If your wine list needs a new lease of life or you’re struggling to excite punters with your offering, listen to the advice of restaurant consultant Peter McCombie MW.
Speaking to Harpers at the Restaurant Show, McCombie counselled restaurateurs on how to make the most of their wine list and help it stand out.
Be objective, he advised, and avoid jargon at all costs. “Short, sharp lists are great,” McCombie believes, “and if you have to have a long wine list you need a really good sommelier selection at the beginning or a really good by the glass selection.”
When choosing what wines to list, personal preferences should be secondary to what will make money, he added, and make sure you can talk knowledgeably about the style of wine and where it comes from. “Most customers are happy to be led and guided,” McCombie said.
On a list, McCombie likes to see familiar, well-known wines, interspersed with more unusual, off-the-wall offerings. “I want to see tried and true; and a bit of funky, different and unknown. Unknown wines can give you very good value,” but don’t forget, he said, “people don’t want to be challenged by a wine list”.
For more top tips about revamping your wine list to maximise sales, watch the full interview.