(English) Drinking Port Wine in restaurants; margins too high?

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  • http://theportforum.com jeff

    if only it was a 4x mark up.

    take the croft 00 for instance.
    i got it 22$ retail, the restaurant carries it at 110$.

    Grahams 77′ I get it at 85$ auction, restaurant sells it for 400$

    Fonseca 03′ lbv, is 10$ retail but marks up for 100$.

    I pretty much never order a bottle of port at restaurants because of such. I might pay 12$ for a tiny glass of 20 yr tawny at the end of the meal but usually I’m just dying for a taste of port.

    The best I’ve seen though, was surprisingly a restaurant (I believe a mispricing) had a Taylor 94 for 140$.

  • Gerwin de Graaf

    In Holland, although most of the ‘better’ restaurants have quite a nice collection of ports on offer, the prices usually are quite high.
    About 10 for a glass of 10-yo Tawny (a bottle of thesame would cost me about 15 retail) and that’s not even the michelin-star category of places, and vintages usually only by the bottle.
    Therefore I usually do not drink portwine in restaurants (except when they have just the right cheeses or a desert which just screams to be acompanied by some port), or when the port is included in the total “wine-arrangement”.
    I usually can hold on untill I get home, and have my glass of port then :-)).

  • http://www.ftlop.com Andy Velebil

    I’m seeing more and more restaurants in the USA with Port on their wine lists. But there are three main problems I often encounter.

    1- The prices are all over the place. I’ve seen a glass of Graham’s Six-Grapes sell for over twice as much as a glass of Sandeman 20 year old tawny in the same restaurant. And if you want to buy a bottle, stand by. I’ve seen even NV Reserve Ruby Ports sell for well over $80/bottle. That is about 4-5+ times what it retails for. So of course it doesn’t sell and then the manager complains that Port isn’t an item that “moves” fast enough. It’s not the fault of the Port, but who in their right mind would buy a bottle at that mark up?

    2- Bottles of Port are often left open for way too long. I’ve seen a 1985 Dow’s VP that has been open on the bar shelf at a local restaurant near me for well over 3-4 months.

    3- Most restaurants either use a very small cordial glass or a very large red wine glass. both of which are not appropriate for Port.

    The last two are much easier to address by a restaurant simply training its staff. The first one however…..I have no idea how to get them to change their pricing models.

  • Dries

    Strangely, I often come across nice old vintages at a reasonable price. I guess these are the ones being in the cellar for 5+ years with no price adjustment. On the other hand, I never buy them since the decanting time is most certainly to short.

    I do agree that port in general is way to expensive in restaurants + as Andy stated above, I do not trust an open bottle without pre-tasting it.

  • http://theportforum.com jeff

    and #2 is usually a direct correlation to #1

  • Alex

    There are some restaurants in the UK which carry port at sensible prices in the UK, generally around London. There are others which are exactly as Andy describes.

    Clearly, I tend to visit the ones which fall into the first category. I had lunch in one of these last week, with my lamb burger being washed down by a generously sized glass of Sandeman 2000 LBV, priced at 6.50 – which still prices the complete bottle at 65! (but if I had bought the complete bottle then the price was about half this).