Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Restaurants fight recession with wine

November 4, 2009

wineWine sales at restaurants and bars are falling as diners trade down to less expensive options or skip wine altogether to save a buck.  But some restaurants are cooking up contrarian strategies to squeeze sales from the vine.

California Pizza Kitchen took its wine list more upscale and wine sales followed.

The pizza chain launched the new wine list on Oct. 5. It includes Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay, La Crema Pinot Noir and Stags’ Leap Merlot for around $10 a glass.

“This is us going back to our roots. When we first opened CPK, (in 1985) part of the concept was we that we would have familiar wines at unfamiliar prices,” said Rick Rosenfield, CPK’s co-chief executive officer.

Morton’s steakhouse, on the other hand, is working the downturn in fine wine prices to its advantage.

It is hitting auctions as luxury restaurants clear cellars and striking exclusive relationships with wineries like Charles Krug, Gundlach Bundschu and Liverano when they have unsold premium wine.

Its limited-time Krug 1881,  which sells for around $13 a glass, is the restaurant’s top-selling Cabernet, said Tylor Field, Morton’s vice president of wine and spirits.

While wine sales at retail continue to outpace those in restaurants, Charles Krug’s Peter Mondavi Jr said the winery recently has made inroads at restaurants like  Smith & Wollensky, Roy’s and Landry’s.



Great points. Up scaling in these times and increasing sales? Who would of thought!

Posted by Omar NightFlux | Report as abusive

Wine sales seem to be constant here in Kansas City.

There is a wine store in Brookside, the heart of Kansas City, that boasts a huge list of premium bottles and those that only taste premium.

I was impressed of the value, then a met a real Sommelier there; Jenni, I believe her name was.

Dig the article

Elliott from KC


Outside of restaurant specifics…This article really has told me much of anything that was not well know for the past
two years… IF a couple goes out to dinner at all, the $50 bottle purchase has become the $30 bottle… and it all flows back to the un-addressed housing crisis… in fact every economic issue faced today has its roots in the foreclosures in 1-4 unite residential housing

Posted by Stan Brody | Report as abusive

How about we focus on just a titch of positive news?

It goes to show, you can probably find the good in almost everything.

I have friends who are developing real estate in semi-depressed markets and making a great living.

Guess it’s how you look at it.



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