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