Wine Wisdom - Tips on Driving Wine Sales

Related tags Chardonnay Cabernet sauvignon

We ask pubs for their tips on driving wine sales The Unicorn Inn Kincardine-on-Forth Fife 0870 4016250 Talking to Liz Budde Handily situated half way...

We ask pubs for their tips on driving wine sales

The Unicorn Inn



0870 4016250

Talking to Liz Budde

Handily situated half way between Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Unicorn is perfectly positioned to attract customers from both cities and the heavily-populated central belt of Scotland. Local business, too, has built up over the last few years, but many come out for Sunday lunch at the weekends when the more formal restaurant opens upstairs. The bar grill is open all week. Between them, the two can manage 60 covers.

It began as a seafood restaurant, but although all things piscine still feature heavily on the menu, it now serves classics like steak and Guinness pie and five-star Buccleuch steaks, along with the lobsters, langoustines, scallops et al.

Wines on the list:

22 in the grill (eight by the glass); 20 "finer" wines in the restaurant - all available in half-bottles.

House wines:

South African Chenin Blanc, Italian Pinot Grigio and French Sauvignon Blanc; French Merlot, Aussie Shiraz and Argentinian Malbec. Priced around £11.95.

Popular wines:

The house wines. Also, because of the seafood influence, the Sauvignon Blancs Omaka Springs from Marlborough and Viña Haras from Chile.

Most expensive wine on list:

a Savigny-les-Beaune for £34.50.

Any trends seen:

"We definitely sell more wine than we did. People have it as an aperitif a lot before a dinner. People also tend to have the wines they like, even if that means a red wine with fish. They're more knowledgeable now. Eighty per cent know what they want."

Key to selling wine:

"People aren't just paying for what's in the bottle. They want to see it opened and tasted correctly."


"We haven't done one yet, but we'd like to do one in 2005. The key lies in marketing it correctly."

Walpole Arms



0870 4016123

Talking to Keith Reeves

Described by joint-owner Keith Reeves as "most people's cartoon of what pubs should look like", the Walpole Arms is all oak beams and exposed Norfolk brick. It's rural remoteness isn't seen as a problem either, since as well as a hardcore of local farm-worker regulars, it also pulls in a lot of AB 45+ visitors in search of good food.

"In Norfolk, people are used to driving 20 miles to their local," says Reeves.

The food can be taken in either the bar or the more formal surroundings of the restaurant, though the menu is the same in each. The Walpole Arms has a Michelin Bib Gourmand as well as being voted East Anglian Pub of the Year by Les Routiers in 2003 for its cuisine, which shows a definite nod to Iberia and North Africa.

No of wines on list: 80.

No by the glass:

12, changing, depending on the season.

Typical mark-up:

about 60%.

Best sellers:

Pays d'Oc reds, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Changing trends:

"The swing away from Chardonnay to Pinot Grigio. We served a lot of leafy salads in the summer, which probably helped."

Top regions:

"The rediscovery of Spain and Italy. Galicia for whites, plus Ribera del Duero and Southern Italy."

Events run:

"Wine tastings, and food and wine dinners, often with visiting winemakers."

Key to successful wine selling:

"To have lots of it. Put on 12 bottles and it's immediately obvious to the consumer that you care. Wine is all about trust."

Key supplier:

Weaver's Way Wines.

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