Bars and Clubs Journalist Brydie Allen investigates how the glassware used in different venues could be costing you money.
What comes to mind when you think about your own best experience with wine? Maybe you’re swirling an incredible vintage in a winery. Perhaps you’re raising your bubbly in celebration at a restaurant.
Wherever this memory takes you, odds are the wine is coming in a good quality glass. My favourite wine memory certainly wouldn’t have happened in the scratched plastic vessels I had as a student.
Often it’s likely that customers won’t actively recognise the glassware, nor identify whether it is particularly good or bad. But after every glass or bottle, every interaction with a venue, that customer will go away with an overall impression, built from all the little aspects of their experience.
For Bar Liberty, finalist in the Best Wine List category at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards for 2019, the glass is one of those little aspects that impacts a customer’s experience.
“I think it’s just another extension of the décor, music, food and wine offering,” said Bar Manager, Josh Begbie.
“Some places are just better at attention to detail and nice functional glassware fits in that category.”
Let’s face it; the average consumer isn’t going to choose a venue based solely on their glassware selection. But it will impact their experience while they are there, potentially influencing whether they order more, whether they come back, or whether they tell their friends. Poor glassware could be holding you back.
Australian glassware producer Plumm recognised this as an issue when they began in Melbourne 10 years ago.
“We’re not all wine nerds. The everyday person doesn’t necessarily know all the ins and outs of winemaking. They just want to really enjoy their wine and want to go on a simple journey,” said Dora Constantinou, General Manager at Plumm.
“We’re about wine glasses and enhancing the everyday wine drinking experience. We want you to come on the journey and appreciate the wine, but also appreciate the glass when it delivers that experience.”
Stemming from a company that makes wine, Plumm began with a range influenced and inspired by winemakers. They have just released a sommelier inspired series called Plumm Three; a pared back line of just three glasses that’s available to buy now.
Matt Herod, Executive Sommelier at Altitude Restaurant in Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel, was one of the sommeliers that contributed to the design process of the range, which they now use in house. Herod said that it’s more important than ever to focus on the finer details, because that’s what consumers are doing all the more often.
“There’s a lot of trends in the market that’s forcing us to pay more attention to what we consume, and not only the food and wine coming out,” Herod explained at an unveiling of the new range.
“We’re asking more questions. For example, we want to know who made the wine, how it’s been made, where it’s been made… we want to know more details before we actually enjoy it, and we are more aware of our choices.”
With the ever present trend of premiumisation, consumers are looking for higher quality products that produce exceptional experiences. It makes sense to serve these premium products in premium vessels.
At Bar Liberty, they know that customers do recognise the difference, even if they can’t point to the specific design cue that makes glassware higher quality.
“You can instantly tell when picking up a nice piece of stemware, that someone has put some love and care in deciding which glass their venue uses,” Begbie said.
“I’ve had some amazing experiences drinking wine out of latte cups in countryside Italian trattorias…not sure people would be happy drinking Premier Cru Burgundy out of those though.”
International glassware producer Riedel agrees with Begbie that consumers aren’t looking for one thing in particular when it comes to glassware, they’re just looking for everything to come together seamlessly.
“The reality is, while the consumers don’t necessarily think about it, the more attention to detail when it comes to this equation, the better the wine will be,” said Riedel Managing Director in Australia, Mark Baulderstone.
“A glass of wine is something that should deliver an enjoyable fun experience that only the wine in the right glass will deliver at its maximum.”