Choosing wine for your coffee shop can be a minefield for the uninitiated. But beginner buyers can quickly learn how to choose a good wine by following these hints and tips.
Why choosing the best wine is so important
Choosing the best wine selection for your coffee shop is crucial for defining your overall offering. You’ve taken the time to craft a winning menu that speaks of your overall ethos. Your wine list should complement and reinforce your approach, acting as an extension of your establishment’s personality.
If the food and ambience are on point, but the wine list is lacklustre, it can be enough to diminish the customer experience and put off repeat visits. But it needn’t be that way with some careful planning.
How to choose the best wine
Knowing what wine to buy for your coffee shop can be daunting. Choosing wine can be especially intimidating if you’re not particularly experienced or interested in the finer details of wine tasting. But fear not because we will show you how to choose a good wine with consummate ease.
Keep in mind the following three things to consider when choosing a wine, and you won’t go too far wrong.
1. Who are you buying the wine for?
The first thing any budding wine buyers should ask themselves is: ‘who am I buying wine for’? Consider your customer base, your location, and where you’re positioning yourself in the market. For instance, it makes little sense to list high-end Bordeaux wines if you’re offering a down to earth, locally-sourced menu for Gen Z diners in a student area. Instead, find a wine selection that works for your ideal customer and work back from there.
2. What flavours are you looking for?
When it comes to choosing wine, it’s useful to know a thing or two about the main flavour traits: sweetness, acidity, and tannin content (the higher the tannins, the greater the bitterness). A ‘good’ wine should have an equitable balance across these flavour characteristics. Also, remember that the region the wine hails from will greatly affect the flavour profile. This is due to the so-called terroir of a wine, which is the combined impact of temperature, climate, soil type and topography of a particular region or even a specific vineyard.
3. What are you pairing the wine with?
Of course, the flavours you serve are naturally what attract your customers to your coffee shop. A huge part of knowing how to choose a good wine is pairing your wines with your dishes effectively. Find a wine selection that harmonises with your chef’s trademark flavours and your café’s overarching theme. For instance, if you’re serving punchy Asian flavours, an acidic wine like a Sauvignon Blanc can be the perfect counterpoint to salty, spicy, umami flavours. Likewise, if you specialise in Sicilian cuisine, source some Sicilian tipples for a more authentic feel.
Best wines for beginners
As well as the flavour traits of wines, it’s useful to understand their alcohol content and the corresponding amount of body (essentially its viscosity, which determines how ‘easy’ it is to drink). The higher the ABV, the fuller the body (and the more tannins there are). So the best wines for beginners will tend to be light- and medium-bodied, lower ABV varieties. For white wines that would be a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris/Grigio (France/Italy). The go-to easy-drinking red wine option is a Pinot Noir, progressing to a fuller-bodied but fruity Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Not your average wine distributors
Becoming an expert wine buyer doesn’t happen overnight. There’s huge trial and error involved in choosing wine (which is surely half the fun?!). But you don’t have to go it alone. With an experienced wine distributor like Matthew Clark by your side, you’ll quickly learn how to choose a good wine for your clientele. Our team can help fast-track your knowledge, providing advice and training to support your buying journey.