Top 50 Gastropubs 2016

UK’s top gastropubs fight it out for Best Wine List award

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wine doesn't have to be intimidating and it can boost your profit, say experts
Wine doesn't have to be intimidating and it can boost your profit, say experts

Related tags: Wine list, Wine, Estrella damm

Judging for the best wine list offered by the UK’s top 50 Gastropubs has begun, after high demand for the accolade’s return.

The winner of the coveted award, which has been sponsored by Berkamnn Wine Cellars for the third year in a row, will be presented at the exclusive Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list and awards lunch by Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, chef Tom Kerridge in January.

Ahead of the awards, Berkmann sales director and judge Jacquie Kay, along the with Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s ​drinks and content editor Jessica Mason, have given their top tips for creating a winning wine list.

“Wine shouldn’t be intimidating and often simplicity is the best way to go with a wine list, but simple does not have to mean boring,” Kay said.

“Whilst it is always important to have certain classic regions and grapes on a wine list, there should also be something on there for people to discover and to offer a point of difference to the norm.

“That is why it is key to work with an experienced wine partner, who can advise you on everything from the selection of wines by the glass, to offering recommended food pairings and also the design and layout of the list.”

‘Insanely good wines’

A wine list should showcase a range of “insanely good wines” across styles that are tempting to clientele, yet it didn’t necessarily need to be an exhaustive book, said Mason.

“It does need to offer an incredible array of choices that complement both the menu as well as reflect the quality, ethos or tone of the overall offer for the venue.”

Word from the wine wise:

“Yes, there’s lots you can learn about styles, regions, processes and grape varieties. Many people who appear to be ‘in the know’ can make others feel like their choices are not up to par, but preference is subjective.”

  • Source: ​PMA drinks and content editor Jessica Mason

Pubs looking to curate a well-balanced and enticing wine list should understand how certain varieties suit different dishes. They should also ensure each wine is explained in a straightforward manner, while still remaining enticing and interesting.

Importantly, it was vital punters weren’t put off by intimidating language and made to feel scared of the wine offer.

“When most things appear to be scary, they often are not. Wine is the same,” Mason added. “Ultimately, it’s a drink. Drinks are not scary, they are wonderful and to be enjoyed.

“Yes, there’s lots you can learn about styles, regions, processes and grape varieties. Many people who appear to be ‘in the know’ can make others feel like their choices are not up to par, but preference is subjective.”

Beneficial to the bottom line

Ultimately, getting the list right can be beneficial to a pub’s bottom line, as making wine more accessible to customers and encouraging them to trade up from other drinks could improve margins, added Kay.

She said: “A good wine list can also set you apart from your competitors and make you a destination venue. A carefully put together list, with the right training, can be key to upselling and encouraging your customers to trade up, which will put more cash in the till.”

Last year’s Wine List of the Year winner, the Pipe & Glass Inn, South Dalton, East Yorkshire, grabbed the judges’ attention with an entry that was in keeping with the food offer.

The Pipe & Glass Inn, which also placed third on the 2015 Top 50 Gastropubs list, offered a variety of wines within key price points ranging from £17 to £100. Yet, the majority of the pub’s 100-plus wines are kept under £30.

To help customers match their wine with food, the list is grouped under categories, such as fish/shellfish and poultry and game.

For more information about the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs 2016 awards, visit www.top50gastropubs.co.uk

  • Top 50 Gastropubs is sponsored by Estrella Damm and partner sponsors Appletiser and Schweppes and Berkmann Wine Cellars

Related topics: News, Training, Other operators, Wine

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