Wine Tips


To make white wine, the grapes are picked, crushed and pressed quickly to extract the juice & retain freshness. The juice is then fermented in vats for 2-4 weeks.

With red wine, the crushed grapes are fermented with the skins, to allow the juice to soak up their natural colour and also the tannins. The longer this takes place, the more full bodied the wine will be. Only after this fermentation with the skins, is the wine pressed to extract the juice.

Rose wines are made in exactly the same way as red wines, but the time allowed for contact with the grape skins is shorter, so as to give a pink rather than red colour!


1. Make sure you stock all the key varietals, so everyone is happy

Many grape varietals originated in European countries such as France, Italy, Spain & Germany, but are now often produced all over the world. Countries such as Chile and Argentina are developing excellent reputations, whilst for example, New Zealand produces the increasingly popular Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Today, it could be argued that having the right varietals is more important than having a wide variety of countries represented by the range.

White wines
Priorities would be Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Grigio
If you have more space then add Semillion, Riesling, and Chablis
And don’t forget the sparkling – Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco (country of origin is key here)
Red wines
Priorities would be Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz (or Syrah), and Sangiovese.
If you have more space, then add Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Beaujolais and Zinfandel
Rose wines – Prioirites would be a White Zinfandel or Merlot Blush

2. Stock single serve bottles to increase choice & maintain quality

If you are concerned about having wastage through too many open bottles, then single serve 187ml baby bottles will remove that risk. You can stock a wide range with confidence, which will not only offer great choice but a good quality liquid every time.

3. Look after your wine to make sure you offer a good quality serve

Wine should be stored at 10-15 degrees and you should avoid keeping wines under bright lights for any length of time. Most 75cl bottles can be stored for at least a year, but baby single serve bottles only for about 6 months. Once open a 75cl bottle should be stoppered, ideally using a Vacuvin , and can be kept for up to 3 days. If left open, oxygen will be able to react with the wine, and cause it to taste vinegary – ugh !

As red wines mature in the bottle, it is not uncommon to see a sediment which is a combination of the tannins & colour elements falling out of the wine. This is quite natural and the bottle may simply need to be decanted before serving!

If a wine gets too cold, it may develop tartrate crystals, which are harmless but off putting. They look like shards of glass & taste salty, so care must be taken when pouring.

4. Make sure you communicate your range so people know what you have

If people can’t see your offering, you won’t sell it!

There are several key points of purchase to consider:

  • Wine menus – make sure they are readily available on tables, are well laid out and show all of your serve options and prices
  • Back bar – use either a dedicated display board, chalk board or simply create space to display the bottles well
  • Glassware – consider using clean branded glassware if it is available

5. Help your customers to choose a good wine to go with their meal

Food matching can seem pretty daunting, but with a few simple rules, you can take the mystery out of it. Why not run a food & drink linked promotion?

Dry, neutral flavoured white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis.
Slightly heavier wines than those needed for seafood, such as Chardonnay.
White meat
Light reds such as Pinot Noirs, Beaujolais or fuller white wines such as Chardonnay.
Red meat
Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay go well with pork, whilst Pinot Noir is really suited to duck. For lamb & beef, a Cabernet wine or Pinot Noir would work well, and for stronger casseroles, meats & game, big red wines such as Shiraz and Zinfandel are ideal.
Chargrilled meats generally need robust red wines such as Shiraz, Pinotage & Zinfandel. However, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc go well with grilled seafood and fish.
Asian Food
Sweet and sour dishes need good flavour white wines eg New Zealand Sauvignon. Curries are probably better with young fruit led red wines such as Australian Shiraz.
White wines generally go better with soft cheeses and reds with hard cheeses. Trying wines from the same region as the cheese is a good place to start eg a Chenin Blanc with a Camembert
Sweet late harvest white wines, but also fruity Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel can work well with many desserts