The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Ten tips for creating the perfect wine list for your on-premise

Andrea Martinisi

New Zealand Sommelier of the Year 2022, Andrea Martinisi, shares 10 tips for compiling the best wine list for your on-premise.

A well-crafted wine list can make or break a bar’s reputation. A good wine list should complement the venue’s cuisine, style, it should also appeal to a diverse range of customers, and showcase the expertise of the staff. Here are tips I use to create the perfect on-premise wine list…

  1. Know your audience
    Before creating a wine list, it’s important to understand the demographics and preferences of your customers. Consider the age range, income bracket, and cultural background of your customers to curate a wine list that will appeal to them.
  2. Offer a range of prices
    Include wines at different price points to cater to customers with different budgets. While high-end wines can add prestige to your wine list, it’s important to offer affordable options as well.
  3. Focus on quality
    Choose wines that are high in quality, and avoid adding low-quality wines to your list. Quality wines will not only satisfy your customers, but also reflect well on the reputation of your restaurant.
  4. Include local wines
    Feature wines that are locally produced or have a strong connection to the region where your restaurant is located. Local wines can create a sense of place and add to the authenticity of your wine list.
  5. Keep the list updated
    Regularly update your wine list to remove out-of-stock wines, include new vintages, and seasonal offerings. This will keep your wine list fresh and interesting for regular customers and attract new customers as well. Also, having an updated and well-maintained list, will show professionalism and care. It’s very disappointing to order your favourite wine and find out that is not available!
  6. Feature unique wines
    Include rare or hard-to-find wines that will attract wine connoisseurs and adventurous drinkers. This can set your wine list apart from others and create a buzz among wine enthusiasts.
  7. Offer a variety of styles
    Offer a diverse selection of wines including sparkling, white, red, rosé, and dessert wines. This will appeal to a wider range of customers and provide options for different occasions.
  8. Highlight different regions
    Showcase wines from different regions, including Old World and New World wines. This will provide customers with a sense of exploration and introduce them to new and interesting wines.
  9. Make it fun and easy
    A good wine list should always be very accessible and easy to read, it should be tidy, and clear. If you have a large list, a table of content is a good idea, to help the guests navigate the list. It should be divided by categories, and sectioned according to the size of the selection and style of the establishment.
  10. Train Your staff
    Perhaps the most important of all. Regardless which type of venue you work or own, you want your customers to have the best experience possible. Sometimes wine labels and can be daunting. And choosing the right wine it’s not always easy. A well-trained staff will be able to guide your customer to choose the best bottle that matches their tastes and preferences. This will enhance the customer experience and increase the chances of repeat business.

    Hailing from Perugia, Italy, Andrea Martinisi was named New Zealand Sommelier of the Year in 2021 and 2022 and placed second in the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale Best Sommelier of Asia and Oceania 2022. He is currently Group Beverage Director for The Grove and Baduzzi in Auckland.

How to catch up with The Shout NZ

Online, updated daily with its own unique content and breaking news.
Our weekly newsletter – free to your inbox! Subscribe here.
We are also on Facebook and Instagram!