Having a diverse selection of types, styles and price-points of wines by the glass is a particular draw for a growing number of restaurants. Not just high check-average places, but for all manner of restaurants (have you been to an Olive Garden lately?). Depending on the specific type of restaurant you may own or operate, wines by the glass will range from 60% to 100% of your total wine sales, so controlling the profitability of this category is essential to having a profitable beverage program overall (indeed, to having a profitable business!).
Of course, this is the rub; open bottles of wine have a limited lifespan. Oxygen is the enemy of an open bottle of wine. Hence if a restaurant offers ‘too many’, i.e. there are not enough sales of each wine to deplete a bottle in a day or so, the restaurant must dump out the remaining contents, thus literally pouring money down the drain.
Enter ‘Wine Preservation Systems’, a catchall phrase for various methods of protecting open bottles of wine from the enemy, for a few days or up to a month. They can cost as little as $8 for a simple spray can of gas, to $20,000 or more for a larger sized ‘Enomatic’ gas system, and everywhere in between for systems like the ‘Cruvinet’ and ‘Verre de Vin’. There are basically two types of preservation systems: gas, which blankets the surface of an open bottle with an inert gas (argon or nitrogen), displacing the offending oxygen, or vacuum systems, devices which remove all of the oxygen from an open bottle, keeping the wine in ‘suspended animation’ for a period of time; many reading this will remember the ‘Vacu- Vin’, ubiquitous in the eighties and nineties. Great Lakes Wine & Spirits Viviano Division has been selling ‘Vineyard Fresh’ a disposable canister of argon gas for several years now. We have many loyal fans of this cost effective, hassle-free way of extending the life of open bottles.
The other type of system—vacuum—has liege fans as well, and some say (and data seems to confirm—see graph insert) that it is superior to the gas systems. The main drawback to this type of system is the tedium of using a Vacu-Vin pump on say, 14 bottles every night (a heck of a workout for a bartender), not to mention the fact that trying to vacuum out the correct amount of air (it can be overdone, thereby ‘sucking the life’ out of the bottle). However, there now is a practical and affordable version of this type of system, and it is in a word: Fantastic!
Presorvac is an impressive new device— developed by a brilliant man who was involved in the launch of Vacu-Vin way back when—that is truly the best of all worlds in terms of effectiveness and cost. It looks like a space-age peppermill and rests attractively in a charging station on the back bar, awaiting its nightly use in protecting a restaurant’s liquid assets. Easy, hasslefree, actually fun, and effectively cost-free (once you’ve purchase it). Even better, with the flip of a switch, it can be used to maintain pressure in Champagne and sparkling wines—those stoppers we all use now keep the pressure in the bottle, but not always in solution (we’ve all heard the loud ‘pop’ when we take those stoppers off ). So two for one! Presorvac is a great new option, regardless of your type of operation.
In these challenging times, adding choices for your guests is a proven way to increase your appeal and increasing the likelihood of loyalty and repeat visits. And now this can be done without the worry of waste and lost profits.