Posted: Jan 11, 2020
Ordering the second cheapest bottle on a wine list is a time-honoured way of avoiding looking cheap.
But, according to one expert, restaurants cash in on this tactic by inflating their mark-up.
Russell Norman, founder of the Polpo restaurant chain, said the house wine was often a better option.
Expert Russell Norman said good restaurateurs were adept at ‘playing to natural human psychology’. He says that house wine is 'always very carefully sourced'
Ordering the second cheapest bottle on a wine list is a time-honoured way of avoiding looking cheap. But, according to one expert, restaurants cash in on this tactic by inflating their mark-up
Writing in the Oldie magazine, he said good restaurateurs were adept at ‘playing to natural human psychology’.
He added: ‘We instinctively don’t want to appear cheap, so we often skip the house wine and opt for the second cheapest.
‘The margins on this wine will be particularly good for the restaurant but not so great for you in terms of value. It makes much more sense to go further up the list and choose a wine above £35 ... The margins will be smaller and the wine will be much better in quality and value.
‘Or, stick to the house wine – always very carefully sourced by the restaurateur or sommelier.’
Wine critic Jilly Goolden told the Mail that house wine was usually a good choice but another option would be to experiment with an unfamiliar style or region.
She added: ‘With a wine list dominated by French wine, skip through to the Rhone – the wines are really delicious and often also very competitively priced.’
By David Wilkes
January 11, 2020
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