How to get the best value for money when ordering wine in restaurants. Money saving tips for eating out…

Did you know – most restaurants have around a 4 times mark up on every wine in their wine list, especially at the cheaper end of the scale? Sometimes the cost of a glass of wine or bubbly can even equate to half of the cost of a three course menu, so many people now simply choose not to order wine instead when eating out. We think change is required in the UK restaurant wine scene when it comes to wine by the glass and the price of wine – but we do also have some simple tips to help you learn your wines and get the most for your budget!

Some restaurants are smart – they realise that when ordering you don’t wish to order the least expensive wine to avoid looking ‘cheap’ and in doing so, will order the second least expensive bottle of wine on the menu. However, given they are aware of this psychological habit and are literally trading on it, it’s this bottle that often has the highest mark-up – and is often also the cheapest wine they buy!

Tech savvy? Check out an iPhone app called Wine Search, which enables you to pinpoint exactly how big a markup restaurant are putting on the bottles on their list!

When a sommelier is available at a restaurant, you should always take advantage of this! Their world revolves around producing the best possible wine experience for their customers  – just be up front and tell them what you’re looking to spend, explain what you want to eat and what you typically enjoy drinking, and then let them do their job.

If a sommelier isn’t available, knowing your wines is one of the greatest advantages you can have in making the best wine selection for the best price while eating out. Wine courses such as our Beginners One day Wine Course teach you to compare, contrast and discover wines from around the world; improve your tasting skills and take home practical tips for Wine and Food Matching! Education about wine puts the power back in your hands when ordering wine in a restaurant!

It was revealed last year that one in three of the top 100 UK restaurants is making a loss and many Michelin starred restaurants don’t make any money at all on their food. This has led to ‘bring your own booze’ (a once frowned upon alternative), being introduced by some to entice diners back through their doors (often with a corkage fee, of course). This allows you to select your own wine, giving you freedom from the set wine list and the opportunity to save some money by carefully sourcing your wine elsewhere such as the supermarket.

What do you feel about the cost of wine in restaurants? Has it put you off ordering? Or do you accept it as part of the price you pay for going out to eat? Would you bring your own wine? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you’d like more information about any of the wine courses or events The London Wine Academy offer, please do get in touch and we’ll answer any questions you may have.

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