Matthew Jukes and the wine descriptors project
If there is only one thing that you do to promote your sales, it should be to make sure you get your wine list right: a good choice of wines, easy to digest, with captivating but accessible descriptions. With the massive trend towards casual dining, combined with a wine-loving but low-confidence consumer, how you talk about your wines can really help the customer to make a choice.
We enlisted the help of wine writer, consultant, judge and all round wine guru Matthew Jukes to create notes on some of our most interesting and individual wines, which really get the pulse racing and will make your customers want to order a glass right now. Visitors to the Annual Tasting will see examples around the venue, which we hope can help to give you inspiration for your own wine list.
Matthew Jukes has been a wine communicator for over 20 years. In May 2011, Matthew was voted the most influential wine writer in the UK. With over 9 million Daily Mail readers a week, Matthew has the most keenly followed wine column in the UK, and also writes a weekly piece for MoneyWeek and occasional features for Decanter. So he was the perfect choice for us to help transform staid, traditional tasting notes into something much more stimulating and relevant for the consumer.
How we did it:
With the aim of making some less run-of-the-mill, more unusual wines from our range more accessible to the consumer, we drew up a list of wines with Matthew at a range of price bands. Then, following an exhaustive tasting, Matthew narrowed the field down - but still there were 74 wines to write up! Here are some choice examples:
2010 La Galinière, Carignan, Château du Donjon, Languedoc, France
"Donjon’s owner was a sound engineer for rock concerts before he took over the family wine estate in Minervois and this is surely why this wine has so much energy and attack. Epic, dark, inky-black fruit dominates the bass end, while damson and blackberry high notes sing out; crank up the decibel count with this rocking Southern French red."
2010 Lérane, Grenache / Syrah, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France
"Grenache and Syrah are the Butch and Sundance of the South of France – and Lerane sure know how to get them to work as the perfect team. This is as haute couture as French ‘house wine’ gets."
2010 Viña Leyda, Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Leyda, Chile
"If you are a dyed in the wool New Zealand Sauvignon fan then pull yourself away for a moment and make a point of heading to this Leyda SB for a new and unmissable experience. The cool, ocean-influenced climate of this chic Chilean wine region has caught the interest of aficionados worldwide. This Sauvignon is less tropical and more chiselled than a Kiwi version and this makes it a compelling proposition. Surf this ultra-modern wave of citrus flavour and be bang up to date with this new discovery."
We tried out some of these short, sharp descriptors, allied to a really smart and unusual wine list design, at Brighton restaurant The Coal Shed. Here's what owner Raz Helalat had to say
"I've been involved with Enotria since before we opened and they've had a really positive impact on my business. The wine list they produced for me was really tailored to the restaurant and this helped strengthen my brand identity and direction. I was persuaded to make a wide range of price points available by the glass which has proved to be a huge success as all have become our biggest sellers. We also decided to do away with long winded frilly wine descriptors as we didn't want to alienate our customer base. Instead we went for short, quirky descriptions which were straight to the point and we feel this helps the customers relate to the list. Once we fully understood our customers needs we were able to expand the list quickly to meet their expectations. I couldn't be happier with the list and we are constantly getting praises for the quality of the wine and the layout and design."