Can you imagine Batman without Robin, Posh without Becks, Han Solo without his hairy sidekick Chewbacca? Some things naturally need to be together.
The same is true for desserts and sweet wines. They are perfect partners in the restaurant dining scene with the ability to really drive sales at the end of the meal. Separately, they have great value. Together they become much more than the sum of their parts. But these highly pleasurable, crowd pleasing wines (which bring so much joy to almost all diners) just don’t sell that well. Here are some tips for selling these luscious liquids and for getting your guests to their happy place!
Step 1 – The WOW factor.
Know in your heart of hearts, that these are seriously delicious wines; worthy in their own right. Almost everyone loves sugar and some of the most memorable wine experiences will be with the sweet and the sticky. Grab your wine list and re-taste your range. Fall in love with them again and be confident that you have wines that are 'Licenced to Thrill'.
Step 2 – Get in early.
You need to plant a little seed with most guests. Drop the wine list down with the dessert menu and make an effort to point to the sweet wines on the list. Better still, print the wines you offer ‘by the glass’ on the dessert menu itself. We eat and drink with our eyes, so to speak, and if you don’t make it obvious what's on offer you’ll never make those sales.
Step 3 – Make your case.
Guests love a recommendation, so have some food and wine pairings ready to go. Try out a few combinations with the chefs before service and get to know which wines match up best across the dessert menu. We’ve never known a chef to refuse an invitation to taste wine, so use this opportunity to get some feedback and new ideas. Think about flavour combinations, weight and texture, but remember that the wine should always be sweeter than the dessert.
Step 4 – Try before you buy.
The easiest way to convince someone? Put the honey where the mouth is. Pour a little taste and let your guest try some for themselves. It’s such an easy & powerful thing to offer and a great way to show off some of the great wines on your list. It’s not just about reds and whites when offering samples for guests to taste. Show off your sweet section, too.
Step 5 – Deliver with pride.
Make sure that dessert wines get the same great service that all other wines on the list get. Don’t go missing at the end of the meal and forget to top up their glasses. At this stage, your guest will be quite relaxed and may want to tell you all about how amazing your suggestion was. Be there for a little banter. Make sure you've learned a few facts about the grapes or the region of each bottle and share a few interesting facts or stories.
So... Have you had much success selling dessert wines? What are you tips and tricks? What are your favourite dessert wines? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. We’d love to hear what you think!