Productivity measures for Wine-Bars and Restaurants
The wine business is an old trade, innovations and productivity measures in the past years were mainly happening in the vineyard or in the wine cellars where wine-makers were continuously developing new means and improvements for the art of making wine. In the past 10 years wine-labels were undergoing some quite dramatic fresh-ups, gone are the days when sad grapes were spread all over the label; today colours, images and new fonts catch the eye of the consumer.
In contrast to these innovations, the wine-bars and restaurants were using their traditional productivity measures to present their drops to the wine drinking community. Innovation didn’t happen here for a long time. Hence it is a real pleasure to see a novelty currently taking global wine-outlets by the storm. Well, at least the top-wine bars or restaurants:
I am talking about an innovation for those in the wine trade serving their clients. In the past the sommelier had to open a wine bottle while standing next to the guests. Depending on their number around the table, this was a 0.375l small bottle (my grandmother always insisted on this bottle size), the standard bottle size today being opened is certainly a 0.75l bottle and then all sorts of oversized glassware help larger groups, namely magnum (1.5l), double-magnum, jeroboam and so on bottles, to get the drops of their desire in their glasses.
This new device I am talking about was introduced to the top wine-bars in the US and in Europe in the past months: it is called Coravin for wines and allows the sommelier to offer wines by the glass or even by the drop without removing the cork from the bottle’s neck. A small needle actually does the job, as it is driven through the cork into the liquid and helps getting small volumes out of the bottle.
Yücel Ersan, owner of Zurich’s top wine restaurant Isebaehnli, explains that this novelty “gives you liberty to try out several top wines throughout the wine cellars or restaurant menus.” He sees this as a huge productivity increase as the client doesn’t have to chose a whole bottle: “if you like to taste just a few drops right at this moment, use it. My customers taste the drop of the wine they adore with this device – right here, right on the spot.”
The device helps deliver the “drop onto the client’s tongue, this is pure productivity as the wine enthusiast is now able to fulfil his dream. “We are now able to offer the guest any dream from the wine menu”, raves Yücel about this invention. For the sommeliers, this invention helps to offer wines, that would not be affordable to most clients by the glass or even ‘by the drop’.
So what’s in it for the owner of the restaurant or wine bar: firstly he or she finally can make money on those bottles that no one dared to open. Secondly these devices help identify cork or faults in older wines, an enormous productivity increase for these wine-bars as the opening of the wine stored in older bottles was somehow a lottery. The wine trade considers 10-20 percent of corkage in older wines as a normality, imagine how the identification of these potential faults over time can help you save money on serving the wine before it is totally ruined.
When I tried this new service the other day, I was brave and opted for a 1995 Penfolds Grange, the top brand of reds from my other home country Australia. A small glass with approx. 0.1l in it, a sensational experience which I would never have allowed myself to do, if opening (and paying for) a whole bottle would have been the option. Productivity for me as a client in this case meant better access to an outstanding, aged and highly desirable drop, world class wine by the drop – simply awesome!
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