How to Start a Successful Wine Bar

Tips and ideas on how to start a successful wine bar. From food and wine pairing to how to educate your guests during wine tasting events

1. Passion: Build a solid base customers. Every person who enters is not a customer, he is a guest. Try to get to know all the people who visit your wine bar. Give a brief explanation on each bottle they order, if you find they appreciate your speeches, keep talking about the wine adding more details such as geographical area of ??production, winery info, food pairing, and similar wines that they may order the next time they visit you. Go to other wine bars that people say are the best and try to understand why they work. Then review the best ideas you’ve seen and put them into practice. Always stay informed about new family-run wineries and bar trends.

2. Location: While a good interior designer can change the interiors of any space to get the right look for theof wine bar your dream, no one can change the address of your business. Location is very important for a wine bar. You may have a great idea, but if you don’t find a good location, you are setting yourself up for failure. A space surrounded by businesses and art galleries, close to well known places and luxury shops, with foot traffic will help a lot your wine bar business.

3. Atmosphere: Drinking wine is an occasion for conviviality and a comfortable environment is one of the key factors for a successful wine bar. Tables and sofas should contribute to creating a relaxing but lively environment, the lighting should be soft but powerful to be able to read the labels and see the color of the wines. Background music is always welcome, but the volume should always allow conversation between guests. Forget automatic wine dispensing machines, the human aspect and the presentation of the wines to the customer is essential.

4. The Wine List: Of course the presence of a great wine list is a plus, but even better is having a choice of wines well selected in terms of vintages, alcohol content, and prices, and always representative of various geographical areas. It would also be ideal to have a few family winery labels as well as the more famous ones.

5. Glassware: Every wine has different flavor profiles and the right size and shape of a glass is important to enhance the characteristics of a wine. A serious wine bar must have at least one flute glass for champagne and prosecco, one for white wines and another for reds.

6. Large by the Glass Selection: A trendy wine bar must offer the possibility to order even just a glass of wine without having to buy an entire bottle. This allows you to taste 2 – 3 different wines during the evening, and is essential if you have ordered steak and your girlfriend has fish. A proper wine bar must have at least a dozen wines available by the glass on the list. The right solution for non-aged wines is the bag-in-box. Always keep ready to serve 4-5 bottles of aged wine, plus champagne and prosecco.

7. Friendly and Well Trained Staff: All staff should have some knowledge of wines and be able to make suggestions to customers with unclear ideas and pay close attention to the service. Serving the wine at the proper serving temperature, no dripping when pouring, no popping of Champagne corks. A sommelier is a must for a wine bar.

8. Pouring Wine is an Art: Present the bottle on the right of the person who ordered the wine. Pour 20 – 30 ml of wine into his/her glass, and wait approval. Serve the wine to all guests, then place the bottle to the right of the host with the label facing them. Keep an eye on the table and replenish glasses of your guests if needed.

9. Pairing Food and Wine: It is not necessary for a wine bar to have a starred chef in the kitchen to be good, but the right combination of wine and food enhances the qualities of the wine itself. Always serve simple plates of cheeses, nuts, salami, ham, olives as a complement to the wine, to emphasize the variety of flavors of the wine.

10. Tasting Events: The success of a wine bar mostly depends on having loyal and well-informed customers about the world of wine. The best way to educate your customers and create a dialogue with them is to plan weekly or monthly wine tasting events designed to teach food and wine pairings and make people known new labels. The presence of a different winery at each event is very welcome.