By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

As pub patrons start to drink more wine, we ask some operators who take the category seriously about changing attitudes and strategies surrounding the beverage.

Reece Griffiths, bar manager of East Village Sydney; Peter Baker, general manager of Colonial Leisure Group’s The Botanical in Melbourne; Mark Brown, duty manager of Kingston Hotel in Canberra; and Lucinda Brown, owner/operator of Royal George Hotel in Kyneton, Victoria, discuss the strategies they employ at their venues.

Are patrons becoming more adventurous with wine?

Griffiths: The amount of skin-contact wine and left of field varietals we sell here to me personally is mind-blowing. When I look out on the floor of our wine-pub and see bottles of Gruner-Veltliner and Vinho Verde on tables, it brings a huge smile to my face; we love seeing that our patrons are open to the experience.

Baker: One hundred percent – but it also comes down to the person selling the wine! People are finally shifting away from Sauvignon Blanc and moving towards Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay. A lot of the big red drinkers have moved to Pinot Noir and Grenache.

Lucinda Brown: If the staff can sell it. One of things we do, if someone isn’t sure about a wine, we'll give them a taste before they buy it. There's nothing worse than buying a glass of wine that you're not going to enjoy. We've had Gewürztraminers and Fianos on the pour. Once people try it they generally will take it, but they have to taste it first. The Gewürztraminer does cost a bit more than some of our other wines that we've got on the pour, but they're prepared to pay that because it's a new experience.

How are bottle sales going?

Griffiths: We are still pouring heavily by the glass but our bottle sales, while they lack a bit in volume, are right up there in revenue. That’s a benefit of a large cellar list. We have over 150 by the bottle options to choose from.

Mark Brown: We do have high sales of wine by the glass but we have more and more customers coming in groups that prefer to buy a few bottles of wine to share across a table, particularly through the festive seasons.

Baker: We actually sell a very high volume of bottles across the venue. We do sell more glasses than bottles in the main bar but across the rest of the venue bottles are king.

To read more of what’s happening with wine in these venues, check out the March issue of Australian Hotelier. You can view the feature and issue online here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *