Overall, having a load of awesome, quirky and esoteric wine on your list is fun. But in reality, it isn’t even half of the battle. 

Getting guests through our doors and maximising their experience is so important after the effects of 2020. A great wine list will go some way to getting bums on seats, but a team of legends who can sell them is way more effective and investing in the team is so important. 

As always, there are two halves to listing a wine:

  1. Get the right wine on the list, at the right price, in the right place for the customer, your customer
  2. Get the team behind the wine. 

You can’t do one without the other. Well, you can, but not with any real success. 

I can’t say it enough, the only way that your team can successfully execute your wine list, is if they have tried the wines and they have been given the chance to form their own opinions about those listings. 

They don’t need to be knowledgeable; they just need to be confident. Wine confidence only takes a smidgen of knowledge. Wine training is about flicking switches with your team. Work on some basic wine confidence training, and you will soon see which lights turn on. If the lights do switch on, then it’s time to nurture that. If they don’t, then at least they will be confident, and confidence sells. 

For more information about how to make your team Wine Confident, drop me a line…


Harry Crowther

Founder & Legend

Why listing less ‘traditional’ wine with a more familiar style will improve your wine list profitability.


How your wine list diversity will play a crucial role in getting more customers in the new normal.

Like a good wine, a profitable wine list needs to show balance. Engineering a wine list with bins that tick the box for 100% of your customers is not an easy thing to. My latest article with The Buyer outlines how your approach to your wine list construction and team training can tip the balance for the cautious consumer post covid. 


One such way is showing diversity in your wine category is a balance of styles. Balance and diversity come hand in hand. I recently spoke to a good friend of mine who runs a great wine list in Bristol. He told me that they have just listed a Macedonian range of wines at the ‘house +1’ price point on the list. Apparently, it’s doing really well. This is a good example of wine list diversity. A chance to keep things new and fresh for the customer whilst not asking them to spend much money. Discoverable and affordable. 


We visit our favourite bars and restaurants for the experience. Not only to try new things, but to have our perceptions of quality pushed further than they would be at home. With this in mind, having diversity of pricing on the wine list is all important too. 

I shudder when I see the ‘popular’ varietals being under-valued on a list. Malbec, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc listed far cheaper than they should be. These wines will always sell, so let’s get them on the list a be brave with your pricing. This isn’t wine list blackmail. This is being diverse with the quality of our faster moving wines within our category. Speak to your supplier, taste every single Pinot Grigio they have to offer, find the best one you can and don’t be afraid to charge a premium for it. 

But remember…

As always, this will all be for nowt if the team are not behind the listings. You’ll be surprised how many guests will go for the more exotic wines of the world, or are happy to pay a premium for the favourite wine with just a small nudge out of the door from your team. Get the team behind it, and the customer will follow. 


Harry Crowther, Founder & Legend

We continue profiling our audiences in hospitality in this post with Miranda. Make sure that your team is well trained to get the most out of this customer, the opportunity for the upsell is real…

Enthusiastic Miranda

Miranda drinks all sorts. She probably starts off with a G&T or a cocktail before moving into the wine category- legend.

Importantly, Miranda is quite open to trying new things and will engage in most drink categories. Lightbulb. Always offer Miranda and her friends a range of wine. Keep your category fresh, change up your by the glass offering regularly and ALWAYS offer a glass of fizz, or anything as an aperitif, they’ll go for it, trust me.

Miranda is the most likely to ask your team for an orange, or organic wine, or something with some green credentials. Again, make sure you have considered these for your wine list and if you have, it is essential that your team is clued up on them and well trained.

Much like Ryan and his mates, Miranda also over-indexes on spending and consumption. She represents 20% of the consumer base in the on-trade, and accounts for 30% of the spend.

The common theme here is simple. Train your team to keep on offering choice and make sure they are ‘wine confident’. A wine confident member of staff will be able to upsell better wine to Miranda, get your best wines on to the table and maximise the guest experience.

Good luck!

For a full list of who you are serving, head on over to my article at The Buyer


Harry Crowther,

Founder & Legend

Adapted from PROOF insights

The final demographic that we all need to be super tuned in with are the moderators of this world. There is great opportunity here to bring new people into the wine category and grow average spends through excellent customer service and a good upselling strategy.

Mel and Mike are the moderators of this world. Pretty health conscious and are less likely to get out there this week for reopening.

These guys don’t get out too often. Maybe once a fortnight for a Saturday lunch or dinner treat. They are not hugely passionate about what they drink, and they tend to stick to what they know and like, within their comfort zone.

It is important to note here that these guys are also quite price conscious and don’t have a lot of disposable income to spend in the trade.

This is where having a clued-up team who can recognise these guys will pay dividends. If they go for the house wine, that is totally fine. I would say that you should still be offering them choice, but it’s unlikely they’ll go for it. In any case, make sure that their choice has been nurtured and recognised. At the end of the day, your ‘house’ wine is your benchmark wine, so it’s never a bad option, it’s just that there are so many better options on the wine list for your guests to enjoy.

One thing you might want to try with the Mel’s and Mike’s of this world, is offering them a taste of something you might have open. Don’t ask them, just bring it over. Perhaps you’ve had a staff training and there is a spare half bottle lying around. It’s all about a sprinkling of guest magic. If you can make your house wine drinkers feel a million-dollars, then they will be back, and that in itself is an upsell.

For a full list of who you are serving, head on over to my article at The Buyer

Adapted from PROOF insights


Harry Crowther

Founder & Legend

Understanding the different types of people that walk through your doors in hospitality is crucial to having a thriving wine category. Here is one demographic that you need to be making the most out of with a great wine list and staff training.

Whether we like him or not, we all need a bit of Ryan in our lives.

This guy is good for business, he will spend money, regardless of how much he can actually afford and will often overspend.

Him and his friends are out and about as much as possible and love a selfie to paste across their social media channels.

This group massively over indexes on population size versus consumption. They represent 11% of the consumer whilst chinning a whopping 26% of the juice in the trade (Wine Intelligence).

They might not always be the most pleasant for your team to deal with- especially after a few bevvy’s, but hopefully the above gives you an idea of how important Ryan and the Revellers are to business.

Keeping on top of social media is important, advertise your deals and offerings to make sure you capture this segment. If you can, take a couple of drinks off the bill at the end and make a point of it to ensure repeat business.

Always challenge the group on their choice of drink, look for the upsell where you can, more often than not it will bring value to their experience, your teams confidence levels and your bottom line.

For a full list of who you are serving, head on over to my article at The Buyer


Harry Crowther,

Founder & Legend

After covering two potential approaches to beating volume and consumption decline in the UK, and realising neither are sustainable, here is the answer to having a thriving, not surviving wine list…

By now I hope it is clear. The only way to maintain a thriving wine category in the modern day is to sell better wine.

Cutting costs doesn’t work; we’d need to see house wine pricing drop to below the cost of duty.

Increasing your market share and growing by volume doesn’t work either. What’s the point in cannibalising your beer and spirit GP’s just to have stability, a pointless exercise.

The answer is quite simple and has been for some time, grow your category by value, not volume. Get those average spends up- the customer is willing to pay for it, believe me!

There are two ways businesses can go about this. Both are just as important as each other so I recommend operators consider both…

1. Wine List Engineering

Sounds glam, but it’s far from it. A good wine list will have an insane amount of thought, rational and strategy behind it.

Care needs to be taken with specific varietals. Is it the right wine, in the right position, at the right price? Should that wine be on your list in Newcastle as well as in Bristol? Do Bristolians even like that wine? – you get my drift I hope.

Having a well thought out wine list is the first step to a thriving wine category. If you get this right, you will start to see average spend growth overnight.

2. The Art of Upselling

I feel like a broken record, but repetition is a good thing. The best way to grow your wine business is to train your staff to sell better wine, more often. Get your best wines on to the table in front of the people who really matter, your customers. The reality here is, staff just aren’t confident when it comes to upselling wine.

“I’ll just have a glass of house rose please…” is taken at face value way too often. If we can put the power in the hands of our frontline staff, then we are on to a winner. Almost 50% of your customers will trade up off the back of a confident recommendation.

It’s time to get your wine list looking shit hot and your teams Wine Confident.

Harry out.

Founder & Legend