There’s a new style of wine service on the block. In recent years, many wine bars and restaurants have taken to bringing a selection of bottles straight to guests’ tables to present their offerings rather than printing a menu listing each bottle on paper. It’s a much more casual style of wine service, welcoming all at the table to participate in the selection process and offering the ability to have a conversation about bottles you may not have chosen for yourself. But with the absence of a printed list, by the time the bill arrives, do you really know how much those bottles cost?
The wine world can be an overwhelming place for even the most experienced drinkers and this style of service certainly has advantages when it comes to breaking down knowledge barriers. To build a wine list that isn’t just the classic choices from well-known regions, a bar program has to choose varietals from producers and regions that may not be as well known. But putting these wines on a list without much other information on how they taste can be intimidating and can often push guests to choose what they’re most comfortable with instead of trying something new.
By conversing directly with patrons and putting forth wines in an accessible and casual manner, the overwhelming process of choosing a wine can be lessened. However, it can be just as intimidating to not know the financial obligation you’re committing to when your order is placed.
On today’s episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam and Zach discuss an emerging trend in wine service where, in lieu of a printed menu, a selection of wines is brought to the table and offered to guests. Is this kind of service enough to entice uncertain or skittish wine drinkers, or is it doing too much? Tune in for more.