Wine lists – why do so many stink?

September 20, 2011 at 7:17 PM | Posted in Wine | 2 Comments
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I am staying at a nice hotel that I’ve stayed in a number of times before – the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, Michigan. The restaurant is well appointed and large – admittedly bad signs. But they gain from my faulty (or forgiving) memory in that I forget how dull it is to eat there and that their wine-by-the-glass menu never changes.

Now if they had a list that included Chablis from Ponson or Dauvissat or even a Volnay Villages I would nod to stability. No, their wines can be found on the shelves of Trader Joe’s or your local supermarket for 10 dollars.

How can this be? They’re not trying can be the only answer – and that I’ll finally remember.


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  1. There was a place in SF, Butterfly, I think it was called. The place has a HUGE sign outside claiming to have the ‘best wine list in SF’ (so I went in with an arched brow). The wine list was grand but the ‘by the glass’ list was lifeless and I mentioned it in my Yelp review. I immediately got a very rude reply from General Manager. I’ll tell you what I told him: If you’re going to slave over the wine list and forget about the ‘by the glass list’, you’re in essence giving me crummy samples hoping they will entice me to further explore your wine list. Bad strategy. If it were me, I’d constantly tinker with the ‘glass list’ and make it wonderful. But that’s just me. And you, apparently!

    • I could not agree more with you.Restaurants that take wine seriously, take ‘by the glass’ seriously. They must understand that if you are driving a whole bottle is just not in the cards.

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