The best wine bars have exceptional wine lists. When you’re selecting the best type of red wine, the best type of white wine, and everything else, your wine lists are being built. As a wine bar manager or bar owner, it’s your job to create your wine lists, perhaps with the help of a sommelier who can help you with buying wine cases.
Your wine lists will have an effect on several aspects of your wine bar plan. The cost to open a wine bar will depend in part on the wines you select. Your wine bar cabinet and shelf storage will need to accommodate your wine lists. Any wine tasting flight options will be a subset of your wine list options. You’ll need wine bar supplies to track and care for your wine collection.
When you’re opening a wine bottle for customers, you can highlight the wine from your wine lists. Overall, organizing your wine lists is a vital component of how to open a wine bar. This BinWise blog post will walk you through the features you should include in wine lists are your wine bar.
Wine List Features
These seven features of a wine list are suitable for every wine bar. Many of them are things you’ll find on any wine list in restaurants around the world. Others are less common but equally important and delightful for customers. They will all help to enhance your wine lists.
7. Red Wine Selections
Your red wine selections will make up a decent portion of your wine lists. You should have at least 10 options, if not 15 or 20 for your red wine selections. You can choose from popular options like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah. Of course, you can choose any others as well.
6. White Wine Selections
White wine selections should take up the same space as red wine selections. A mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling is a good place to start. From there, look into some local white wine options. You never know what you might find.
5. Wine Cocktails
Wine cocktails aren’t something you'll find on every wine list, but they’re a unique combination of cocktails and wine that will excite your customers. The New York Sour with red wine, bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest is a great option.
4. Sparkling Wine and Champagne
Sparkling wine and champagne are a major player in every wine list. You should have equal numbers of these sparkling options as you do for red and white wine lists. A mix in price ranges will keep these available for any customer, on any budget.
3. Rosé Wines
You’ll likely end up with fewer rosé wines than the other options on this list. Somewhere between 8 and 10 is a good option count. You can add to this list in the summer months, as those are the times when rosé is most popular.
2. Wine By the Bottle
Having a specific section of wine sold by the bottle is common on most wine lists. You can have a dedicated section of your wine lists for these options. You can also put them at the end of each list for different types of wine. You’ll also have wines you offer by the glass and by the bottle.
1. Wine Information
Wine information is a key part of your wine lists. We’ve saved it for this spot on the list because it often goes overlooked. In a wine bar in particular, you want to provide information about the wine. The region, flavor notes, and pairing options are recommended.
"Key Takeaway: Organizing your wine lists is a vital component of how to open a wine bar."
Frequently Asked Questions About Wine List Features
Our answers to these frequently asked questions about wine lists for wine bars will give you some additional information. They can help you set up your own wine list. If you’re looking for inspiration and plans for house wines, read on.
What are the Best Wine Lists of 2022?
The best wine lists in the world, from the 2022 search, are:
- Domaine Les Crayères, Reims, France, for wine list of the year
- Guincho a Galera, Macau—Asia, for best long wine list with over 500 wines
- Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado, USA—North America, for best medium-size wine list with less than 500 wines
- Folii, Stockholm, Sweden—Europe, for best short wine list with less than 200 wines
- Firedoor Restaurant, Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia—Australasia, for best micro wine list with less than 100 wines on less than four printed pages
- sketch – Lecture Room & Library, London, UK—Europe, for best by-the-glass wine list with Coravin®
- Temperance Wine Bar, New York City—North America, for best by-the-glass wine list without Coravin®
- Domaine Les Crayères, Reims, France—Europe, for best champagne and sparkling wine list
- House of Tides, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK—Europe, for best designed wine list
- Guincho a Galera, Macau—Asia, for best dessert and fortified wine list
- Jonah’s, Palm Beach, New South Wales, Australia—Australasia, for best hotel wine list
- Wit and Wisdom Sonoma, Sonoma, California, USA—North America, for best new wine list opened after January 2019
- Antica Bottega del Vino, Verona, Italy—Europe, for best regional wine list in the region
- Matteo’s at Annabel’s (for Italian wines), London, UK—Europe, for best regional wine list outside the region
- VIN Bjørvika, Oslo, Norway—Europe, for best wine bar list
- Tasca d’Almerita – Capofaro Estate, Salina, Italy—Europe, for most original wine list
It’s a long list, and it gets updated each year. If you’re looking for wine list inspiration, check out these spots.
What Does a Wine List Mean?
A wine list means the wines a bar or restaurant has available for their customers. Sometimes the wine list is a printed paper list with the regular wines. The sommelier or servers will tell customers if something is out of stock–learn about the 86 meaning. There are also digital wine lists, which can be updated quickly and efficiently.
What are the Five Most Popular Wines?
The five most popular wines are:
- Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Red blends
These five types of wine are consumed widely across the world. Red blends are less specific than the rest of the list, but they’re included because they are enjoyed by so many people. They’re easy to drink with any wine pairing. In fact, all of these five wines are often used in wine pairings.
What Is a Wine That Everyone Likes?
One of the wines that, across the world of wine lovers, everyone likes is Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a classic red wine you can find in any wine bar, restaurant, bar, or brunch café. Of course, not everyone likes Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s impossible to find one wine that everyone will enjoy, but Cabernet Sauvignon is usually a safe bet.
Wine Bar Wine List: Curating Your Wine Lists
The BinWise Pro platform, paired with the BinScan mobile app, can help ease your inventory program when you take inventory. A perpetual inventory system is recommended. The BlueCart order management system will allow you to stay ahead of orders, know your reorder point, and plan for food supply chain issues.