tourism, corporate events and weddings.  She spoke with attendees at the 2014 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show on how to train your staff in all things wine.

When it comes down to wine if you have a good wine list but your staff isn’t comfortable talking about it or selling it, it’s not going to move. Therefore, rather than inundating your staff with wine information – expertise in which can take several years to achieve – Gosselin suggests teaching them 4 or 5 facts about wine at first. 

Talking wine can be intimidating so giving your staff a few facts can increase their confidence and comfort level, help them sell wine to customers and spark an interest to seek out more information. 

It’s important for your employees to understand the difference between Old World and New World wine and, as sparkling wines continue to increase in popularity, to learn their sparkling terminology.  While Champagne is always chic, it’s wise to offer other types of bubbly to your clientele: Cava, Prosecco, Cremant and Bracheto.  Start slowly with your staff and encourage their growth – it will pay off big in the end.

Here are some helpful tidbits from Gosselin’s presentation that will get you started.

Rethink the Pink: Roses Rule – You should not ignore Roses on your wine list. Roses are some of the most versatile food-friendly and easy-drinking wines out there. Don’t be fooled, Roses have absolutely no relationship to white zinfandel. As you know, white zinfandels are sweet and roses are typically dry. More and more roses have been coming to market and they are experience double digit growth, particularly from the south of France.

Riesling Rising – Even though most people are familiar with sweet Riesling that majority of it is dry. Riesling sales grew 73% from 2003 to 2006 and have experienced continuous sales since that point. If there is only one Riesling on a menu and the server doesn’t know if its sweet or dry the customer wont order it.

Spain: The Year of Rioja – Spain is considered the sleeping giant of the wine world with phenomenal quality of wine coming from the region. Little marketing money is being use on these wines therefore there is tremendous value that you can pass along to your customers. The Rioja region had record growth last year and has had award winning wines come out of this region.

ABC – “Anything buy Chardonnay” termed used by customers. Chardonnay had become a victim of its own success, particularly those in California. Chardonnays have excelled in creating heavily oaked rich buttery flavors that some customers prefer to stay away from. However, there are unoaked chardonnay’s that offer a completely different experience.

Blends Continue to Roll – Red blends have been on fire for the last couple of years as winemakers take a page from Rioja. Tinkering with a variety of grapes has allowed winemakers to really express their creativity with blends and the results have been excellent.  

Low ABVs – For many years alcohol content in wine was on an upward trends. But there’s been a reversal of trend of late as lower alcohol wines are striking drinkers’ fancies. Look for reduced ABV levels in Moscatos, Vinho Verdes and sparklers like Prosecco and Cava.

Cool Closures – For a number of reasons there have been concerns with corks for several years and the Stelvin closure (aka “twist off”) is the industry’s most viable solution. Not only do the twist offs solve the taint problem, they allow for the wines, both white and red, to live for longer in the bottle.

What’s Good on Tap? – Over the past few years there has been a shift in packaging trends as winemakers seek to be more efficient and reduce their overall global footprint. Boxed wines have made tremendous inroads and wine on tap is a definite trend to watch. These methods not only allow for wines to stay fresher much longer, they have terrific price points.

Have your staff familiarize themselves with the wine by tasting it ahead of time in order to know if they can really sell it to your customers. 


Want more expert information on how to properly run your bar, restaurant or nightclub? Stay on top of industry trends and new product releases at the biggest on-premise operator event of the year, the Nightclub & Bar Show, celebrating 30th years March 30-April 1, 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Visit today!


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