If you've ever been to a restaurant and glared questionably at the wine menu, you're not alone. Most of the time, you'll scam through the list of choices, baffled by the prices and the lack of options available by the glass.
You go through your favorite wines and go back and forth, but surely the best choice would be anything except for the cheapest one, right? This is a point of discussion that many get hung up on, and for good reason. It's hard to know the marketing techniques of the industry if you're an outsider like the everyday consumer. If you've ever felt lost in a similar situation, you're not alone.
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Believe it or not, this is a common dilemma had by many restaurant goers on any day of any given week, at any given time.
It's the constant struggle between wanting what you want, while also not wanting to get ripped off. Wanting the cheapest bottle without your server thinking you're cheap.
According to sommelier Mark Oldman, businesses know that you think this way and have actually crafted their own practices around it. Instead of slotting the cheapest bottle in the cheapest spot, many companies will market around this common belief, marking up the cheapest bottles and thus making even more money off of the sale.
In his book, How to Drink Like a Billionaire, Oldman wrote,
"Knowing that it will sell swiftly . . . he may have slotted an overstocked bottle into the position on the list. Even worse, he may have marked up this wine more than any other, making it potentially the worst value on the list."
Noting that, how many times have you been tricked by this, or a similar tactic? Probably more often than you'd like to admit, but there's power in numbers, and with a little education, you can go out to eat with greater insight and knowledge into how these bottles are actually priced.
With that in mind, go for the cheapest bottle and do not feel bad about it! Curb the markup epidemic in the wine industry and go for cheap, as you'll be saving money, getting a better bottle of wine, and outsmarting the industry-heads all at the same time.
To that, we say cheers to you and your savvy wine connoisseur self.