If your bar or restaurant offers a wine list, chances are it features wine by the glass. It’s a fantastic option for guests who want to try something different, pair wines with each course, or aren’t interested in ordering a full bottle.
With all these options, it can feel like there are a multitude of approaches to take when building and pricing your wine by the glass. Here are the three things you should consider to create a smarter and more profitable menu for wines by the glass.
Step 1: Get to know your clientele
You know your business better than anyone, so you should know how much money your customers are comfortable spending on wine. This will help you decide which wines in your program to feature by the glass.
In our experience, most bars can comfortably price wine at $9 to $15 per glass. It’s important to note the outside factors that affect this range, such as your location and the local competition. It’s also important to know the limits of your wine. Once you open a bottle, the clock starts ticking. It won’t last as long as its corked partners sitting on the shelf. The need to move that bottle should influence your pricing decisions.
Step 2: Price your wine bottles
Before you price by the glass, you need to price your bottles. A safe rule of thumb is to price wine bottles at four to five times the wholesale price. This will give you a pour cost of 20-25% and a 75-80% profit margin withstanding variance or waste.
This rule gets fuzzy once you hit $30 to $50 per bottle, which can be a barrier for some patrons. If you want to cycle through bottles quickly or experience high demand for a certain bottle, you may want to choose a price on the lower end of the spectrum. As you experiment with your pricing, it’s vital that you understand your customer base, what they’re willing to pay, and what they’re interested in.
Step 3: Start pricing your wines by the glass
Each glass of wine should have a 20-25% pour cost, about the same as the wholesale cost of one bottle. If you follow this rule, you should make your money back on a whole case of wine after selling three bottles, or 12 glasses of wine if you assume each bottle pours four 6-ounce glasses.
However, there are a couple of exceptions to this approach:
- If the bottle you’re pouring costs you less than your cheapest wine by the glass (for example, your bottle costs you $6, but your menu’s cheapest wine by the glass is $9), you should price glasses on the lower end. This keeps your menu pricing consistent and you will increase your profit per glass on that bottle.
- On the flip side, if the bottle you’re pouring costs more than your most expensive wine by the glass, you can price the glass at your highest price limit and sacrifice some profit margin on that bottle. Alternatively, you can also remove that bottle from your wine-by-the-glass menu entirely.
If you’re struggling to find bottles that fit into your pricing model, work with your distributor sales reps and do your own research. There are countless wineries across the globe, and choosing the right ones can be overwhelming. But with straightforward pricing limits in place, choosing the right wines for your bar or restaurant is just a little bit simpler.