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How to Price Wine by the Glass: An Answer

November 22, 2019
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BinWise Staff

In recent years, wine by the glass, or WBTG, has grown in size and popularity for most establishments. Many restaurants offer it as an alternative option for guests who want to try different wines but don’t want to commit to ordering full bottles. It's one of the restaurant trends fueling the growth of the wine industry. So we put together some suggestions on how to price wine by the glass for your beverage program.

It is a great option to offer to your guests, but it's one type of liquor or alcohol pricing, along with beer pricing, that can be quite tricky. What should you charge for your wine by glass to ensure you get the most out of every glass? Here's the answer.

How to Price Wine by the Glass

Here’s an easy formula to price your wine by the glass: a glass of wine should be priced at the wholesale cost of the entire bottle. For instance, if you buy a case of wine for $120 (at $10 per bottle), then you should charge $10 per glass. This means that your glass should have the same pour cost as your bottle, which is between 20 to 25%.

While this is the standard way to price your wine by the glass, there are a few exceptions to this approach.

Exception 1: Bottle Costs Less

If the bottle you’re pouring from costs less than your minimum price for a glass of wine, we recommend you use your minimum price instead. For example, if your bottle costs $6, but you want your cheapest wine glass to be $8, then the price for your bottle should be adjusted to $8. This enables you to keep everything consistent across your wine list (or digital wine list) while increasing the gross margins per glass (or lowering the pour cost) on that bottle of wine. Beware, however, this won't be effective if your local competitors are selling the same wine at a lower price by the glass.

Exception 2: Bottle Costs More

In the situation where the bottle costs more than your maximum price for wine by the glass, you can adjust the price. Match the maximum price limit, just know that doing so may cost you the profit margins on that bottle. If your bottle costs $25 but your maximum price for a wine glass is $15, you can adjust your wine bottle pricing. Lower it to $15 and either make less or not profit on that bottle. The other option in this situation is not offering by the glass choice for this wine bottle. This usually happens when you carry very expensive wine bottles in your beverage program.

How Much Should a Glass of Wine Cost?

Even though the price of a glass of wine is the same as the wholesale cost of the bottle, that can change. As with everything else in your restaurant, what you charge for a glass of wine can, and should, be adjusted regularly to fit your guests and their wants. You should know how much is too expensive for your guests. You should also know which items are in high demand and your guests are willing to pay for. Similarly, take location into account when setting prices. For example, set higher mark-ups for upscale spots and vice versa.

If your restaurant invests in its wine service, then you're justified in having higher markups. If your servers know how to decant wine, are versed in what does a wine aerator do, and are prepared to use those for guests, chances are you've invested in your wine program. We've got a helpful right up on the differences between the wine aerator vs decanter.

Should Your Restaurant Have A WBTG Program?

Having WBTG is a great selling point for your restaurant and a great way to accommodate your guests’ needs. But you should always consider your restaurant’s limit first before deciding on whether or not you should carry a WBTG program.

Pay close attention to your maximum and minimum price for your wine glass, because they affect your profits. If you are struggling to find good wine bottles that fit your price limits, you have two options. Either work with your local distributors’ sales reps for a better price deal or do your own research to find an alternative wine option.  

Sometimes, the best option is to not offer the WBTG choice at all. After all, what is more important to your restaurant than your profitability?

If you found this article helpful, then book a demo let us show you how BinWise Pro can help you run a more profitable wine program.