Uncorkd How to Launch a New Restaurant Menu

How to Profit Off the Top Wine Trends for 2014 (Part 1)

Have your wine sales been lagging? That’s a clear sign you should change your wine sales strategy in 2015. America’s Millennials are a wine-loving crowd, and if you’re marketing and selling your wines properly, your sales should be through the roof. After all, 81% of wine drinkers agree that wine is not just for special occasions anymore.

But what should you do if your wine sales are in a slump? How can you tell what will bring in the business? I have great news for you. Determining what to sell to wine drinkers under 40 is no longer a guessing game. This is because E. & J. Gallo Winery, the winery that sells Apothic, Columbia, Barefoot, and New Amsterdam spirits (and, of course, Gallo), has commissioned a new study about wine trends. They surveyed 1,001 frequent wine drinkers between the ages of 25-64 in the US, and they’ve now published their findings. But what good is a list of trends without advice on how to use it? That’s where I come in. Without further ado, here is part one of the top wine trends for 2014—and how to make those trends work for your restaurant. 

Trend # 1: Wine is the new darling of social media

The Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey shows that 54% of younger wine drinkers engage in discussions and groups centered around wine—but that it’s all happening on social media. This means that over half of your wine-curious customers are either informed or interested in learning more about wines.

How you can use this information: 

If you offer wine education to your guests, either on your menus, in the form of a wine tasting, or just by asking the right questions, your guests are likely to appreciate your help. They may even share your advice on Twitter. In fact, if you blog about wines, you’ll reach a wide audience. These days, 49% of wine drinkers say that they respect bloggers’ opinions, and that can drive a lot of business.

Your customers aren’t just reading about wine in 2014, it’s likely that they’re posting about wine too. The E. & J. Gallo study shows that 49% of wine drinkers post or share about wine online. If your restaurant is engaged and active in social media marketing, customers are likely to hashtag your restaurant or connect by mentioning you in a tweet.

Increased wine sales and free PR for your restaurant? What are you waiting for? Get out there and tweet about your wines!

Trend # 2: Pictures are worth a thousand dollars

Okay, maybe a picture isn’t worth $1,000 in a single pop, but displaying pictures of your wine labels on your menu is sure to increase your sales by way, waaay more than $1,000. Why? Because the study shows that nearly 2/3 of wine drinkers chose their wine based on the label.

How you can use this information: 

If you’re wondering how you can show your wine labels on your menu, you have a few options. Of course, at Uncorkd, we’re pretty sure that the best way to show pictures on your menu is with a digital wine menu app—but we understand that you want other options, too. As another idea, you could try displaying your bottles in a visible wine cellar or in glass-fronted wine fridges near your entrance so that guests can peruse your selection while they’re waiting for a table. You could also create a new and improved drinks menu that includes small pictures of labels next to each item. Whatever you choose, make sure that you show off your labels to increase those sales.

Trend # 3: Sweet wines are ruling the roost

It’s not just the look of the label that gets your customers enjoying more wine, survey respondents agree that taste is really the most important factor for deciding if a wine is good or not.

This is not surprising information. What is surprising is that only 76% of wine drinkers base their repeat purchases on taste. This means that 24% of them will actually reorder a wine they dislike! That wine must have a really incredible label.

Back to taste, though. The study shows that the most popular taste for wine in 2014 is sweet. In fact, 22% of wine drinkers under 40 typically purchase Moscato; they’re more than twice as likely to purchase Moscato than 26 other survey-tested varietals. 16% of under-40 drinkers typically purchase Champagne.

How you can use this information:

First, you need to highlight those sweet wines and stock more of them. Second, you need to create some killer sweet wine food pairings.

Luckily, that great study’s got you covered on food too. Results show that 24% of sweet wine drinkers pair their libation with dessert, 26% want Moscato or Champagne with brunch, and 27% think that wine is best enjoyed with “light” fare, such as salads or quiches. How can you make this work for you? Suggest sweet wine pairings on your menu, right next to those items.

As a word of caution, make sure you don’t get rid of your non-sweet wines. Please, I beg of you: keep those on your menu. Wine enthusiasts over 40 still greatly prefer dry wines on average; only 10% of them are likely to choose a Moscato over another varietal.

Want to know what else to offer besides Moscato and Champagne? According to respondents, the five most popular wines are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio.

Check out the last two tips in the wine trends series in our next post, “How to Profit Off the Top Wine Trends for 2014 (Part 2)”.

While you’re waiting, Tweet at us @UncorkdMenus and let us know what your biggest restaurant problems are.