Cheers-Nov-Dec 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 13 of 63 14 • November/December 2016 to assume any rosé was sweet, and then the assumption is they don't like sweet," Thomas says. "But that's changed." Even the dry lambrusco that Thomas carries is now moving, especially when the weather is warm and patio dining is in season. "It's perfect for those who are looking for a slightly more fruity impact," she notes. "The dry style, dark fruit lambrusco goes with anything up to and including steak." Providing sparkling wine options beyond Champagne helps sales, says Sarah Penn, owner Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor in Seattle. "It's a little tongue in cheek, the name, because we are really a neighborhood restaurant, but it does telegraph from the beginning that we would have more options," she says. PROMOTIONAL PRICING While Penn doesn't consider Seattle a major sparkling wine market, her customers are more open than they used to be. The restaurant's Tuesday Champagne discount, when all bottles are 30% off, probably helps, considering base prices start at $85 for NV Deutz and Piper Heidsieck to $160 NV Billecart-Salmon Rosé. "Some people are daunted by the price, and I'd rather give people an opportunity to try something and move some wonderful product." Listing a range of sparklers by the glass also gets guests to try them. Penn offers Champagne, Blanquette de Limoux, Cremant de Bourgogne and prosecco by the glass, priced from $9 to $15. "It's important to have different price points so customers know I'm not just trying to push high-priced wines." Victoria Antilla, wine director for Schwartz Brothers Restaurants and general manager of Daniel's Broiler in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood, has found great success with a full-year, deep discount of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne. To celebrate Daniel's Broiler's 35th anniversary in 2015, the restaurant offered bottles of Veuve Clicquot for just $35, with a goal to sell 1,000 bottles for the year. It sold 1,500 bottles of the Veuve Clicquot in 2015, compared to 31 the previous year. "It's been so much fun that we're still doing it, now for $36, and our sister restaurant Chandler's is doing a similar promotion for $40," Antilla says. "We're not making normal margins, obviously; we worked out a good price with the Moet folks [Veuve Clicquot is owned by Moet Hennessy parent LVMH] so we're not losing money. But it's a give-back to the guest to get people excited; real French Champagne isn't something people usually drink casually," she says. She ties the promotion to two entrees at the three Daniel's locations, but at Chandler's the Champagne deal is open for all. Antilla believes it helps sales overall. "One of the great things about a feature with Champagne is it doesn't reduce overall wine sales," Antilla says. "A table of four sits down, and Champagne is the perfect predinner drink—and they still order a nice bottle of red wine." And as long as Schwartz Brothers can get the Veuve at a favored price, it will continue the promotion. Antilla is even considering a $15 to $16 by-the-glass holiday Happy Hour offer as a way to get more Champagne in front of people. Taking price out of any sparkling wine is helpful. At the Spanish-focused Barcelona, cava is the flagship sparkler. The leading seller is a house-brand cava Thomas helps blend that she can sell profitably priced at $7 per glass and $28 per bottle. "No one asks—they just see "cava" and this price and it sells," Thomas says. The fallback sparkling order for most people in a restaurant is what's available by the glass, and often the least expensive she notes. UNIQUE SPARKLERS Barcelona offers numerous options, like a sparkling wine from Uruguay, a sekt, lambrusco and eight Champagnes in addition to eight cavas, three by the glass. "We carry a pretty broad selection of them for a couple of reasons," Thomas says. "I'm just a fan and think everyone else should be, too, and I think some of the best sparkling wines are the best food pairings. And they can be joyful by themselves and can make a great cross section of people very happy," she says. Food suitability is a factor. At RM, the menu is geared to Champagne-friendly food, says Schuster. "We see a lot of On the Bubbles During the summer, when RM Champagne Salon's space doubles to include a cobblestone patio, it sells about eight cases a week of Francois Montand Brut Rosé Cremant de Jura. At RM Champagne Salon in Chicago, the menu is geared to Champagne-friendly food: "We see a lot of people who start out with sparkling wine and go with that throughout the meal—even with desert," says operations manager/wine director Jay Schuster.

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