Wine Experts Give Tips on How to Create the Perfect First Wine List

Guests aren't only making their dining decisions based on a restaurant's food. There's the atmosphere, service, and beer, wine, and spirits menu– that also play a significant role in creating the memorable culinary experience.

The wine selection at a restaurant is especially important. Not only do many diners feel that a perfect wine complements their dinner but the wine markup also works in an operator favor.

But creating the perfect wine list is easier said than done.

With that in mind, "SevenFiftyDaily" interviewed a few wine directors to get tips on how to launch a wine program for the first time.

Here are a few highlights from the eight tips mentioned-

Create a reasonable budget, stick to it and make the by-the-glass wines your highest margin sales

This seems like a no-brainer but it's easy to get carried away.

“It can be exciting and empowering to be able to order wine on the restaurant’s dime, but don’t let it go to your head," said Joe Campanale, the founder and wine director of Fausto in Brooklyn, New York. “Your highest-margin wines should be your by-the-glass wines, since you’re selling them the most on any given night.”

Organize your cellar

Once you have ordered the wines on your list, it's time to make sure your staff knows where everything is.

“Spend the time to create a clear-cut cellar map so that absolutely anyone can pull from the cellar if you’re not there,” said Campanale.

Mandy Oser, the owner and wine director of Ardesia Wine Bar in Manhattan recommends using color-coded in the cellar.

“It’s very quick,” said Oser. “And it’s incredible how a little bit of color will help your eye get to the bottles you need.”

Run on a lean inventory at first

Your first wine list won't likely be the final. Buying smaller quantities of the wine will make it easier to adjust and change your list up. The goal is to have a wine list that leads to sales and you may have to feel out your customer-base for a bit to determine what wines move quickly and what don't.

“Keeping an eye on cash flow is especially important during this time,” said Campanale. "So I would recommend buying smaller quantities so that resources don’t get tied up in inventory if you end up pivoting in your buying practices.”

Read more tips at "SevenFiftyDaily" now.

Want some inspiration on what to put on your wine list? Watch this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar to get advice on how to build and pair your wine selection with your food menu.