By Adam and Larry Mogelonsky
If you know either of us, then you know that we are big fans of wine. Besides the actual taste and endless variety of production around the world, we write about wine because it’s a great way to ramp up restaurant revenues on a high-margin basis. But this only occurs when the wine is effectively marketed and sold.
For reference (and to show we actually know what we’re talking about), we published a book about how to sell more wine last year, and we’ve written about how finetuning your wine strategy can be used to generate quick wins for the hotel. Today, we look ahead, first to Q4 2023 then to 2024. Specifically, we want to highlight some wine trends so that you can become a trendsetter in this area, boosting revenues as well as helping increase your hotel’s cachet and building word of mouth.
Specifically, what data is only now starting to quantity is what we call the ‘halo effect’, whereby guests don’t differentiate their emotional sentiments between the guestroom and the restaurant (and from any other touchpoints while on-premises). To them, it’s all the ‘hotel experience’. As such, a great meal can lead to more brand advocacy for the guestrooms. But the reserve is also true; in this specific instance, a poor wine list can reflect negatively on how the hotel’s overall service levels are perceived.
This is why we care. Indeed, the very best hotels have an ever-keen eye for details to ensure that the guest is continually wowed. Hence, being on the vanguard of the latest wine trends and delighting guests with some incredible selections is yet one more way to wow your patrons.
Alas, the trends are:
• Orange wines or skin-contact whites: macerating the skins of white grapes into the liquid, producing flavors wholly different from white wines and shimmering golden colors
• Wild fermentation: achieved either by leaving the tops of the fermentation chambers open or by using ‘native yeasts’, while some producers don’t bother filtering at the end which leaves a cloudy beverage
• Pétillant naturel or pét-nat: similar in process to the wild ferments but gaining a level of prestige for their slightly sparkling bite
• The ‘natural’ wines movement: denoting those that are made according to a ‘traditional’ method, loosely incorporating organic, biodynamic, sustainable or pesticide-free growing along with other methods like handpicked grapes or indigenous yeasts
• Chilled light reds: a refreshing summertime sip wherein the taste of some younger drinkers like gamay noir or lambrusco (or some ‘glou-glou’) actually benefit from the colder temperatures
• Half bottles: as more people drink less, these are goldilocks option between going by the glass and getting a full bottle, although production is still ramping up
• Straw wines: beyond just Amarone (which is a perennial fave), just think about all the other creations that use straw mats to partially dry grapes before putting them to the presses, including but not limited to Austrian Strohwein, Croatian Prosek, French vin de paille and Greek or Cypriot Liastos
• Mountain varietals: more wishful thinking that a trend that’s going global, consider all the (low yield) varietals that survived the phylloxera purge due to their sheltered geographies and are destined for a cult following such as Altesse, Jongieux Blanc and Mondeuse Noire