Wine Lists Meet 21st Century Technology

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By Kate Parham  |  May 2013 –

Restaurants are making wine more approachable, more of a conversation, and more fun. . . To accomplish this, wine managers are increasingly turning to the digital wine list, delivered via an Apple iPad or Android tablet device. All of which offer customer interactivity, which helps diners to truly connect with what they are drinking.

At Keswick Hall, a luxury hotel near Charlottesville, Virginia, Wine Director Richard Hewitt says they researched several companies and found the best match for Keswick Hall to be Tiare Technology. “Tiare had experience with large wine lists, which was important for us, as we have more than 650 wines, and they were able to do a very nice live presentation,” he explains. “They were not didactic, and gave us choices for how we wanted to set up the iPads.” Keswick Hall’s digital list includes wine and all other beverages, in addition to a brief history of the resort.

Hewitt reports total number of bottles sold has been constant since their list went digital last March, but the number of more expensive and unique wines sold has increased, boosting overall revenues. “The exposure of our lesser known wines to our guests is a huge benefit,” claims Hewitt. “The digital list allows them to segment their preferences, which often leads them to a bottle that they might not have ordinarily considered just by reading the printed list. Our only regret was that we did not implement this sooner.”

“Our Wireless Winelist system is a fully customized solution designed for the unique needs of each restaurant,” adds Jeff Krevitt, president of Tiare Technology. “We tailor it to reflect the atmosphere of the restaurant and fulfill the objectives of their wine program. This allows them to impress their guests with a memorable experience, while increasing both wine sales and service efficiency.”

Because the digital list is so comprehensive, some fear that it may make the sommelier’s role obsolete. However, what many restaurants have found is that guests prefer to add several wines to the app’s “consideration list” and then discuss their final decision with the sommelier. “The iPads just make my job easier,” says Hewitt. “As an organization that strongly focuses on the personal service delivered to our guests, we find that the unique balance between technology and guest interaction is relatively easy to execute.

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