Every wine grows up like a sibling with its cuisine,
so it is natural that we are drawn to pair them. By-the-glass in country-cuisine-based restaurants can be used to circumnavigate challenging grape names, obscure labelling practices and open up new tasting opportunities to customers.
Subverting the expectation of pairing food with their sibling drinks can also be a powerful sales tool.
Take the mind-spinning variety of Japanese cuisine. Ranging from the delicate to the comforting, the country’s cuisine has been influenced by, and now influences, so many of the world’s major cuisines. Even the idea of ‘sushi and sashimi’ is not one idea. In Tokyo, they are now pairing Japanese Pinot with bloody tuna and amber wine with sea urchin.
BTG is the place on a menu to play with esoteric regions and grapes.
We know from research that restaurants are a space where customers not only feel inclined to discover new wines, but actively value the new discovery, and find that it makes that occasion more memorable. This mentality of discovery makes BTG the perfect place for qvevri wines from up-and-coming Georgia; new-generation Soave and limited-release tranquillo Prosecco.
Emotionally, these sorts of wines will appeal to those who love adventure in their wine, and who enjoy being the early discoverers of a style. It’s this sense of exploration which is behind the success of enomatic-based wine bars.
It’s important to remember that BTG offerings don’t have to be static.
In fact, constantly ringing the changes can offer real rewards, even if you’ve only a single bottle to offer.
The premium on-trade wine market continues to thrive, despite challenges, as consumers drink less, but better. This is the innovation centre of the UK drinks, and hospitality, industry, and wine suppliers need brave, engaging, innovative products with a story and cultural resonance. This is especially true if wine is to keep pace with artisan spirits and craft beer and other drinks.
Just remember: in the UK, the most adventurous consumers are among the affluent consumers, and the on-trade is uniquely placed to make the most of this.