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Restaurant Wine Prices Uncork Complaints

Nearly two-thirds of fine-dining patrons think they're getting stiffed on drinks, a new survey shows. It's not that the drinks are too strong. They're feeling stiffed because they think the price of wine in restaurants is too high.

The moral of the story, according to "Sommelier Journal," which conducted the survey, is that owners of fine-dining restaurants should pay as much attention to their wine list and policies as their patrons do if they want to keep them happy and turn tables.

While sommeliers, service and restaurant wine in general received good grades, restaurant wine pricing, by-the-glass programs, and wine advice from staff were criticized by consumers who dine out regularly.

Availability of older vintages (combined 54 percent bad/poor), price (46 percent), by-the-glass offerings (45 percent), and wine advice from staff (44 percent) received the lowest grades in the survey. When it comes to price, 64 percent of those surveyed agreed (17 percent strongly) that wine is way too expensive in restaurants.

In addition, restaurants ignore by-the-glass programs at their own peril: 64 percent of respondents noted that they would rather buy from a glass or small-bottle list because a full bottle would be too much to drink.

The quality of wine lists, level of service , performance of sommeliers, restaurant wine in general, wine service temperature and glassware, on the other hand, all received good/excellent response ratings from more than 80 percent of fine-dining patrons.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.


Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.