The ground is thawing and warmer temperatures are becoming more consistent. It’s officially springtime and customers are coming out of hibernation. It is the refreshing time of year that beckons for people to linger around outdoor tables with a beautiful glass of wine in hand. Is your restaurant or bar’s wine program ready?
Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect it will sicken and die.
– Julia Child
Ah, the wrath of grapes and just how fickle wine can be.
It’s true, not every restaurant or bar can afford the space or budget needed to install a full-fledged wine cellar. But this is OK, the most necessary components of wine storage are not complicated and can be provided with the proper equipment in place.
To begin, the size of your wine inventory must be taken into consideration. Consider how many bottles you need for service each night and how many you want in reserve. Locate a dark and cool space in your restaurant and set up as many wine racks as you need.
Be sure that this area meets for the following criteria:
- Very limited to zero exposure to sunlight
- Consistent and mild temperatures between 45°F and 65°F
- Keep wine out of the kitchen, boiler room or laundry facilities – areas with higher than normal levels of humidity
If you only have 24 to 100 bottles of wine on premises per night, you can store your inventory in a commercial wine cooler. These units are also fantastic for restaurants, bars and retail outlets with large wine inventories as they can keep select bottles ready for service.
Commercial wine coolers are available in a variety of sizes and can fit into any restaurant, bar or commercial display area. These stand alone units are even available in compact sizes that can be installed under counters. The overall benefit of owning a commercial wine cooler is that it can maintain a safe and consistent temperature for proper wine storage. However, wine coolers are best for storing wines in the short term, meaning these are not a good option for long-term aging.
Alcohol retailers can also take advantage of commercial wine coolers as merchandising units. Customers will be able to purchase wine that is chilled and ready to serve, which is a great advantage for busy people on their way to dinners, picnics or parties. Providing a commercial wine cooler in a retail outlet also creates a greater incentive for an impulse buy. A customer may not have been considering wine with their purchase, but since it is already chilled and ready to go, why not?
When selecting the right commercial wine cooler for your business, consider the following:
- Ability to see what’s inside: lighted interior
- Accessibility of bottles for quick service: sliding versus doors that open out
- The overall organization of the interior: stacked or sliding shelves
- The common shape and size of the wine bottles you carry and how they will fit on the racks: are the bottles tall, wide, or unique in shape?
- Multiple temperature zones are available – this a great feature for operations that need to keep red and white wines in the same cooler, but at different temperatures.
Chilled beverages will be increasing in demand and spring blooms into summer. Keep your customer’s palettes amused and waiting for more with a perfectly chilled wine selection on your menu. Survey your storage area now and see if adding a wine rack or commercial wine cooler will enhance your inventory control.