Lulie Halstead, Chief Executive of a leading international research company, Wine Intelligence, reports that Irish wine drinkers are disappointed when drinking wine in bars and restaurants. Furthermore, it was revealed that Irish people drink wine in pubs and bars less often than their counterparts abroad, and are generally less willing to experiment with new wines.
The research was conducted in March 2012, using self-reported data from 550 regular Irish wine drinkers. This information was revealed to restaurateurs at a trade event organised by Searsons Wine Merchants, in Dublin in October.
Halstead recommended a number of steps which would make wine drinking more enjoyable, including:
- Simple, shorter wine lists, which are easier to navigate. Wine lists in formal restaurants are “scary” for the majority of wine drinkers. Group the wines by wine style, such as “crisp white,” and “full-bodied red.”
- Offer less wines, but more choice of serve sizes – by the glass, carafes. Offer premium wines, by the glass, not just by the bottle.
- Legible wine lists – the average age of an Irish wine drinker is 49 years old, so the typeface needs to be large and clear!
- Better trained serving staff – simple advice, no technical jargon, and enthusiasm are key. Wine drinkers need reassurance, and Irish wine consumers rely on recommendation more than in other countries.
- Let customers know that wine is on offer – having to ask for a wine list is awkward for the wine drinker and the server. Sufficient signage, such as wine lists on tables, wine bottle displays, or a large ice-bowl of tempting chilled prosecco are simple cues for the consumer.
Talking to Lulie beforehand, I was reminded again that while the wine list is the most efficient selling tool in a restaurant, the most effective is the server. Basic wine knowledge, married with frequent wine tasting and a no-fuss upbeat confidence in talking about wine to customers are incredibly effective.
Premier Wine Training’s next WSET wine courses are scheduled to start on 21st & 22nd January 2013, in Dublin city centre. On-line WSET wine courses are also available.