Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amuse bouche: A pet peeve on restaurant wine prices

You could go on for thousands of words about how much restaurants have let down their customers with their wine programs: high prices, limited selection (particularly in Texas), lists that bear no relationship to the food on the menu, etc. One complaint, however, jumps to the forefront. It's the price of wine by glass. Recently a friend went to Textile, which will be reviewed here later, and found a glass of Becker Iconoclast Cabernet Sauvignon for $12. Something didn't sound right about that, and it wasn't. Spec's here in Houston sells it for $8.29 a bottle. The winery sells it for $10.95 a bottle. So $12 for a glass? When the restaurant gets to purchase at wholesale prices? The only applicable word is outrageous. Making back the wholesale cost of the full bottle on the first glass alone? This has become, sadly, a common phenomenon -- restaurants charging the price of a bottle (or more) for a glass of wine. There's no reason for that. When there are prices like that on a wine list, go with water or iced tea instead. They don't deserve your business.

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